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PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 6:47 am
by alms66
Ok, cool, thanks.

My main reason for going with spirals instead of cubes is that the 15.5 gallon keg is 35.25 inches tall and I figure I can string together 4 spirals to stand vertically at 32 inches high, so that I can then have full oak contact throughout the entire vertical column of beer as opposed to just a single layer of contact with the beer, using cubes. I've read that it's recommended to roll the keg a bit to mix up the oaked beer at the bottom of the keg with the non-oaked beer at the top of the keg periodically and I didn't want to have to do that with a 15.5 gallon keg, so - my method is brew and forget for a year, no intervention needed. :D

PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 9:01 am
by yeastmeister
If you shake it, you will disturb the process. Bugs form a pellicle on top that actually helps protect the bugs, and helps them regulate their intake of oxygen.

I don't mix up my sour at all. Sour beers are fermenting almost the entire year, so the Brownian motion of the wort will continue to make sure that every drop of sour gets contact with the oak. Effectively with oak, your leaching the flavor compounds out of it using the alcohol in the wort as a solvent. Once its in solution, its easily disbursed evenly throughout the solution.

Good rule of thumb is to forget everything you have read about beer or wine and oak when it comes to a bug brew. Don't roll it, don't shake it, it needs oxygen to go sour, etc.

PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 9:42 am
by alms66
Yeah, that makes a hell of a lot more sense than what I've been reading...

Almost everything I could find said roll the keg though so I came up with that 'string of spirals' idea. I might just go with cubes then, they're cheaper for sure. Though the spiral is still easier to remove being just one piece and they also have more levels of toast than the cubes.

What level of toast do you use in your sours?

PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 10:23 am
by aleguy
OK. According to Wild Brews, the current definitive guide to brewing sour beers in the Belgian style, The oak character is not something you want in a Lambic. Some of the tuns they use to ferment in are older than the brewers. The reason for oak in a Lambic style is to provide a home for the Bretts. Flanders Reds do have oak character, but they are in barrels so long, that most producers want barrels that have been "used up" by the wine industry, so the oak lends very little except color.
As far as toast levels, I would recommend a moderate toast level or lighter.

PostPosted: Tue Dec 28, 2010 8:03 pm
by alms66
Supplies are on their way... :D

PostPosted: Wed Dec 29, 2010 9:12 pm
by jimmiec
Please let me know if you need help filling up the barrel with wort.

6 month mark...

PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2011 4:17 pm
by alms66
Well it's official. It's been approximately 6 months now that my Frankenstein Monster sour beer has been getting it's groove on, so in celebration of the milestone, I decided to pop the lid and see what was inside... :D

First, I was hit by one of the most intense fruit aromas I have ever experienced in a beer - pre-fermentation, during fermentation or post-fermentation - and that includes all the fruit beers I've had over the years! At this point I'm thinking - well that's a good sign.

Then, once I've got the lid out of the way and I can see fully inside, I see the oak spirals are floating on top, there are spotty patches of white growth - I'd have expected a fully formed pellicle by now - at this point I'm thinking, well that might not be good.

So I decided to take a sanitized spoon and sample the Frankenstein Monster... :shock:
Intense sour flavor hit me like a punch in the face! Other than the overwhelming sourness though, it pretty much tasted like a lambic. It seems to basically have the right flavor profile already.

I'm still concerned about the lack of a fully formed pellicle though. Maybe the Bugfarm should go in now rather than later?...


PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2011 9:00 am
by aleguy
Trow in the bug farm if you like. It will probably need another year of aging and oxidizing to fully develop its character. My only thought about adding the bug farm now is that there's probably no food left in the beer for the bugs to eat. so you may just be wasting it.
I say brew another one and pitch the bug far into that. If you brew one every six months or so, then you should have plenty unless you're like me and you start drinking it like lemonade when it gets hot. I would also fish out one of the spirals and pitch it into the fresh batch. Maybe put a fresh one in the original if you want.