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Sour beers have been around since the beginning of beer brewing, thousands of years ago. This is because sour beer is made by naturally occurring organisms which are quite prevalent in nature. In the absence of hops (which prevent the growth of many souring bacteria) beer can naturally turn sour. However, there are ways to intentionally create sour beer, and that's what we'll demonstrate here.
This sour beer recipe is actually for "heavily fruited sour" style that features raspberry and blackberry fruit which is added before AND after fermentation. Making the beer this way willl really bring the fruit character to the forefront. However, it comes with a risk. The second charge of fruit will be unfermented and it needs to stay that way. In other words, this beer must remain refrigerated until it is drank to avoid secondary fermentation and potential over-pressurization of its packaging.
The base for this fruited sour was originally a black lager that' was super roasty but was also super light in body. We achieved this vibe by using an absurd amount of black patent malt and a ton of black rice. This is a recipe for a 10 gallon batch of beer and it's tailored for our 20 gallon 240 volt brewing system. Here's the full recipe
How to Make Sour Beer
Sour Beer Ingredients
- 15.24 gallons of city water treated with one campden tablet
- 12 pounds of 2 row pilsner malt
- 7 pounds of black rice
- 3 pounds of vienna malt
- 2 pounds of black patent malt
- 1 pound of crystal 60 malt
- 3 ounces of Rakau hops
- 2 packages of Saflager 34/70 yeast
Sour Beer Mash Steps
- Fill the kettle with 5 gallons of water and add the rice.
- Boil for 60 minutes or until rice is fully cooked.
- Once rice is cooked, add 3 gallons of water and heat (or cool) to 158F.
- Add the remainder of the grains (make sure to finely crush) and mash at 158F for 60 minutes.
- Elevate grains and allow to drain for 10 minutes.
- Toss grains in a compost bin.
Kettle Souring Steps
- Drop pH to 4.3 using lactic acid.
- Chill the wort to to about 100F.
- Add lactobacillus bacteria.
- Cover and leave sit until pH drops to 3.5 or until desired level of sourness has been achieved.
Sour Beer Brewing Steps
- Heat kettle to a boil.
- Once boiling, add 1 ounce of Rakau hops and set a timer for 60 minutes.
- Once the timer expires, cut the heat and add the remainder (2 ounces) of Rakau hops.
Sour Beer Fermentation Steps
- Chill wort to 70F,
- Transfer to a sanitized fermenter.
- Pitch 2 packages of Saflager 34/70.
- Add 4 lbs of fruit raspberry fruit puree
- Pressure ferment at 10psi at room temperature for 14 days
- Cold crashing at 33F for 3 days
- Transfer to keg, carbonate, and serve at 40F.
Heavily Fruited Sour Steps
Stopping at the last step will make for a mighty fine beer. However, if you wish to pus the limits and veer into "heavily fruited" territory, then follow these additional steps:
- After fermentation is finished, add 4lbs of raspberry or blackberry fruit puree
- KEEP COLD (38F) from here on out so fermentation does not begin again