Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Sour Update

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


  1. hey, just came across your site after you posted it on ratebeer. Nice work! I'm getting into brewing sours and such now. Your comment about you 100% brett pale ale sounds like my 100% brett C IPA with Nelson Sauvin and Amarillo. I found that a touch of Amarillo helps to round out the NS well. That combined with a Munich base and you have a killer beer.

  2. oh yeah, thanks for the link by the way. I'm adding you to my links as well.

  3. Thanks for the kind words. I have realy been into brewing sours for about a year or so now. The only down sides I have seen so far is it takes a long time, and I have had some accidental brett contaminations. I am currently working to clear out all equipment that may be causing the issue.

    I am looking forward to brewing that 100% brett beer again. I would have posted the recipe but my computer crashed and I lost all of my recipes back in October. I will have to do some research to get the base recipe again for this year, and I will be looking at yours.

    Thanks for adding me to your site, I really love the food and beer combo you do. I am just starting to smoke and make charcuterie, so I may post some of that stuff as well.