Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Yearly Sour/Wild Ale (Second Year)

I’ve been meaning to brew this beer for a few months but I didn’t have any room to ferment it. My options were to brew and then not have the ability to brew anything else for a few months or just wait and brew other things in the meantime. My plan was to brew a sour ale using the same recipe and roughly same technique every year, only fermenting it with different sources, and then blend the batches after three years to create my own gueuze. I’m a few months behind on this batch, but in the long run it will be fine. 

The recipe I use is basically, as I like to call it, a lazy lambic. It’s not a true “lambic” because I don’t live in Belgium, spontaneously ferment, ferment in barrels, or use a turbid mash. Since I’m not preforming a turbid mash I’m not using unmalted wheat, which forces me to mash high to attempt to provide a lot of long chain sugars for the Brett and bacteria to eat over the many months the beer will be fermenting. My goal was to produce something as close as possible to lambic wort without going through all of the time needed. Although a regular infusion mash takes less time and can produce long chain sugars, it will not produce the complexity in the end product like a turbid mash will. 

This was also the first time that I was able to use yeast from East Coast Yeast. I’ve always heard great things about Al’s bug blends but have never been able to use them before. Either I don’t have time to brew when they’re available or when I can brew they are not available. I’m interested to see how it works out. Each blend of yeast that he sells for his bug blends has a high enough cell count to be pitched without a starter, so that’s exactly what I did. 

Batch size: 6 gallons
Boil time: 90 min
OG Est: 1.048
OG measured: 1.050
FG Est: 1.006
SRM: 3o
IBU: 6

Grain Bill
Pilsner Malt – 7lbs
Belgian Wheat – 3.5lbs
Acid Malt – 0.5lbs

Hop Schedule
90min – Willamette – 3.5 oz (aged 3 years)

ECY20 Bug county (no starter made)

Mash Schedule:
Single infusion – 158F – 45minutes

3/7/14 – Brewed by myself. No issues brewing. Acid malt added to lower my pH into a more optimal range. Should be at 5.5pH.  Added 4 grams of gypsum and CaCl to the mash to up my calcium levels. Chilled and placed into the chest freezer to cold crash overnight.

3/8/14 – Racked to a secondary carboy to get the wort off of the cold break and pitched yeast. 

3/10/14 – First signs of fermentation

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