Awhile ago I brewed a sour brown batch of beer for my home souring experiment. This was soured with dregs from a bottle of Sang Noir. The time is upon me to do something with this beer so that I can continue to make make and drink sour beers. The malt bill for a sour beer is no more complicated than a conventional beer. As anyone who has read my blog before knows the secret ingredient is time. This beer has had ten months to age and it's time to see where the flavors are at and decide what if any fruit would be appropriate. The pelicle was still intact prior to my moving it, and the colonies of lactobacillus floating on the surface gave me pause that it might not be ready. Was it ready?
(Please read my sampling notes after the break.)
To draw off a sample I am using a simple turkey baster. For less than 10 dollars at the grocery I got this little gem. I only use this baster for drawing sour wort samples as I don't want the baster to become impregnated by food flavors or to contaminate my other beers. I clean and sanitize the whole thing and then use a sanitized napkin to clean the area around the top of the carboy so no accumulated dust falls in. You should take care to minimize the amount of time you leave your bucket, carboy, or other fermentation vessel open to the air. Dust carries spores, bacteria, and other undesirable things, so work to keep it out of your beer.
A sampling only has two factors at this stage that you can really control: aroma and flavor. Mouth feel and appearance will be impossible to predict or measure accurately from an uncarbonated dead sample.
Aroma: Sour; Lactic. Not overpowering or offensive. The sample would be best judged by the scents that are missing. No detectable bile, vinegar, solvents, acetone, or other undesirable aromas.
Flavor: Nice lactic sourness, very dry sour flavor. The grains didn't add too much as the lactic flavors were the most prevalent.
Overall: Nice. I thought about leaving it alone it was so good.
I added 1 lbs of crushed frozen tart red cherries to the beer. Fermentation was restarted by the time I returned on Sunday from my weekend away. I'll stick this one back in my closet as I decide what to do with the remaining 2 gallons of blueberry sour ale. I'm going to give it 30 days on the cherries to see where it's at and then keg/bottle/or leave it.