Sour mashing?

Discussion in 'Recipes for Feedback' started by oliver, Aug 4, 2018.

  1. oliver

    oliver Well-Known Member

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    Does anyone have experience making a slightly sour ale by method of only Acid malt and Lactic Acid in the mash? I think a lot of obvious answers would be, 'just use Lactobacillus,' but for other reasons I'm kind of trying to avoid that. I don't want to get the beer too sour... I'm trying to brew a slightly tart session NEIPA.

    My recipe being:
    2.5 gallon batch size
    63% wheat
    25% Pilsner
    12% Acid malt
    plus 2g of lactic acid in the mash, this lowers the mash pH on the calculator to 4.3... mash, sparge, boil, and hop as usual... Then pitch, WLP066 or Wy1318..

    Does this sound like an easy approach to a slightly sour ale? Or should I just go with a tube of Lactobacillus and kettle sour for a couple days?
     
  2. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    It gives a one-dimensional tartness, think a sweet-tart. If you're going this route, you'd be just as well off adding the lactic at packaging and not messing around with the mash (and possibly getting your mash pH too low). By the way, if you kettle sour for a couple days, you may have much more sour than you want. 18 hours is generally enough if you keep the temperature up around 100 - 105 degrees.
     
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  3. Hogarthe

    Hogarthe Well-Known Member

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    That should work. It may not be exactly the same as doing a sour mash, but if you are just looking to get slightly tart it won't matter. Do you have a ph meter? You would want to check your mash ph either method you mentioned.
     
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  4. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Advantage to my approach is he doesn't need a pH meter, just add acid to taste. If he's not currently using a pH meter, he doesn't need to start for this brew.
     
  5. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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  6. oliver

    oliver Well-Known Member

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    I do not have a pH meter at the moment, which is why I wanted to rely on the calculator and sour mashing.

    in my crude small BIAB setup, I have a 4 gallon to the brim kettle (no valves), and do 3 gallon boils.

    I'd have to carry the beer somewhere safe and warm. I could probably get it to ~110ºF, and then my fermentation chamber might be enough to insulate that I'm hoping for a kettle sour.

    So I guess I have more questions now. If I did it my method of sour mashing, would I have an issue with mash conversion? Is that what you are hinting at @Nosybear? I don't have a great way to add acid to taste, every drop is kind of precious when I only yield 8 liters, and no valves on any of my kettles means that it's hard to take samples for tests and math. I guess my main question now is conversion. is mashing at 4.3 going to cause conversion issues?
     
  7. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    if you watched the video you mash first then sour, not both at the same time and I wouldn't do a real sour without a meter or a digital temp set up, you can get a sour or tart taste with too much lactic acid, I wouldn't venture any farther than that with your set up, think Bacterial Infections and I have one right now, it can happen to anyone :eek:
     
  8. oliver

    oliver Well-Known Member

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    I understand how to kettle sour, thanks. But I think you're missing my process. I'm asking if I can mash at 4.3 or 4.5 and still get the same conversion. There won't be any bacterial infections because I'm going to mash as usual (except low on the pH) and then boil as usual.
     
  9. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    run it through the calculator and look at the bottom
     
  10. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    these developers here have gone to allot of work just to make it easy for us to do what you’re asking and in my opinion not getting enough credit, you can now create a recipe pull it into the water calculator save it then pick the saved water record and see the changes your ph and conversion
     
  11. oliver

    oliver Well-Known Member

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    I can see pH in the calculator, but I can't see where it shows if mashing at 4.3 would convert enough starches to sugars..
     
  12. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    looks like they took that out for the time being, what does it say at the very bottom of the calculator
     
  13. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    the best thing to do is mash normal and add the extra lactic acid near the end, the mash will have the correct ph and sugar but your just flavoring the beer after
     
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  14. oliver

    oliver Well-Known Member

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  15. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Mashing at 4.3 will likely cause flavor issues and conversion issues. A sour mash is done before the boil - the malt is mashed, then soured. You're wanting to sour up front. Enzymes require two things to work well - proper temperature and proper pH. 4.3 means you have ten times the recommended acidity (pH 5.4 - the pH scale is logarithmic). By all means you can try your idea and it might work. You just have more control over the end product. Here's what I'd do: Add a couple of drops at a time to the finished beer, stir, and take a small sample with a thief. Repeat until it's as tart as you'd like. Tart is easy to taste, so you don't need much of a sample to know when you've hit your mark.
     
  16. oliver

    oliver Well-Known Member

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    with that in mind, I'd be better off dosing a commercial 12oz beer (similar to mine) with lactic until it's the right amount of tart, and then scale up...dang. ok. I might look into lacto P and also buy a pH meter.
     
  17. I_playdrums

    I_playdrums Well-Known Member

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    I was thinking about trying to make a sour, then I bought a 6 pack.
     
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  18. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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  19. oliver

    oliver Well-Known Member

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    OK I have another idea... I found some reading on braukaiser.com..
    in this case, what I could do is extremely similar to pitching lacto, but instead add a good amount of lactic acid post sparge to lower the pH. I think I could mash at 5.2, get my conversion, then "sour" the beer with lactic acid. Then boil, hop, cool, pitch regular yeast. good idea? bad idea?
     
  20. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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