Tuesday, January 12, 2010
I have been really into sour beers since I first tried one at the famous Monks Cafe in Phili back in 2004. I had Monks Flemish Sour and was blown away by the strange beer I was drinking. From that point I fell in love with all beers sour, although it woul dbe another year or two before I really became aquainted with teh various sour styles. As I continued to homebrew I knew at one point I would have to try and brew a sour. My first attempt was the very style that started my love for sour beers, a flemish sour red. I brewed that beer in December of 2007 so at just over two years old I am hoping that the beer is near completion. It never really got sour like I wanted although it did have some funk. I think this is because I used a neutral yeast in primary and I don't think I gave the bugs enough complex sugars to eat in the long run. This summer I tried to blend the beer with some other styles I had lying around and nothing really impressed me, so I tried a new strategy and caramelized some dried currents and then deglazed them using some cabernet wine. I poured this mixture into the fermenter and came back in November, much more sour, not perfect but not bad. I may blend it with a 2 year old Old Ale.
I took a short break from brewing sours when I moved and moved up to All Grain. In the spring I went back to the dark side and brewed a Berliner Weisse. Very simple recipe of wheat malt and pils, mash hopped and no boil. I made a starter of WY Lactobacillus d. in organic, no preservative apple juice MArtinelli's (the kind in the little apple shaped bottles). I got this hint from Patrick Rue from the Bruery after tasting their Berliner. I was very happy with the results and the beer was a thirst quenching treat over the summer.
Next up was a Gose (anotehr German style sour wheat using lactobacillus, corriandar, and salt). I pitched the yeast cake from the Berliner into the Gose that used the same grain bill with corriander and salt added the last 5 minutes. The beer was amazing, probably one of my favorites to date and definately my fiancees favorite. However, this beer became infected with a strain of brettanomyces accidentally. It still tatse very good but it is extremly dry now and has a light funk. It is kegged and is next up on tap once I clean my keggerator.
In the spring I brewed what I called BRETT!!! It is an 100% Brett Clausenii Fermented Pale Ale with 100% amarillo hops. This beer tasted terrible at about 2-3 months but as time progressed it matured into a amazing beer. One of my favorites and defintely a beer I will be trying again soon, except this time I will use Brett anomoulus and Nelson Suavgon Hops. I popped a bottle today and I think it may be my best beer, so far.
This fall I brewed a Fall Saison with roasted pumpkin and butternut squash, the beer was accidentaly infected with brett ( I have since changed and cleaned all my brewing equipment to prevent further accidental infections). The beer was pretty nasty a few months ago, so added the dregs of some Jolly Pumpkin La Roja and the dregs of a Toronado 20th (Thanks for the B day beer Ryan). I tasted it yesterday and wow, sour, funky and it is really coming along great, I guess some accidents work.
I brewed an Orval like Clone using the Wyeast VSS collection the Trappist Blend (Trappist yeast and Orval's brett strain). I also added the dregs of an Orval to add the complexity in the bugs. This beer is really starting to get some funk and has a small spotty pellicle (the very first picture above), very unlike the pellicles I have seen in my other wild beers. I look forward to kegging this guy up soon and dry hopping the beer.
I think I will go on a sour/wild beer hiatus for the next few months as I am running out of carboy space, but don't worry I will come back to them in March or April