Thursday, September 27, 2012

Batch 002 Sour

This is my kitchen
during brewing
Batch 001 Sour Ale is finished. The blueberry sour blond ale turned out as well as I could have hoped. I was initially torn between re-brewing Batch 001 for bottling or trying something new, and something new won out. So in the spirit of something new while building on  Batch 001 I started with that base recipe and built. I want to emulate some of the great sour browns I have had, while preserving an essence of my original recipe. I also wanted to try to emulate more of a lactic sourness. I believe this lactic sourness to be the key to creating the flavors I want.

(please read more after the break.)

So for the second batch of sour ale I wanted to build on my original sour recipe. The way I will be building is to add a portion of cara-type malts. The contributions will be a bit of color, some caramel flavor and additional complexity. I am also using a different souring culture; Cascade Barrel House has a strong lactic strain that really sours their beers. I drank a bottle of Sang Noir and captured the micro-flora inside for this brew.

The Recipe:
2 lbs 4.0 oz White Wheat Malt (2.3 SRM) 37.5 %
1 lbs 4.0 oz Vienna Malt (3.5 SRM) 17.7 %
1 lbs Munich (Dingemans) (5.5 SRM) 14.3 %
1 lbs Oats, Flaked (1.0 SRM) 14.3 %
9.0 oz Crystal 120 (120.0 SRM) 8.1 %
9.0 oz Cara-Munich III (71.0 SRM) 8.1 %
0.30 oz Tettnang [4.50 %] - Boil 60 8.1 IBUs
House Sour Culture (DEH #2)

Crystal 120 is described as malty with deep fruit flavors of raisins and prunes. It imparts a deep red color. Cara-Munich III imparts color, and medium caramel flavors. The flavor is described as a well rounded caramel malt. I am hoping that these two malts add some more depth of flavor to my sour ale.

Boil Size: 3.41 gal
Batch Size (fermenter): 3.00 gal 
Estimated OG: 1.063 SG 
Estimated Color: 19.2 SRM 
Estimated IBU: 7.2 IBUs 
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Mash Schedule:
Add 16.69 qt water at 113.6 F to reach 110.0 F for 20 min
Mash Step Heat to 154.0 F for 60 min 
Mash Out Heat to 168.0 F over 7 min and rest for 10 min

Brew Day: 
This went fine. I did nothing special here. I cultured some dregs from the pictured Sang Noir bottle and added them right away. I added some S-04 yeast the next morning when I believed that the lactic bacteria had taken hold. The fermentation has looked unique over three days, very turbid, large and small bubbles on the surface, we'll see.

Hopes & Dreams:
It's always hard at the onset of one of these projects not to dream about the outcome. The plain truth is that the microbes often dictate which flavors rise from the brew. As I may have mentioned before, Ryan at Ryan's Brews has posted his thoughts on the subject in great detail; it is a worthy read. Mike at TMF also has thoughts. I would love for this beer to pair well with bourbon, or cherries. Russian River's Supplication is a nice example of where I would be excited to see the final product. Their brown ale made sour by barrel aging and microbial fermentation. My tasting notes indicate that I thought it had a nice funk, a pungent sourness, and a nice subtle tart fruit flavor. Russian River's description of their own beer is:
...Brown Ale aged in used Pinot Noir barrels from local Sonoma County wineries. It is aged for about 12 months with sour cherries, brettanomyces, lactobacillus, and pediococcus added to each barrel. Flavors from the cherries, Pinot Noir and oak balance each other nicely with a little funk from the brett.
Cascade Barrel House also has a beer with similar flavors to those I am hoping to create. They describe their Sang Noir product as:
...This NW style sour ale is a blend of red and double red beers that were aged in bourbon and Pinot Noir barrels for 12- 24 months then blended with barrel aged Bing and Sour Pie cherries. Rich dark cherries, dark fruit, bourbon and hints of leather greet you on the nose. Tart dark cherries, dark caramels and hints of port on the palate leads to a bright tart dark cherry finish with hints of oak and bourbon that linger.
I had a chance to sample this for the first time this week. I found it to be delicious, strongly acidic with great deep red flavors. The caramel is well represented and the oak is very perceivable. Nothing says delicious like a sour ale.

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