Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Invocation #2, American Sour Ale

From the mash looking into the boil kettle

I brewed my first sour in May of 2010, it was a Brown Ale. Nothing fancy, but a solid brew that I was proud of, for some reason I brewed the same recipe twice.  Leaving me with way to much beer to handle of the same style.  I had a couple of bucks laying around, so I ordered a plastic carboy from MoreBeer for some Brett/Sour trials. I then racked the beer into the carboy and a passion was born.

A couple years later, I have a one dedicated sour tap out of the four pouring at the house.  Oh and that first sour brown ale?  I still have it in bottles, it never carbonated correctly.  I really should dump it but I have an attachment to it I can't explain.

I brewed a Sour American Ale last year that is currently on tap at the house, a Russian River-ish beer based loosely on their Supplication sour ale.  (My Tasting Session notes) I think the beer turned out great.  So with a couple minor changes, it was time to fire up the brew kettle and do it again.  I have made a promise to myself to keep a sour beer on draft at all times, while hard it do, I think it is possible. 

For the recipe changes, I wanted to add some Acidulated Malt (Acid Malt).  I've had some good results over the past couple Brett Saison's with this addition.  Effectively lowering the PH of the mash.  (Now without a PH meter I can't be sure, but that is what the malt is advertised for doing.)

In the secondary, I am going to add a vile of Brett-C like before and some dreg's from Russian River's Supplication.  The first version of this beer fermented really quickly, at about 7 months which was faster than I expected.  By brewing this last weekend it should be ready mid August.  Which is about the time that I really need a sour to sip after work. 

Invocation #2
American Sour Ale
Type: All Grain Date: 1/13/2013
Batch Size (fermenter): 6.00 gal Brewer: Chris Lewis
Boil Size: 6.86 gal Asst Brewer:
Boil Time: 60 min Equipment: Lewys Tower
End of Boil Volume 6.24 gal Brewhouse Efficiency: 72.00 %
Final Bottling Volume: 6.00 gal Est Mash Efficiency 72.0 %
Fermentation: Ale, Two Stage Taste Rating(out of 50):TBA
Taste Notes:
Amt Name Type # %/IBU
9 lbs Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM) Grain 1 70.3 %
2 lbs Victory Malt (25.0 SRM) Grain 2 15.6 %
1 lbs 3.2 oz Caramel/Crystal Malt - 40L (40.0 SRM) Grain 3 9.4 %
8.0 oz Acid Malt (3.0 SRM) Grain 4 3.9 %
1.6 oz Carafa II (412.0 SRM) Grain 5 0.8 %
0.80 oz Northern Brewer [8.50 %] - Boil 60.0 min Hop 6 22.0 IBUs
1.0 pkg Abbey Ale (White Labs #WLP530) [35.49 ml] Yeast 7 -
1.0 pkg Dreg: Supplication (Russian River Yeast #Dreg-Supplication) Yeast 8 -
1.0 pkg Brettanomyces Claussenii (White Labs #WLP645) [50.28 ml] [Add to Secondary] Yeast 9 -
1.20 Items Honey Comb, Red Oak (Secondary 60.0 days) Flavor 10 -
Beer Profile
Est Original Gravity: 1.054 SG Measured Original Gravity: 1.064 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.013 SG Measured Final Gravity: TBA SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 5.4 % Actual Alcohol by Vol: TBA %
Bitterness: 22.0 IBUs Calories: TBA kcal/12oz
Est Color: 14.1 SRM
Mash Profile
Mash Name: Single Infusion, Full Body, Batch Sparge Total Grain Weight: 12 lbs 12.8 oz
Sparge Water: 4.39 gal Grain Temperature: 72.0 F
Sparge Temperature: 168.0 F Tun Temperature: 72.0 F
Adjust Temp for Equipment: FALSE Mash PH: 5.20
Mash Steps
Name Description Step Temperature Step Time
Mash In Add 16.00 qt of water at 168.2 F 156.0 F 45 min
Sparge Step: Batch sparge with 2 steps (0.97gal, 3.43gal) of 168.0 F water
Mash Notes: Simple single infusion mash for use with most modern well modified grains (about 95% of the time).
Carbonation and Storage
Carbonation Type: Keg Volumes of CO2: 2.3
Pressure/Weight: 10.59 PSI Carbonation Used: Keg with 10.59 PSI
Keg/Bottling Temperature: 41.0 F Age for: 0.00 days
Fermentation: Ale, Two Stage Storage Temperature: 65.0 F
Fermentation Notes
Primary Fermentation:  Pitching at 63, holding for 5 days.  Letting free rise to 68-ish.  Sitting for 2 weeks total

Secondary FermentationRacking into a Sour Carboy with the Brett, Pedio and Lactro for 8 months.


  1. Do you currently do any water adjustment? I like using the EZWater Calc and it has a convenient spot to add in acid malt to see the impact it should have on your mash pH.

    Also I think it is great that you try to have a sour on draft at all time. I think I'm shooting for the opposite with the keezer I'm about to build. I should have 4 taps outside, 1 secret one inside (in a 2.5 gal keg for special stuff) and my goal is to try to have one clean beer on tap at all times.

    Your recipe sounds great, the one thing that I would consider after I have been trying to perfect my Flanders Red is to use Vienna or Munich as my base malt. I find the richer malt flavor helps to balance the sour or funky flavors.

    1. Jeffery, Right now I've never messed with the water (besides adding gypsum for IPA's) I might have to look at the EZWater for that calculator.

      4 taps of sour? That is very impressive.

      As for the recipe, it started as Vinnie's clone recipe. He talked about it via a couple of e-mails via homebrew talk. I really do like the Munich and Vienna on my flanders red batches I've been doing. They seem to balance the beer out.

      For this beer I wanted to stay true to the recipe as much as possible. The hardest part is getting the yeast pitch the same as last time. Considering it is a dreg pitch of yeast, I am always concerned about duplicating the prior recipe.

    2. The EZWater Calculater is very user friendly, let me know if you want any help with it.

      Well, the 4 taps won't necessarily be sour but they won't be clean. Most of my Saisons which will be on tap most of the time have Brett in them. I'll probably only have 1 truly sour beer at a time.

      Yeah, I understand trying to duplicate it. I wonder if he had his choice without having to think about cost/convenience if he would use something other than 2-row. And good luck trying to duplicate a sour beer, the only way the big boys do it is with blending and still those aren't totally similar. It will be a good experiment for sure.

    3. Thanks for the offer. Brewing water is next on my learning list for 2013.

      The Invocation Batch #1 is very close, not perfect but I think it ended up as a great beer. Very drinkable, kind of an entry sour ale. I would really like to know what goes into a brewers head while creating these sour beer recipes. I would keep it as simple as possible personally.

      As for duplicating the beer, I have low expectations on "Cloning" this beer again. As the recipe is I think its a solid attempt at getting close to the original Supplication. What Vinnie does at Russian River is amazing, a single sour batch can not expect to recreate that magic, but its fun to try.


Thanks for Commenting, Prost!