Not IPA-series: No. 1 – Sour mash wild proprietary saison

I’ve gotten pretty good at drinking sour beers. Lately I’ve been slacking though. After my trip to Belgium my respect and interest for the gueuze, lambic, framboise and kriek was very intense. But due to the prices and availability in Sweden (compared to Belgium at least) my mouth haven’t been moisten by the tart drink.
One of my spring projects will satisfy this thirst. Since lambic takes a long time to mature I will go another route to get my beer tart and sour.

This is the first post of what I will call Not IPA-series.

I will perform a sour mash and then pitch a sacch.-yeast to ferment it out. To get some more traditional Belgian feel to it all I will let the wort cool outside under the open sky to introduce some of the local bugs.

Step by step:

1.The first step of the mash will be a regular one hour mash in the lower temps to ensure a highly fermentable wort. The grist will consist  (yep!) of mostly pilsner malt with addition of some wheat, malted or unmalted – haven’t decided yet. This is recognized as a lambic malt bill.

2. The souring part of the mash will start after the hour long mash rest is finished and cooled down to a more suitable temperature for the lactobacteria. Unlike yeast the lacto. thrive in higher temperatures up to 50°c. I will use an aquarium heater to hold the temperature at 40°c for 48 hours.
2.1 Adding the bacteria is very simple and consist only of adding unmashed grains to the 40° mash. The grains have lactic bacteria on them and a handful will be sufficent to start the fermentation.
2.2 To acquire the right flavors the environment has to be anaerobic which means that there’s no oxygen in contact with the lacto. The lactic bacteria I’m interested in is the L. Delbcruckii which makes lactic acid (what we want) when working without oxygen. How to create this environment is pretty simple using one of two methods. The first involves only plastic wrap and the second plastic wrap and Co2.
Plastic wrap: Place the plastic wrap firmly on the grain bed and press out any occurring air bubbles.
Co2 and Plastic wrap: Fill the mash kettle (or your vessel of choice) with Co2 and then wrap the plastic around the edges and fixate.

3. Wait 48 to 72 hours. Keep the temperature steady and the environment oxygen free!

4. After your wait is done smell your mash and use this as a referece:

5. Separate your wort form the grains and continue your brew day as usual.

To end things off this time, here’s a picture from Moeder Lambic in Brussels (their smaller location): wpid-IMG_20130627_215625.jpg