Searching for the line between "hobby" and "obsession"

Barrel-aging project sour beer

In a recent post, I discussed how members of the Nordeast Homebrewers Club are doing a sour beer project. Since my schedule will be a bit cramped in the coming weeks with the new baby, work and gigs with my band, I decided to get this brew done ASAP on 3/25 so I could ensure I’m ready to transfer this into the barrel along with everyone else’s beer near the end of April.

Using a batch sparge for only the second time (normally I’ve done fly spargin) and trying my hardest to speed along this pseudo-impromptu brew day, I was able to crank it out start to finish in just 6 hours (7am-1pm) with an extra half hour or more of cleanup later in the afternoon. Normally my brew days run 8 or 9 hours so I was pretty happy with my time here.

The pic to the right shows the high mash temps we’re all employing with this brew in order to leave lots of long-chain unfermentable sugars left over for the bugs to eventually eat in the barrel over the course of the coming year.

Here’s what the grist translated to at the individual recipe level:

NBA Club Sour Beer

Batch size 4.5 gallons
Boil size 7.5 gallons
Boil time 80 minutes
Grain weight 13 pounds
Efficiency 55%
Original gravity 1.053
Final gravity ??
Alcohol (by volume) %
Bitterness (IBU) 27
Color (SRM) 3.2°L
1 liquid pack, 1600 ml starter 17 hrs before pitch
White Labs
Bastogne Belgian Ale
13.5 pounds
    36ppg, 1°L
11 pounds
Red Wheat
    38ppg, 2.5°L
2 pounds
Hops (total)
1.75 ounces
Sterling hops
    6.3%, Pellet
1 ounce
Goldings (Styrian) hops
    5.4%, Pellet
0.75 ounces
60 minutes, 8.8 gallons
Strike & 1st batch sparge
    Target 158°F
5.1 gallons
60 minutes (+0)
2nd batch sparge
    Target 170°F
4.5 gallons
80 minutes, 7.5 gallons
Sterling hops
    6.3%, Pellet
1 ounce
60 minutes (+20)
Goldings (Styrian) hops
    5.4%, Pellet
0.5 ounces
30 minutes (+50)
Goldings (Styrian) hops
    5.4%, Pellet
0.25 ounces
15 minutes (+65)
Irish moss, yeast nutrient 15 and 10 minuets

It was a beautiful day to brew Sunday. 60-something degrees in late March. Can’t ask for much more in Minnesota.

Spilled some grain. Linus was quick to help clean up.

Just after pitch:

Things got a bit explosive at 68*! Only my second blowoff in more than 25 batches (here was the first). Others occurred but I was able to take proactive measures with blowoff tubing to prevent the top actually blowing off the carboy. Also, check out how much the color changed in just under 30 hours post-pitch:

Got the tubing attached here after I arrived home. I don’t think we’re in danger of much infection, as fermentation was still crankin’ out CO2 at this point, pushing potential bugs away from the entrance of the carboy.


One response

  1. Pingback: Washing yeast « Barking Dog Beer

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