Soured Beer - Kentucky Common

Discussion in 'Brewing Photos & Videos' started by Nosybear, Oct 15, 2013.

  1. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    After several efforts at producing my "home brew", I think I finally got it right. Ky. Common is one of three distinct American beer styles, popular before Prohibition as the "poor man's beer" in northern Kentucky and southern Indiana. It appears that brewers took a distiller's grain bill, reversed the proportions of corn and barley, soured the mash and made a light bodied, refreshing ale, great for the heat and humidity of a Kentucky summer. Here's the one-gallon recipe:

    http://www.brewersfriend.com/homebrew/r ... cky-common

    I'd imagine part of the grain bill would have been brown sugar or molasses but this is the one I started with. The sour mashing procedure is as follows: Mash and run the wort into the kettle (I didn't want it in anything that wouldn't get sterilized later!). Pitch a few grains of uncrushed malt (I used a German Rye) into the wort at 90°, cover and hold it at that temperature - I used an electric blanket for heat. The wort will get bubbly and stinky, this is normal! After 18 hours, start your boil, everything in the kettle. It will stink but bear with it. Process normally from that point on. The result will be a tart beer with a distinct "funk" but it is delicious! I can see it described as a brown Berliner Weisse and will do a Weisse next Summer using the same procedure.

    Cheers!
     
  2. fauxpunker

    fauxpunker New Member

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    This... is very interesting. Where are you from Nosy? I live in NKY and have never heard of this. Based on this little tidbit of history, though, I'd love to give it a go at some point.
     
  3. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Point of origin? Muhlenberg County, KY (yes, if any of you have heard the John Prine song "Paradise," that's what he was singing about). Currently occupying a suburban lot in Colorado.
     
  4. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    ...and I'll post the recipe when it's carbonated and I've decided I like it. It was the poor man's pre-prohibition drink around Louisville. My version is soured, very tart, highly estery and all in all, nice, at this point. May have to risk equipment and do a five-gallon batch in the future.
     
  5. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    One last note and I'll put my drunken ass to bed (been entertaining a colleague and fellow brewer from Gdansk, Poland this eve, introducing him to the finer microbreweries in Aurora, CO): KY Common is one of three uniquely American beer styles, the other two being pre-Prohibition American Lager and California Common. Although Matt, the previously mentioned Polish colleague, friend, sometime supplier of Polish hops and all-around fine brewer, really has a liking for our IPAs....
     
  6. Foster82

    Foster82 New Member

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    So I have been reading about sour malt and have been toying with the idea of making my own. I am thinking about taking a 1/4 pound of 2-row and adding just enough water to get the grains floating and then tossing in a probiotic capsule and let it go until the sour smell starts to come through. Then allow the grains to dry out and store until ready to add to a mash. I suppose you could crush the grains to speed the process up, but then you would have to try and plan the brew for when the sour malt was ready to use. Also FYI if you want a great source of Lactic bacteria, probiotic capsules work nicely (and make a great yogurt).
     
  7. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Last batch didn't come out quite as I'd like. My wife said it smelled like dirty socks - I couldn't smell that but she could - apparently there was some brett on the Belgian rye I innoculated with. Anyway, it was very tart, drinkable if very funky.... Next time I'll try a pure culture of lactobacillus. Souring with grain is hit or miss - depends on what organisms are living on the grain you pitch. And from what I've read, when you get a good culture, hold onto a "starter" from it, kind of like sourdough....

    Next try, pure lacto.
     
  8. Foster82

    Foster82 New Member

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    Nosy, you have inspired me to make a 1 gallon test batch.
     
  9. Foster82

    Foster82 New Member

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  10. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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