Stout - making sour wort

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TRG
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Stout - making sour wort

Post #1 by TRG » 3 years ago

Anyone done this and added ~3% soured wort to the fermenter? I know that Guiness is made with a portion of soured beer and have read that some guys will take a quart of wort, add a couple kernels of grain (for lactobacillus) and let it sour for a few days, then boil to kill the bacteria and add that back to the fermenter.

Anyone done this?
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Re: Stout - making sour wort

Post #2 by Warthaug » 3 years ago

I did the Guinness thing once, many years ago, and have done a few sour beers since. In either case, sour mashes/worts do not work well unless you can hold the temp at ~35C for 2 or so days - lacto doesn't grow well below those temps. I've come up with a somewhat optimized process:

1) Cool your wort/mash to 35C and throw in a bit of uncrushed malt. For a sour-mash you need a handful; for the litre or so you'd be souring for a stout you'll only need a few kernels (and can probably use crushed malt).

2) Cover the wort/mash with saran wrap. Some people will coat with CO2 instead. In my experience saran wrap works better. What you are doing is creating an oxygen barrier - laco is an anerobe, so O2 has to be kept off.

3) Hold at 35C to sour; it is best to taste it every 12 hours or so, to see where the sour level is. You wont want to taste it - it smells like dirty feet dipped in vomit* - but tasting is all you can do to see where it is at. For most sour mashes/worts, I've found 48 hours is usually about right. I hold at this temp using an aquarium heater inside of my mash tun; an oven or smoker can also work - ideally outside of the house.

*Don't worry, this disappears as soon as you boil.

4) Once soured, skim off of the pellicle (snot/wax-like layer of lacto that will form). If souring a mash, you can now sparge it like you would sprage a normal mash.

5) Boil it. In your case, 15min should be sufficient.

6) Apologize to SWMBO'd - your whole neighbourhood now smells like dirty feet, and she will (likely) be pissed. I find flowers work well - and help cover up the smell ;)

DO NOT do the souring, or any transfers of unboiled sour materials, using any of your beer-handling plastics that encounter post-boil beer. The bacteria will find every little crevice and will then contaminate every brew you make afterwards. In your case you can probably sour & boil in a small pot, so its a non-issue. For anyone wanting to do sour beers, you need to buy a second set of siphons, air locks, and other plastics for these sour beer.

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TRG
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Re: Stout - making sour wort

Post #3 by TRG » 3 years ago

Bryan,

Thanks for this! Very good information there. I know what you mean about the smell. I was not prepared for that. I am glad that I only used glass for this sour portion.


Now - is my plastic fermenter going to be soured? lol I added 1L of 48h soured and 30 min boiled wort to ~10gallons of already fermenting wort... I am hoping not. The boil should have killed all of the lacto, yes?

Thanks for the advice!
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Re: Stout - making sour wort

Post #4 by ihomebrewing » 3 years ago

Warthaug wrote:I did the Guinness thing once, many years ago, and have done a few sour beers since. In either case, sour mashes/worts do not work well unless you can hold the temp at ~35C for 2 or so days - lacto doesn't grow well below those temps. I've come up with a somewhat optimized process:

1) Cool your wort/mash to 35C and throw in a bit of uncrushed malt. For a sour-mash you need a handful; for the litre or so you'd be souring for a stout you'll only need a few kernels (and can probably use crushed malt).

2) Cover the wort/mash with saran wrap. Some people will coat with CO2 instead. In my experience saran wrap works better. What you are doing is creating an oxygen barrier - laco is an anerobe, so O2 has to be kept off.

3) Hold at 35C to sour; it is best to taste it every 12 hours or so, to see where the sour level is. You wont want to taste it - it smells like dirty feet dipped in vomit* - but tasting is all you can do to see where it is at. For most sour mashes/worts, I've found 48 hours is usually about right. I hold at this temp using an aquarium heater inside of my mash tun; an oven or smoker can also work - ideally outside of the house.

*Don't worry, this disappears as soon as you boil.

4) Once soured, skim off of the pellicle (snot/wax-like layer of lacto that will form). If souring a mash, you can now sparge it like you would sprage a normal mash.

5) Boil it. In your case, 15min should be sufficient.

6) Apologize to SWMBO'd - your whole neighbourhood now smells like dirty feet, and she will (likely) be pissed. I find flowers work well - and help cover up the smell ;)

DO NOT do the souring, or any transfers of unboiled sour materials, using any of your beer-handling plastics that encounter post-boil beer. The bacteria will find every little crevice and will then contaminate every brew you make afterwards. In your case you can probably sour & boil in a small pot, so its a non-issue. For anyone wanting to do sour beers, you need to buy a second set of siphons, air locks, and other plastics for these sour beer.

Bryan


Oh my dear God. What have you done!?! :O
Can you get some pics next time you do this? It would make a great walk though tutorial. I understand if you don't want to document the EVIDENCE however...

Thanks for the info Bryan

Cheers,

Bryan
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Re: Stout - making sour wort

Post #5 by Warthaug » 3 years ago

TRG, if your wort was boiled there is no issue. The issue is with bacteria-containing (and bret-containing) worts. These besities can survive many sanitation attempts (even bleach!) by hiding out in little scratches in your plastic ware. They then come out and contaminate future batches. A short boil will kill these guys, so its safe to put the wort in your fermenter/siphon/etc as the nasties will be dead. A lot of people do sour mashes in place of sour fermentations in order to avoid having to double-up on brewing equipment - its a well established practice.

Bryan, be careful with the sour beers. Your first one will not be your last! I've been keeping track of my brews on my blog (link in my sig), but no sour mashes have been done since I started the blog. I'm brewing a barely wine next month which will be soured with Brett, and will put up a few posts on that. A berliner weisse is also in the planning books, so that one should appear soon. I'd be happy to write up a how-to; I could even do it pre-brew, and then post pictures later.

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Re: Stout - making sour wort

Post #6 by TRG » 3 years ago

Bryan,

That is what I figured, but since this is my first foray into the bacterial world... I figured I would ask! Thanks for the info!
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Re: Stout - making sour wort

Post #7 by Tim L » 3 years ago

I have not brewed a stout or sour beer, but I do plan on trying a Guinness Draught clone. I'm going to use RICLARK's recipe from HBT http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f68/guinness-draught-clone-100740/.

In this recipe, many brewers have basically left 24 oz of Guinness in a bowl (covered in saran wrap or cloth) out for 4 days. They usually do this about a week before brewing, and after the 4 days, they put it into the freezer, then they add it to the boil on brew day.

Others in the thread offer other ways to get the sourness, just figured I'd throw this out there as well.
On tap:
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3 - El Dorado SMaSH
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Re: Stout - making sour wort

Post #8 by Warthaug » 3 years ago

I'm not sure what the freezer would do... Another option is simply to add some lactic acid, which is what the bugs are making. It wouldn't be exactly the same as soured beer, but it would give the same effect.

Bryan
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