Apr 19, 2014

Brewday: Fine Detail Table Sour

I was planning on brewing a Christmas Ale with Luke today but my memory betrayed me and I completely forgot about growing up some yeast for the beer. I'm secretly happy about that though because I've been wanting to brew some sours for a while and this gave me the perfect opening. I originally started this blog thinking that brewing sours would be a significant part of it but along the way I got distracted by all the shiny pale ales and IPAs and all kinds of other things. Anyway, I'm back on case and hopefully I'll manage to brew new ones regularly so I can keep up a good supply.

The most excited I've been about one of my beers was a sour I brewed back in 2012 and bottled sometime last year. I dry hopped 1/2 of the batch with some Simcoe. The result was brightly sour and fruity with a funk that gave it a real twist. That first bottle absolutely did my head in, I remember just sitting there and smelling it for ages. Although it was 6.8% ABV, the alcohol was completely hidden which made it dangerous to drink and a bit much for my preferences. For this one I'm shooting for something in a similar style but a bit lower in alcohol.

It's a simple recipe, just pils malt, wheat malt and a small dose of hops. The idea of the grist is really to provide a home for the yeast and bacteria rather than contribute a huge amount of flavour. I'm hoping it'll have a nice bright sourness like the last batch but with something like 3.5% ABV to keep it a bit lighter. I'm planning on letting it develop in the fermenter and then probably dry hopping most of it with some Galaxy for that passionfruit and citrus character to go with the bright acidity.

Luke came around anyway and helped me with the brew. It was all nice and easy with the smaller batch but I didn't take into account how much more vigorous the boil would be with the lower volume of wort. That meant that I had way more evaporation than I expected and coupled with higher than expected efficiency (86%!) meant that I've got 10 litres of wort at 1.040. I'm thinking I might top off the fermenter after fermentation has died down. That should take it to 1.035.

We also bottled the Tmavý Ležák after a month spent lagering. It's black with brilliant red highlights and seems to be lovely and clear. The flavour is crisp and loaded with cocoa and complex malt. I'm looking forward to giving it a try.

In its cupboard home for the next
8-14 months
Fine Detail Table Sour (10L batch)
OG: 1.030 (1.040 measured)
FG: 1.005
IBU: 6
EBC: 4
ABV: 3.3%

91% Dingemans pilsner malt
9% Best Malz wheat malt

1g/L Saaz @ 60 minutes
3g/L Galaxy @ dry hop

WLP530 + dregs from a previous sour + bottle dregs

  • Stepped mash: 65C (45 minutes), 72C (15 minutes) and a 78C mash out
  • Lactic acid for mash pH
  • Calcium

  • 90 minute boil
  • 10g Saaz @ 60 min
  • 1/2 tab whirlfloc @ 10 min

  • Pitched an estimated 85 billion cells of WLP530, dregs of a previous sour and dregs of a bottle of Boon Oude Geuze.
  • Fermentation is just going to happen at ambient temperatures, in Hobart at the moment we're looking at 17-18C as the daily maximum over the next week or so.
  • It'll sit in my cupboard for around 6 months before I give it a taste and see where it's at. Once it's ready to bottle, I'll dry hop 5 days.

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