I’ve been wanting to brew a proper sour beer for ages now. Having binge listened (or gang listened as they say) to The Sour Hour I’ve finally plucked up the courage to step into the funk.
I’ve played with a bretted saison and used the Funktown Pale Ale yeast but I really want to delve into it properly.
I’ve been a fan of Belgian Lambics for a while now. I was very lucky to have some friends who lived in Brussels who took me to Cantillon when I stayed with them back in 2013 and have recently got into American sours since they have become more readily available to buy over here.
A huge thanks to my Boyfriend’s brother Mark for buying me Michael Tonsmeire’s American Sour Beers book. It has been an invaluable resource, I highly recommend it to anyone who is thinking about trying to brew a sour beer.
I also been very lucky in that I still have a brett strain from Chorlton Brewery to use.
I decided to do a strong Belgian style brown. I got a but merry one night and decided to grow the dregs of a bottle of Cascade Sang Noir which are raging with lactobacillus.
My malt bill was as follows
3kg Pale malt
1.2kg Munich malt
60g Acid malt
60g Midnight Wheat
400g dark candi sugar
15g Hallertauer at 60 mins
I’ve made sure I have a separate set of equipment to use for any sour brewing I do and it is kept in a completely separate room to my clean stuff. I mashed at 68c and stepped up to 75c at the end. I mashed high to get as much dextrose out of the grain for the bugs to feed on. I also kept the IBU low as anything over 8 will start to inhibit the lacto. I couldn’t find any Belgian yeast that I wanted in stock but my local homebrew shop, Water into Beer in Brockley, had some Mangrove Jack Belgian Ale Yeast so I went with that.
It fermented rapidly and went down to 1.010 very quickly. I moved it to secondary (glass demijohns) and pitched the Cascade Sang Noir dregs and the Chorlton Brett.
I pitched some dregs from a bottle of Boon Black label into one of the demi-johns, can you guess which one?
I’m quite patient when it comes to brewing so I have no problem waiting around for this to develop. Plus I find the whole process of the pellicle development fascinating. I plan to add some more brett to layer up the flavour profile later on.
I am planning to do a spontaneous fermentation in the near future. I have a shed with windows that open onto a cherry tree so hoping there are some good yeasts and bacteria floating around. I may cheat a little by spiking my shed with bugs. If anyone has any advice on doing a turbid mash on a Braumeister, I’m all ears.