Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Bière de Coupage - Beer for Cutting - Acid Beer

This is a beer that takes a lot of inspiration from Council Brewing Company's Beatitude Tart Saison and all the kettle sour/pre soured beers that folks post about on the Milk the Funk Facebook page.  I've only tried this a few times.  The first attempt came out ok, but not very tart or sour.  The second one was a no boil that smelled terrible and was dumped.  Maybe I'll have some better luck with this process.

Basically the purpose of this beer is to create an acid beer that I can repitch the yeast cake for more fast souring beers if needed.  This will create an acid beer for blending into my Saisons at various levels to achieve different beers.  I'm pulling a ton of inspiration from Jeff Crane's (of Council Brewing) presentation you can find here.  You do have to be a member of the NHC to hear the presentation but, there is lots of great info there.  Just click on the 2015 tab and go to the How to Brew, Blend, and Maintain an Acid Beer presentation.

Recipe:  Sour for Blending
Brewer:  Gus
Batch:  11
Date:  3-25-16

Batch Size:  6.5 gal
Boil Size:  6.88 gal (actually closer to 7 gals and Pre Boil OG of 1.042)
Post Boil Volume:  6.76 gal
Estimated OG:  1.042
Actual OG:  1.044
Estimated Color:  3.0 SRM
Estimated IBU:  Less than 3.0 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency:  70.00%
Est Mash Efficiency:  70.00 %
Boil Time:  5 Minutes

85.7%  Pilsner Malt (Avangard Malz)
9.5% Raw Wheat
4.8% Flaked Oats

Less than 3 IBUs of EKG at 5 min

GigaYeast Fast Souring Lacto GB110, Swanson's L. Plantarum, and Wyeast 3711 French Saison

Milled all the grain, including the flaked oats.

Super simple and quick brew day.  Mashing was the longest portion at 60 min at 150F for this beer.  I sparged and got approximately 6.95 gallons of wort at 1.042 gravity.  Looking like my efficiency is around 75% after using the equipment profile I built in BeerSmith.  I'm pretty sure that's what has been throwing my numbers off in the past brews.

I'm using 3711 for a quick and highly attenuated beer and the Plantarum and
and GigaYeast cultures to hopefully develop a clean sourness.

Short boil of 5 minutes just to pasteurize the wort and make sure nothing funky survived from the grain in the mash.  I added in enough EKG to get approximately 2.6 IBUs in the short boil.  I then removed the hop spider as soon as the boil was over to not get any more IBUs from the short whirlpool.  After about 10 minutes, I ran the wort through my plate chiller into the fermentor rather quickly to have the wort at 80F when it was all done.  I then pitched 5 capsules of the Swanson's L. Plantarum, the Fast Souring Lacto from GigaYeast and the Smack Pack of 3711.

Terrible picture but gravity of 1.044 after the 5 minute boil.

I'm leaving this beer in my kitchen at room temperature to take advantage of the Plantarum's effectiveness at room temperature.  Low IBUs, good pitch of Lactobacillus, and a good temperature are key to produce a clean lactic tartness.  Hopefully I have achieved that with this brew.  A short time will tell!


3-26-16:  Had to put a blow off tube in as the krausen was pushing through the airlock.  The good news is, it smelled really tart!

3-27-16:  Steady fermentation through the blow off tube.  Temperature ranging from 74-76F

3-29-16:  Fermentation slowed but activity still present with temperature sitting at 78F.  Will take a gravity and pH reading next week.

4-10-16:  Took pH reading and was shocked to see the beer at 4.51 pH.  Maybe I pitched the lacto too cool and the 3711 took off way too fast.  I'm going to let this one sit for a while and see if it drops.  Next time I'll pitch the Lacto first and use even less hops to see what happens.  Theoretically this should be much lower in pH.

Good things!

Andrew "Gus" Addkison
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  1. Any reason why you chose not to pre-sour the wort to pH ~4.5 before pitching lacto and yeast? I've read that this prevents enterobacter and the associated nasty off-flavors that may develop early in the fermentation. I normally pre-sour, and I've never had a lacto batch go bad.

    1. The main reason for not doing it on this batch is that I boiled for 5 min to pasteurize the wort. Anything bad that survived the mash should have been killed by the boil. I've talked to a few others that no longer pre-sour and they have also had good results. Since I pitched a good amount of healthy cultures of both lacto and the yeast, they should have taken over and not allowed anything foul to be take hold. As of now there aren't any off flavors anything like that. This one is almost finished fermenting and I'll be able to sample and take readings soon!


    2. Actually, I think pre-souring is more important when pitching only lacto, because other bugs may out-compete it early on. I normally kettle sour with only lacto, and add sacc after the boil. I think in your case it's not so important to adjust the pH. Sorry for the mixup!

    3. No worries at all! I definitely think you are right about kettle souring. Thanks for reading and commenting!