Sour Brown Bottled

So the sour brown is bottled. I added some wine yeast to the priming sugar as I saw suggested by the Mad Fermentationist. A month later it still hasn’t carbonated. Any thoughts? Is there a chance it still might carbonate, but will take a while? The beer had aged in the secondary for about a year and a half. 

Sour Dark Saison 1.0

14.6 lbs Pilsner Malt
0.7 lbs Carafa II Malt
0.6 lbs CaraWheat Malt
0.4 lbs Special B Malt
0.5 lbs Blackened Raisins (o min)
Omega Biere de Garde
Omega Lactobacillus blend
0.5 oz Amarillo (first wort)
0.5 oz Citra (first wort)
Zest of one orange (o min)
3 Vanilla Beans

Mash Schedule: 20 min protein rest @ 132 degrees F, 90 min sacch rest @ 152 degrees F, 15 min mash out at 172 degrees F.

90 min boil.

This recipe was taken from American Sour Beers by Michael Tonsmeire with a couple of modifications. You can also find the recipe here that I got some information about blackening raisins and is pretty much what is in Tonsmeire’s book. I realized on brew day that I only had 0.5 oz of Amarillo hops around. Oops! So I started smelling all the other partially used packets of hops and the Citra smelled the most similar. Also I’m trying Omega yeast and lacto for the first time.

I made a yeast starter a couple days before brew day as I had the Omega lacto shipped and I always worry that shipping conditions will result in all the yeast and bacteria being dead. Well I’m not sure what is going on here, but the lacto seems to be alive. Or something is anyhow and it smells sour, so I used it.


This was my first time doing a step infusion mash, which made me nervous, but ended up not being a big deal. I did find out that my stove cannot heat up water fast enough during the 20 min protein rest though, so I’ll need to heat all the water before I start or use an outdoor burner. I ended up getting out the outdoor burner to get the water boiling in time for the protein rest to be done and to start the saccharification rest.

While brewing, I blackened the raisins in a dry iron skillet for a while and then added Bruery Terreux Yumberry beer that I had in the fridge already open and cooked the beer down. Then I put the raisins in a blender and tried to puree. I eventually got them nice and mushy, but the food processor is probably the way to go.


This was also the first time I did a first wort hops addition. Had to look up what it meant. So when I started draining off the wort from the mash I added the hops into the kettle with the first runnings. At flame out after a 90 min boil I added in the raisins and orange zest. Then I wrapped the kettle in plastic wrap and let the wort cool down overnight. The next day I siphoned into the carboy and pitched the lacto starter as well as the yeast. Good activity later in the day.

Question for all of you: when I transferred the wort to the carboy, a I think a lot of the raisins and orange zest were probably left behind in the bottom of the kettle. Should I have poured that into the carboy with the rest of the wort? The siphon clogged up with the raisin puree, so I don’t know how much actually got into the carboy. I guess I’ll taste it in a week or so and see if I can taste the orange or raisins. If not, perhaps I added them again at some step down the line.

I plan to add the vanilla beans not long before I bottle and will probably add wood cubes soaked in some type of alcohol when I transfer to the secondary. As I was brewing I was messaging with some friends and one of them found it funny I was being so imprecise considering I’m a scientist and asked if she could provide the description of the beer for the label. Here’s what she came up with: “Sour dark saison with orange, blackened raisins and vanilla, soaked with some random wood chips, maybe some dog dander, soaked in random booze, at some time unknown.”

I’m looking forward to seeing how this beer turns out. I am partial to letting the lacto run for a while before pitching the yeast, but the Mad Fermentationist usually pitches them together, so I figured I’d follow suit. I’ll probably toss in some bottle dregs along the way as well. Been thinking I probably should’ve been adding dregs to the other beers I’m letting sit for long periods so they continue to sour and develop more flavor.

Gose 1.0

img_11686 lbs Wheat Malt
3 lbs German Pilsner
.25 lbs Melanoidin Malt
.16 lbs Acid Malt
0.75 oz Sorachi Ace (dry hopped)
Lacto brevis
Safale US-05
1 oz salt
1 oz coriander

The recipe mostly follows the Mad Fermentationist Sour Leipziger Gose with a couple of changes. I dry hopped this beer with Sorachi Ace and I doubled the amount of salt and coriander. I also didn’t do a full boil and did no chill for the wort cooling.

I made a Lacto starter on 11/9/16 using WLP672. 650 ml of water, 1/4 cup DME, 1 ml lactic acid.

Brew day was 11/12/16 and all went well. Took some of the wort to make the yeast starter. Salt and coriander were added at 5 min. The salt was Alaea Sea Salt from Hawaii and I bought the coriander from Northern Brewer. I ground the coriander in my hand grind coffee grinder. Not sure how long all my coffee will taste like coriander.

After no chill cooling for a day, I transferred to a carboy on 11/13/16 and pitched the lacto starter. Activity was good and after a few days I had a good sour taste. on 11/18/16 I pitched the yeast starter and got some good activity from the yeast as well. Transferred to the secondary on 11/27/16 and tossed in the hops in cheesecloth 4 days before bottling on 12/14/16.

Perfect timing, the beer was ready to taste during the holidays! I have tasted a lot of goses and have in my mind exactly what they should taste like and this turned out to be a perfect standards gose. Nice and tart, can taste the salt and coriander, but not overwhelmingly. I don’t think I’d change a thing on this in the future.

Berliner Weisse 3.1 on to Dry Hopping

I ended up adding some more lactic acid to this beer after the initial 25 ml. On 10/8/16 I added an additional 20 ml. It’s still not really as sour as I’d like, but I’m moving forward anyhow. I think lesson learned for me on this will be to do Lacto starters prior to pitching them in the primary so I can taste the wort and make sure they are actually turning it sour.

On 10/15/16, I split the beer into 5 1-gallon jugs and then a day later I added the 5 different hops. As usual, I didn’t take my time, so I didn’t realize one of the packets of hops I pulled out of the fridge was the wrong one. I thought it was strange I would’ve chosen German Hallertau as one of the hops, but didn’t notice there was still a packet left in the fridge. Oh well, next time I’ll try dry hopping with the Calypso I didn’t use. Below are the quantities and alpha percents.

1 oz. German Hallertau Alpha 2.9% (hence me deciding to just add the whole packet.)
0.5 oz. Simcoe Alpha 12.6%
0.5 oz. Citra Alpha 13.6%
0.5 oz. US Warrior Alpha 14.7%
0.5 oz. Amarillo Alpha 9.3%

I plan to let it sit for 3 days since I have time to bottle on 10/19/16 and no other day this week really. I could potentially delay it two more days, but I think I might have optimal results at 3 days.

Tasting Samples

I pulled little samples from the brown, blonde, and stout sours I have sitting in carboys to check and see how they are doing.

The brown sour still has a thick coating of white stuff on top, Brett I’m assuming from looking around on the internet. This beer has been sitting in a carboy since 10/4/15, so I’m getting close to a year now. It’s pleasantly surprising how quickly a year has gone by actually. This beer is developing nicely. It smells like I’d expect a brown sour to smell now and it’s got a good amount of sourness in the taste. I’m horrible at describing the things I taste in a beer, but suffice it to say I’m happy. I think I’ll keep letting it sit for another 6 months and then if I don’t continue to see improvements in the taste, I’ll bottle it then. I know I’ve read about putting some red wine yeast in the bottles for sours, but haven’t done this before. If I do, does anyone have suggestions for how to go about this?

The blonde sour (Temptation clone), in the carboy since 11/20/15, neither smells amazing nor tastes great. Not that there’s something wrong with it, but the smell and taste are perhaps just boozy rather than sour. I’ll keep letting it sit and see if something changes like it did with the brown.

The sour stout, in the carboy since 4/9/16, is doing well. Not quite sour enough yet, but I can tell it’s getting more sour and the taste is becoming more complex. I think this one will turn out to be a great beer given another 6 months or so.

Update on Berliner Weisse 3.1

I decided to ask the sour pro over at The Mad Fermentationist blog for some help on this one. He suggested I could try adding some lactic acid to a sample and see if I liked the flavor. I forgot the sample part until I just reread his answer to my question. So I added 25 ml of lactic acid to the carboy just now. Guess I’ll have to hope I like it! I did take a taste before adding the lactic acid though and the flavor had improved over the week. Getting a little more sour. I’ll let it sit and keep checking the taste every week until I’m happy. Then I’ll get it into the secondary gallon jugs and add the hops!

Hmm…Berliner Weisse 3.1

OK folks. If you make it to the end of this post, you’ll see I’m looking for some suggestions on how to proceed. Things went fairly well on this one, but the result isn’t yet what I’m hoping for.

Brew Day 9/3/16

  • 6lbs Pilsner Malt
  • 3lbs White Wheat Malt
  • 0.75 oz German Hallertau alpha 2.7%
  • Lacto brevis WLP 672
  • Safale US-05 yeast


Brew day went well, nothing too special to report other than, as suggested by Pride Craft, I did a 15 minute boil to avoid contamination and then did a no chill for the wort overnight. On 9/4/16 I pitched the Lacto, which I had to order from a different supplier than I usually use as my local shop didn’t have it and Northern Brewer was out. Before I pitched, the OG reading was 1.038. The carboy heater probably kept the temperature around 90 degrees F. Got great action going for a few days.


A week later I pitched the yeast. The before pitching the yeast, the gravity reading was 1.02. Cannot smell any lacto, just smells like beer. So I waited a few days. Nothing much happened.

On 9/14/16 I pitched another vial of WLP 672 for the heck of it and then went away for the weekend. Now it’s 9/19/16 and I just pulled some beer to check it out. Still doesn’t taste sour. Gravity still at 1.02.

This is the first time a BW hasn’t soured quickly for me in the first week. There doesn’t appear to be anything wrong with the beer itself, so do I just wait longer? Maybe squirt some lactic acid in there to help it out? I’ve got other random packages of Lacto in the fridge, but none of them are brevis. I could make a starter from one and toss it in there in a few days. I’d love any thoughts on this!

I plan to take this BW and split it into 5 1-gallon jugs and add a different type of hops to each to see how they taste and what I like the best.


Major Fail

Yesterday was brew day for my Berliner Weisse that was to be my first no boil and no chill. It was a complete failure. I was so excited by how much time it was going to save me not going through the boil and no putting in the work to cool the wort, but when I popped open the lid of the kettle I left the wort to chill in this afternoon the worst smell came out.

Fortunately I know exactly what went wrong, but it has left me with doubt about trying to do both no boil and no chill in one beer. Not because either of these are what went wrong, but perhaps doing the no boil contributed. I’d love some thoughts on this.

Here’s what happened. When I went to pull 3 quarts from the mash, little to no wort was coming out of the spigot in the bottom of my mash tun. I thought it must be clogged. Long story short, I did all sorts of things trying to get wort out for the decotion and then when the mash was done including move the grain bag (I line the mash tun with a grain bag) around, adding more hot water and stirring, and blowing through a hose into the valve, all probably doing a lot of oxygenating of the hot wort. Finally I realized I had forgotten a part of the false bottom that meant the components were flush with the bottom of the mash tun rather than raised to allow flow. But by this point it was too late and I’d done so much messing around I didn’t have a lot of hope.

Regardless, I left the wort in a kettle wrapped in plastic wrap over night to see if it was salvageable. It was not. So I just ordered the ingredients to try again next weekend, but I’m worried that perhaps I need to pick either no boil or no chill. Or I try again next weekend and see if I can make the two techniques work together. I suppose it might be worth trying again for the sake of knowing whether it can work and ultimately finding great ways to save a lot of time on brew day.

Berliner Weisse 3.0 – The Rest of the Jugs

The jugs that were left plain turned out to be my best BW yet. At the very least, I’ve finally settled on a grain bill and believe I’m satisfied with the yeast and lacto. I loved playing around with the 1 gallon jugs, so this BW will be the base for a lot of experimenting.

I left the plums in the jug for 1 week, but then they started to look moldy and the beautiful pink color was starting to fade, so I bottled. Lemon rind and coriander I bottled after 12 days.

After all of the versions had been bottled for at least two weeks, we did a tasting of all 4 together.

I have some work to do on taking photos of beer. However, the first bottle is the lemon coriander, second is plum, third is dry hopped.

Lemon coriander I couldn’t taste the coriander. Perhaps fresh ground would be important and I used powder. However, the lemon flavor was great. Didn’t add any tartness, but the flavor is more like a lemon candy and nothing like a lemon scented cleaner, so I’m happy.

The plum had tasted amazing right before bottling. Sweet and tart and plenty of fruit. However, after bottling the sweetness was gone and the plum somewhat reduced. Did all that sweetness get consumed in the carbonation? Would adding more plums correct this? Will try again. Either way, it still tastes good.

You already heard how much I love the dry hopped. Therefore, the next batch of BW is going to be split into 1 gallon jugs again, but dry hopped with 5 different types of hops. More to come on this once brew day is over, which will probably be a couple weeks out.

Berliner Weisse 3.0 – Dry Hopped Jug

On 5/28/16 I added 0.5 oz of amarillo hops to a one gallon jug of BW. I used hops pellets and didn’t put them in a bag or anything. I think next time I might put the hops in cheesecloth to avoid the mess the loose pellets caused when I tried to bottle.img_0257

I left the hops in until 6/3/16 when I bottled. After bottling there was a little left to taste, so I did. I was disappointed that the beer tasted more bitter than I was looking for. The best dry hopped sours I’ve had you can distinctly taste the hops, but the sour cuts all the bitterness. I figured maybe I was overzealous in the amount of hops I used. Erin and I cracked open a bottle this week though and it tasted amazing. All the bitterness was gone, the hops shined through, the smell was amazing. I want to make 5 gallons of all dry hopped BW. The plum will be ready to taste soon…