I recently wrote a guest article for the startup hobby website LobHob.com. This three-page guide to brewing your first sour beer provides the basics (including brewing steps, recipes, and strain selection options) for beginning homebrewers looking to brew their first sour beer. I hope you’ll check it out!
Matt “Dr. Lambic” Miller
I really dig your website, I just stumbled across it today. (To my good fortune) I live in KC, MO. There are not a lot of shops in the area that sell sour beers for at home consumption. The good news is I have found a little locally-owned store that is willing to order a variety of sours to stock their shelves with. Apparently I am not the only one with such a request. I was hoping you would have some suggestions as to what I should ask for. You in your great tarty wisdom might have a better idea as to what is readily available, easy to order, and obtainable. Versus limited, seasonal, or basically impossible to find. I have had success with Monks, Bells Oarsman, Crane (a local brewery), and the owner is looking into any New Belgium sours. What do you recommend/think? Thanks in advance.
Rodenbach grand cru, bocker Jacobin rogue, Petrus aged pale, new Belgium la follie.
I used the gigayeast fast souring lacto and kept the temp around 90 for 48 hours. PH was around 3.5. I then pitched sach…2 weeks later the PH is down to 3.02 and there is a somewhat vinegar aroma. Taste has hardly any of this but is very acidic and clean.
My questions are:
Is the vinegar aroma acedic acid and do I need to dump?
What is the best way to offset the low PH so it is drinkable? Blend or add fruit?
Would you add Brett at this point?
Gigayeast’s Lacto strain is a real juggernaut when it comes to acidifying both wort and young beer. This is one of the reasons why I recommended just a short 12 hour cooling to room temp then pitch Sacc rather than a more classic kettle sour hold time. I’ve had this strain do exactly what your describing in golden sour beer as well when following basically your process (mine was held at 90 F for around 72 hours) which resulted in base beers with pHs ranging from 2.9-3.1 after Sacc fermentation. My recommendation is to brew the same wort, ferment it entirely with Brett, then blend with your acid base. Another approach would be to brew a base fermented with just Sacc, blend with your acid beer, then pitch Brett into the blend and age. Using either approach, I would build at least 15 IBUs into your blender beer so that once blended with the acid beer, it will prevent the Lacto from any further acidification.
Regarding the flavors/aromas in your current beer. Try watering a sample down 50% and see if you still get vinegar character. It’s likely that what your picking up is likely just very strong lactic acid and some fuses alcohols from Sacc stress due to the high acidity. Once you blend the beer down to a more moderate acidity (3.3-3.6 pH), a healthy aging time on Brett will both clean up/esterify the fusels and add desired complexity. Once the base is tasting good all around, that is the point I would go with any fruiting, dry-hopping, or specialty ingredient additions. Good luck!
Awesome. Thanks for the info here and in general. This blog is awesome and I also look forward to your perspective on the sour hour.