Blending & Bottling Sour Ale

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Blending & Bottling Sour Ale

Postby highwaytoale » Sat Nov 04, 2017 12:52 pm

Greetings,

I'm hoping you may be able to help with a question on blending sour ale that I can't seem to find much info on. I have a one year old Flanders that I want to blend with a straight kolsch in an attempt to smooth/balance out the extreme sourness of the Flanders. I brewed/bottled this same Flanders in the past and due to the addition on wine must it's really, really sour on it's own. I've been trialing mixing the past Flanders in the glass with various regular ales (brown, pale, kolsch) and have settled on kolsch as the best mix.

Now that I have both ready to blend and bottle I'm second guessing myself. I'm worried that when the bugs from the Flanders are blended with the leftover dextrins in the kolsch that it will result in over carbonation and potentially bottle bombs. Do you have any thoughts on whether or not this may be an issue? I was also going to add priming sugar and use champagne yeast to carbonate due to it's higher acidic tolerance. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Cheers!
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Re: Blending & Bottling Sour Ale

Postby highwaytoale » Sun Jan 28, 2018 3:03 pm

Hi again,

I posted this question a while back and realize it's a difficult one to give advice on because there are many variables, not to mention real danger, and it's also an area of brewing where the true art of the craft shines bright. Believe me when I say I'm far from that sort of crafty artist.

Anyway, I figured I would post a follow up to this letting you know the approach I ended up taking in hope it may help someone else down the line...so here's the logic I followed:

After a year of fermentation the Flanders' final gravity was at 1.006
After a 3 week primary and a 4 week lager the FG of the Kolsch was at 1.011

Blending the two together I assumed that the bugs in the Flanders would go to work on the leftover complex sugars in the Kolsch which would produce some level of carbonation. I also assumed that once the bugs were done with the Kolsch leftovers it would result in a FG of around 1.006 once again.

I kept my blend ratio pretty straightforward since this was my first attempt, it was basically a 50/50 mix of the two. Therefore, I needed to calculate what the average gravity would be once blended. 1.006 + 1.011 = 2.017/2 = 1.009 average

So with a 1.009 average and the assumed future FG of 1.006 that was a difference of 3 gravity points. I again assumed that those 3 gravity points would produce about 0.5 volumes of carbonation per point for a total of 1.5 volumes. I wanted to have around 3 volumes of carbonation total, so I calculated how much priming corn sugar to add to produce an additional 1.5 volumes.

At this point it's been in the bottle for 10 weeks and it has a decent level of carbonation to it, in fact I was hoping for just a slightly higher level, but it could continue to carbonate further as it ages seeing that the bugs work slower than normal. As mentioned below, I also added champagne yeast to help kick start things. Additionally, I used a mix of Belgian style bottles as well as champagne bottles in an effort to avoid bottle bombs due to their thicker glass.

In the end, I'm really happy with the result so far. It's been interesting to see how the two beers have come together into their own thing. As time has gone on it continues to change and that's half the fun of it, the other half of course is in drinking and enjoying it. Anyway, I hope this may help others in the future, as always it's trial and error.

Cheers!
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Re: Blending & Bottling Sour Ale

Postby slothrob » Wed Jan 31, 2018 7:56 am

Thanks for the update! If you ever get a chance to test the FG of the re-fermented blend, I'd be interested to know that, too.
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Re: Blending & Bottling Sour Ale

Postby highwaytoale » Wed Jan 31, 2018 9:45 pm

slothrob,

Hummm... I hadn't thought to do that, nor have a I ever tried to test the gravity of an already carbonated beer. Would I have to leave the sample out until it went flat before testing or something like that? I'm assuming the Co2 bubbles would affect the hydrometer reading....
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Re: Blending & Bottling Sour Ale

Postby slothrob » Fri Feb 16, 2018 8:59 pm

I've heard of people shaking a sample to knock the carbonation out, since the bubbles will form on the hydrometer and affect the apparent gravity. I've never tried it myself, though.
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