Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Fruiting My Batch 001 Sour

Tonight I tried my batch 001 homegrown sour. The dregs from the jolly pumpkin beer that I cultured have given the batch a refreshing sourness. It didn't quite have the tart bite I wanted so I decided to go with blueberry for my fruit. I have around 2-2.5 gallons of brew in my carboy. So tonight I went out to buy 5 pounds of blueberries. Buying blueberries in this volume gave me a nice discount over the per pint price. Blueberries have a special place in my heart as well. My grandfather Emil was a blueberry farmer. When my mother needed a break from having kids my sister and I were sent to the farm to play. This often involved peanut butter and jelly lunches and all you can eat blueberries. I could eat lots, and often did. My over exposure to blueberries as a child caused me to detest the flavor of blueberries for the longest time. I didn't regain an appreciation for the flavors of this delicate fruit until my mid twenties (a few years back).

(read more after the break.)

Blueberries aren't the most traditional souring fruit, but they are gaining popularity among the souring circles. Cantillion's highest ranked sour is made with blueberries. Upland and Cascade also make blueberry sour beers. The blueberries add their tartness and the flavor of their rich skins but the sweetness is eaten by the same bugs that make the beer sour.

To draw off the sample I used my dedicated turkey baster. I bought this specifically to draw sour beer samples. I sanitized the top of the carboy with a napkin soaked in star-san liquid. After I drew the sample I reinserted the bung. Immediately upon sticking my nose into the glass I was greeted by a citric acidic funk with a good lactic presence. The flavor was nicely sour with all the characteristic sour flavors I was looking for. Who needs to buy sours commercially? Homebrew! 

Cleaning and Preparing The Fruit:

I didn't want to use the fruit without cleaning it properly. Most fruit that is sold in stores is covered in pesticides and dirt. I believe that pesticide is undesireable in food, and I think that it would have a negative impact on my beer. I purchased a product specifically for cleaning pesticides off of fruit and vegetables. Then I rinsed the fruit with clean water. After that I pureed the fruit in my food processor. I took the pureed fruit mixture and added it to the carboy right on top of the beer. The natural fruit sugars should kick off a secondary fermentation. Below you'll find a collection of pictures.

Waiting is the Hardest Part:

I will have to wait a few more months for this brew to be ready. Adding sugar (blueberries have an average brix rating of 14.1. The measure of 14.1 brix is a specific gravity of 1.056 and if you fermented them out to a FG of 1.003 (not uncommon for a sour) would have an ABV of 7.1%) should kick up a secondary fermentation. I want to give the micro organisms present in the beer time to break down everything they can from the fruit and absorb the maximum fruit flavor. Bottling too fast could cause overcarbonation issues and potentially bottle bombs. Look for this to be kegged or bottled around October.


  1. Yo, I just came across your blog. It looks like we have similar tastes! I was going to try and follow your blog, but you don't have a Follow Options for some reason. i'll try and book mark it. Cheers!

    I love me some blueberries as I have fond memories of going to the BWCA in Northern Minnesota and stumbling onto wild blueberry patch's and just loading up! Damn those things are tasty!

  2. Thanks for the positive feedback! My memories of blueberries are fond ones too. I'll try to figure out the followers thing. You are actually the second person who has mentioned this to me and I thought I had it tied up.