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Acid Beer (for blending)
  • morsmors
    Posts: 231
    Sorry it's been so long since I posted about making the acid beer. Finally getting around to doing a write up on it. Acid beer is simply a lactic beer that can have some brett in it if you desire. It's used to spruce up fruit beers, make beers tart, make beers sour, take a sour beer and add a bit more acidity and complexity. The lactic acid is created by lactobacillus rather than pedio because lactobacillus works so much quicker and doesn't ever get into a state of 'ropey-ness'.

    To make a acid beer create some wort ~1.020-1.040 in strength. Pasteurize the wort (either by bringing the wort up to ~160F or boiling - Depending on flavor of wort you prefer). Don't add any hops. Different strains of lacto have different optimal fermentation temps.. so pitch the lacto and maintain whatever temp is best suited for your strain. (some good info can be found on the Milk the Funk wiki.) If you're not using a cultured strain of lactobacillus (ie lacto from grain husks etc...) drop the pH to < 4.5 prior to adding your wild yeasts. This lower pH will help prevent other things from thriving in your wort while the lacto will be unaffected. If adding brett add it after the lacto has had time to get the wort as sour as possible. Once the lacto/brett have done their thing it's best to put the acid beer into a vessel where it will not have much/any air contact. A keg is ideal for this.

    When you need to add some tartness to a beer you have a couple options. You can blend the acid beer with your other beer and then keep the resulting beer cold and serve... or you can pull the acid beer and pasteurize (so it doesn't start fermenting again in your blend). After you pull some of the acid beer just take some second runnings from your next batch of beer and add it to the acid beer keg. Keeps the lacto and brett active and replenishes your acid beer in just a matter of days.

    Below is the pH reading from my acid beer I made a couple weeks ago.
    11796304_10207358476629466_4952931534582033318_n.jpg
    528 x 960 - 58K

    JerryceanntC_B
    BJCP A0936 National Beer Judge and Mead Judge
    Cicerone Certified Beer Server
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    Sons of Liberty Homebrew Club
    HBT "mors"
  • CurlyFatCurlyFat
    Posts: 59,793
    Thank you! This is probably the best content added to this site in about 5 years. I'm intrigued, and may try this.

    "Balls."
    - Thym's 100,000th post

  • jeepinjeepinjeepinjeepin
    Posts: 16,736
    2.84?!? What strains do you have there? Would you like to send me a culture?
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  • jeepinjeepinjeepinjeepin
    Posts: 16,736
    I've been listening to a lot of The Brewing Network's Sour Hour lately. I think it was the brewer at Cantillion that really praised Pedio, in the presence of other LAB and Brett, saying it added a roundness/complexity/mouthfeel. That is of course for a straight Lambic or Geuze and is a little different than an acid beer for brightening up via blending. What say ye?
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  • ceanntceannt
    Posts: 47,711
    Very nice write up! Thanks Mors
    In wine there is wisdom.
    In beer there is freedom.
    In water there is bacteria.
  • morsmors
    Posts: 231

    2.84?!? What strains do you have there? Would you like to send me a culture?


    This was the Omega Yeast OYL-605. It works well at room temps and is very quick to drop the pH.
    EDIT: Oops. I forgot the Brett... I used WLP645 and WLP653... Both vials were over a year old... I just pitched them directly - no starters... I mostly just wanted to get rid of the vials lol.

    I've been listening to a lot of The Brewing Network's Sour Hour lately. I think it was the brewer at Cantillion that really praised Pedio, in the presence of other LAB and Brett, saying it added a roundness/complexity/mouthfeel. That is of course for a straight Lambic or Geuze and is a little different than an acid beer for brightening up via blending. What say ye?


    For sure when you want complexity you will want to use pedio. Pedio is very slow though and goes through stages of ropiness where the beer will have the consistency of snot (This is the main reason to keep it out of the acid beer - You want to be able to blend and immediately have your beer ready). The reason the traditional lambic brewers use lots of aged hops is because most lactobacillus strains are halted by hops. If they didn't use all those hops the lactobacillus would quickly sour the wort and inhibit the actual brewers yeast. It would also produce a less complex beer (more like a berliner weisse) One other thing to look out for with pedio is it produces a lot of diacetyl.

    But yes, for any of the lambics, geuze, flanders red/brown you really need to use pedio and go that year or two of aging. There really is no substitute... Though even they after they are done aging may benefit from a bit of the acid beer addition (always blend in smaller scalable sizes).
    BJCP A0936 National Beer Judge and Mead Judge
    Cicerone Certified Beer Server
    AHA Member
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    Sons of Liberty Homebrew Club
    HBT "mors"
  • morsmors
    Posts: 231
    I should add... The acid beer is really only a component of another beer... On it's own it's not particularly good tasting. Far too acidic. But if the acid beer develops flavors that you don't like... Like acetic acid (vinegar) then you'll have to get rid of it and start over. The basic flavors of the acid beer must still be good or you're just adding badness to your beers lol.
    BJCP A0936 National Beer Judge and Mead Judge
    Cicerone Certified Beer Server
    AHA Member
    CRAFT Homebrew Club
    Sons of Liberty Homebrew Club
    HBT "mors"
  • FuzzyFuzzy
    Posts: 46,207
    I did this on accident once. I had a beer that had gotten some lacto in it somehow, but i figured why not keg it up and see what happens? It was pretty blech on it's own, but when I added about an inch or so to a pint of pretty much any 'normal' beer the result was pretty fantastic.

    My first intentional try at recreating a sour base for blending didn't turn out quite as nice. It was bright and sour on it's own, but didn't have enough punch once it was blended into 5 gallons of wit. Next time, I think i'll just go for a full 5 gallons and keep it in a keg.
    "Oh, you were serious? I was drunk."-C_B
  • ThymThym
    Posts: 101,453
    Great writeup mors, thanks. I would love to give this a try. Ive always wanted to punch up my wit bier with acidity. I had considered other approaches to accomplish that, but this sounds far more controlled and repeatable.
    The only thing between me and a train wreck is blind luck..... - Kenny