TL;DR: Brewing the base of what will hopefully become a geuze. Don’t know what to say, I need more sour beer in my life and I don’t want to pay (much) for it. Plan for today is making a new 3 gallon batch, and topping up my 2 existing ones.
I am just getting into brewing sours, my first two are still in secondary and will be a year old in August. Being a split between one 5 gallon batch (two 2 gallon batches in two 3 gallon carboys), and not sour enough, I thought I’d try my hand at feeding them, then letting them go for another 5 months before choosing between bottling, blending, or continuing to age. Depending on the level of vinegar (acetic acid) if present due to acetobacter and oxygen, I may add the microbes to a new batch. I am also starting my third three gallon batch with WLP 655.
The microbes from these first two batches were grown for 2 weeks in a starter and were built from bottle dregs.
Both batches are as follows:
Dregs: Cantillon Rose De Gambrinus, Hannsen’s Oude Geuze Lambic, Geuze Boon L’Ancienne
Tasting Notes: Sour note present but not at the level I’d like. Brett is present with horse blanket and hay notes, not overpowering, very pleasant. Pineapple and apricot aromas. Vanilla is very low, oak tannin is low-moderate and provide a vinous character that may subside too much if blended. Wheat finish is almost non-existent. Acetic acid from acetobacter imperceptible if present.
Dregs: Geuze Boon L’Anceinne, Boulevard Love Child 6 & 8, Lindeman’s Cuvee Rene
Tasting Notes: Apricot and stone fruit character with horse blanket present and pleasant. Not so much pineapple as batch 1. Not sour enough for my tastes. Oak tannin is low-moderate and provide a vinous character that may subside too much if blended. Wheat finish is almost non-existent. Acetic acid from acetobacter imperceptible if present.
- the first sours were too heavy on the IBUs at around 10, which is too much for most strains of lacto.
- Goal: Add low IBU beer and new lactobacillus microbes to kick-start the lacto.
- The base wort was received from a wort share from Aslin Brewing Company. The targets for the wort were probably not built for a sour in mind, so it is a bit lacking in a wheaty finish. The dextrines were too few to sustain strong microbe activity after the French Saison yeast did its thing.
- Goal: add some more complex starches from wheat to add some wheaty finish and dextrines for the microbes to enjoy. Unfortunately, I will not be turbid mashing, just mashing with a lot of gelatinized wheat (torrified) and doing 2 infusions to hit the protein rest and a high saccharification rest.
- They were my first sours. I’d be happy enough to bottle and drink them now, but I want to sustain the microbes as best as possible. There are no off flavors, and I don’t think adding more wort and microbes will ruin the batch.
- Goal: Do not introduce oxygen by adding fermented beer, not oxygenated wort.
- All batches need more oak, each having half an ounce per 2 gallon batch
- Goal: After 9 months, level of oak is pretty good for an unblended lambic or geuze, but since I may blend with a fruit beer, I will add a bit more (0.2 oz) in each of the older batches, and a full ounce in the newest. 5 months for the oldest batches should be plenty for extraction, but not necessarily the complexity and softness you get from longer aging, oh well, lessons learned.
Recipe Specifications -------------------------- Boil Size: 7.25 gal Post Boil Volume: 6.35 gal Batch Size (fermenter): 6.00 gal Bottling Volume: 5.50 gal Estimated OG: 1.051 SG Estimated Color: 4.2 SRM Estimated IBU: 5.0 IBUs Brewhouse Efficiency: 75.00 % Est Mash Efficiency: 76.2 % Boil Time: 90 Minutes Ingredients: ------------ Amt Name Type # %/IBU 9.07 gal Antwerp, Belgium Water 1 - 8.0 oz Rice Hulls (0.0 SRM) Adjunct 2 4.3 % 7 lbs Pilsner (Weyermann) (1.7 SRM) Grain 3 60.9 % 2 lbs 8.0 oz Wheat, Torrified (1.7 SRM) Grain 4 21.7 % 1 lbs Munich 10L (Briess) (10.0 SRM) Grain 5 8.7 % 8.0 oz White Wheat Malt (2.4 SRM) Grain 6 4.3 % 0.50 oz Saaz [3.00 %] - Boil 60.0 min Hop 7 5.0 IBUs 1.0 pkg Bastogne Belgian Ale (White Labs #WLP510 Yeast 8 - 1.0 pkg Belgian Sour Mix 1 (White Labs #WLP655) Yeast 9 - 1.00 oz American Oak Cubes - Medium Toast (Secon Flavor 10 - Mash Schedule: Double Infusion, Full Body Total Grain Weight: 11 lbs 8.0 oz ---------------------------- Name Description Step Temperat Step Time Protein Rest Add 10.35 qt of water at 141.7 F 130.0 F 45 min Saccharification Add 9.20 qt of water at 195.9 F 158.0 F 45 min Mash Out Add 6.90 qt of water at 199.4 F 168.0 F 10 min Sparge: Fly sparge with 2.52 gal water at 168.0 F Notes: ------
1) Built water profile using Leesburg water and targeting an Antwerp Belgium water profile.
2) Heated water to 140F(60C) and mashed in with 11 quarts at 130F(54C). Protein rest for approx 45 mins.
3) Boiled an additional 6.8 quarts and added for a saccharification rest at 158F(170C) for 40 minutes. Missed temp by a few degrees, so I added 0.5 gal (1.9L of boiling water until it was close enough (158F/70F). Sacc rest for about 40 mins.
4) Added boiled water until reached a temperature of 168F(76C). Undershot, but did not add more as I did not want to thin the mash too much.
5) Lautered and batch sparged 1x, until volume reached 7 gallons.
6) Measured preboil wort gravity at 1.042, which should net me somewhere around 1.050 after boiling.
8) Boiled for 90 mins, adding Saaz hops at 60 minute mark. Kinda neat seeing the hot break float around. Not going to use whirlfloc.
9) Chilling outside for approx 30 mins, until under 70F(21C). Weather was not on my side today as far as rain, but ground water temp was acceptable.
10) Measured post boil gravity at 1.053. Overshot by 0.002, but oh well.
11) Aerated with a whisk (oxygen stone clogged up, this will have to do).
12) Pitched yeast, WLP 510. I had this lying around and never got to use it, should be just fine, hopefully it does not attenuate fully. Will wait until glass secondary to pitch pedio/lacto/brett/sacc2. I want to keep this plastic bucket available for saccharomyces only fermentation.
Thats it! Finally done! Next step is feeding Batch 1 & 2, transferring 3 gallons to new glass secondary, and pitch bugs.