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Mike T
06/16/08 11:43 AM  
1.120 Oud Bruin Monster
Yesterday I snuck in one last brew before the weather gets too hot here in DC. It was a pretty smooth brew day with a couple guys who were interested in learning all-grain, the only hiccup was a painfully slow runoff.

I made a high-gravity wild brew, in the general style of an Oud Bruin. It was my biggest beer to date, 1.120 (Pils, Munich, Maris Otter, Cara Vienna/Munich, Flaked Corn, D2 syrup), mashed at 152, 135 minute boil, 25 IBUs of Galena at 90. Pitched onto a cake from a Flanders Red (US-05 and Lost Abbey Red Poppy dregs) last night and it was off and running by this morning.

I figure Iíll give it 3 weeks in primary before racking to secondary to sour for 12-18 months.

Is there anything I should do to help the bacteria get some souring done before the alcohol kills them? With such a big beer I am trying to keep it cold (ambient 60) to avoid fusels alcohol, but will that retard the bacteria too much? I donít want a super sour beer, just some acidity to help offset the sweetness.

Any fermentation/aging tips and tricks for big sour beers would be appreciated. I figure I can always blend in a bit of lower gravity sour beer if need be down the road.

06/16/08 07:33 PM  
Re: 1.120 Oud Bruin Monster
Mike, as I'm sure you've already read - I tried one of these last year, and while it didn't ferment out all the way it was actually perfect beer for blending - i blended with an RIS for a "flemish imperial stout", and young red which now has some good body and sourness to it. It got quite tart, another reason why it was good for blending into the things that went nicley with a twang. I threw everything I could at that beer - started it off with the WL SHG and sour blend, then added dregs of numerous things over time from fantome to cantillon and innoculated oak chips from another lambic. I Just let that go at ambient temps in an upstairs closet which gets up into the 80's and 90's in the summer, and down to around 60 or so in the winter.

I also just bottled my "lacto and pedio imperial red" which was made under different conditions - That was a high grav bruine/red type recipe, with rose hips, and fermented with a neutral sacch strain, with lacto and pedio in the primary. brewed in the winter this never hit high temps....same closet as the other. After nothing happened in a couple of months as far as acidity, I added cultured up fantome dregs (which I've had success with before in other things), and soon a nice pellicle formed. 6 months later I tried it and the gravity hadn't dropped much, it was tasting very nice. Fruity and funky brett, with mild acidity - a little on the low end of the balance but still very nice and complex. Bottled it up and pellicles have formed, but tasted one, and phew - what a beer. Souring up a little more and really complex. I'm not worried about over carbing, the Fantome bugs seem to quit after enough pressure builds. (A beer from last summer made with similar methods has not experienced any over carbing at all in the past year).

Finally I brewed another one, a big red with a less extreme OG of 1.090 compared to the first from last summer which came to 1.13. Primaried with roselare and WL sour blend at 80+ degrees the grav has dropped to around 1.02 or something. It'll sit in the upstairs closet to sour up in the heat over the summer and dry out further, maybe check on it in december. And, I aerated the hell out of this beer, and am leaving it in plastic so the bretts can get plenty of 02 over time.

I'm not sure how much you have to worry about fusels from high temps as the brett and bugs (acetobacter if you let it grow) will mellow those out. That was a big problem with the second beer after primary - very hot, but it is no longer hot after the fantome bugs went to work. Also roselare and the other belnds contain a sacch and people still seem to get good results with higher temps. But that's just a hypothesis.

So, there's my past years' worth of experience in a nut shell :)

06/16/08 09:17 PM  
Re: 1.120 Oud Bruin Monster
Oud Bruin Monster is right! I applaud your willingness to take this to the edges. My opinion is that the bugs won't get killed off in such a big beer, but that it will take plenty of time for them to do their work, which it sounds like you have prepared for. Like BPotts, I also don't think you need to keep this one so cool, as the heat of the summer may help things along and provide some flavors and aromatics that cooler temps might inhibit.

Because of your high gravity, I alo think that you will not end up with a beer that is too sour as the residual sugars will inevitably balance things out. I'm thinking here of the beautiful balance in Cuvee de Tomme. That beer, as you may know, is sour but coupled with a wonderful base of malt in both flavor and aroma. The obvious label is "complex."

My sour triple, while sour, still has plenty of "Belgian-like" flavor charateristics that were not wiped out by Vinnie's bugs or brett l (at least not yet), and this is a beer that approaches 11%. My other sours that push the envelope (1.080+) are just to young to lend any extra info except that they are "working" (i.e. have pellicles and are behaving like my smaller sours have).

While I'd like to be more definitive in my predictions, the simple answer is that I don't know what may go in such a big beer, but that is what I like about such ventures as you've embarked on. Please keep us up to date when you get to wherever you are going with this one. I have a feeling that when you look backward several of us will be right behind.

Mike T
06/17/08 08:29 AM  
Re: 1.120 Oud Bruin Monster
Thanks for the insight guys.

Iíll be less concerned with the temp after primary is finished, with a beer that may be pushing 13% by the time itís done I donít want to take any risks on the primary fermentation. I may bump the temp up after a week of fermentation. Iíll see how this initial batch of microbes does, the Fantome dregs seem to be some of the most tolerant souring bugs around, I may add some in a few months if I donít see much action.

I have two bottles of Cuvee Tomme sitting in my fridge, canít wait to pop one open. I brewed something inspired by it a couple years back, and have wanted to try it ever since. I have done a few high gravity (1.080-1.100) beers with Brett, but this is my first time using other bugs in something over ~1.065.

Iíll certainly keep everyone in the loop on this one. The Flanders Red that built the cake for this one already had a nice tart twang after just a month in primary. The gravity was a bit low so I stole a few cups of wort from the big one to feed to the small one, just to make sure the bugs had a nice meal.

06/17/08 12:13 PM  
Re: 1.120 Oud Bruin Monster
ahhhhhh.... Cuvee de Tomme.....that's one of the ones that got me going on this crazy trail of experimentation as well. Was able to get it on draught once, and another time had a vintage bottle, both at Monk's. What an enlightening experience... The other two beers I first tried in the same year were Abbaye de St. Bon Chien 2005(?) (a barrel aged bretty "bier de garde", 15% abv!) and the oerbier reserva (oak aged and 13% abv). After trying those three beers I realised there is so much more to brewing with bretts than just lambics and flemish ales. They really opend my eyes to the possibilities. All three of those beers are so smooth and easy drinking despite their high ABV's, and the flavors are out of this world. There's really nothing like them. Which is why I set out to create my own! Good luck, Mike - can't wait to hear how yours goes.

Mike T
06/17/08 12:32 PM  
Re: 1.120 Oud Bruin Monster
Bon Chien 2005 (I need to find and try to 2006 version) and the Oerbier Reserva 2006 were two of the three beers that inspired this batch (the third was Old Dominion Millennium that had been aged in barrels with Brett A for 18 months). If I end up with a beer 75% as good as any of those three I will be very pleased.

I am contemplating adding some oak cubes Iíve had soaking in cognac for a few months to this one once it makes it into secondary.

06/17/08 01:59 PM  
Re: 1.120 Oud Bruin Monster
That sounds like a nice plan....I added a little bit of the oak to the first beer but they had already been soaking in the lambic type thing for long time and much of their flavor was leeched out. No oak in the second, which makes it more bruine like than red, and for the third one that I started about a month ago I tried for the first time oak chips in the primary, I think three ounces or so, to assist the bretts/bugs in their growth.
Mike T
06/25/08 09:04 AM  
Re: 1.120 Oud Bruin Monster
The board is pretty quiet, so I figured Iíd post an update on this one.

Took a gravity reading a few days ago and itís ďonlyĒ down to 1.060 (~50% AA, 7.5% ABV), but still has a nice thick krausen. I boosted the temp to 65 and added the dregs from a bottle of Beatification Batch 002 (bracingly sour with an interesting grapefruit character, but not as good as the first batch). Hoping it makes it down to below 1.040 in primary, I am hoping for the low 1.020s after aging.

Mike T
07/08/08 04:21 PM  
Re: 1.120 Oud Bruin Monster
It made it all the way down to 1.040 (66% AA, 10.5% ABV)after 18 days in primary, it seemed to be done fermenting so I racked it to secondary (3 gallon glass). After 24 hours it was putting up a small krausen again, guess the US-05 is still finishing up.

The flavor is less than stellar, pretty green with some old fashion roughness, I won't be drinking it for awhile though so I'm not too worried.

I'm going to try to ignore the carboy until early 2009 at the earliest (I may hold off until early 2010 to bottle).

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