Whaaaaaaat?? What is this sorcery? Why? Jason, no, nooooooo. Don’t do it. Don’t, please make a hazy sour IPA. You’ve gone too far. Just put the mash paddle down, and take a step back before someone gets hurt.
But they are my two favorite styles. I must brew it. It has to be done!
There are a few ways to sour a beer quickly. You can use a commercial harvested pitch of lactobacillus, non-fat yogurt, probiotics, and unmilled grain. I have used all these methods to sour beer with, yet my favorite method was using a handful of 2-row. I wanted to try using that again to see if I can get similar, or ideally, the same results. I should mention I used Milk the Funk as the main resource for this. They have wonderful information on things weird and funky.
The 2-row souring method:
Collect the wort from the mash, pasteurize it for 10 minutes at 170F, get the pH to 4.4 (I do this while it’s still around 170F), cool it between 109F and 115F, put a handful of 2-row into a vessel to sour in, put your wort in that vessel filling it to the top, and hold the heat between 109F and 115F for a few days. You can check the pH every day, and it’s not a bad idea as it could hit your desired pH in 24 hours. My desired pH is 3.5. Once the desired pH is reached, you can probably pitch yeast to ferment it and be ok, but it’s a good idea to pasteurize it again by boiling or getting it above 150F for 15 minutes. You can also add hops at that time as well.
The reason to get the wort to 4.4 first and to purge everything with CO2 is to make sure no wild contaminates get in. Using just 2-row will have other stuff on it other than lactobacillus. A lower pH helps prevent that other stuff from contaminating the beer. A lower pH also helps with head retention. Lactobacillus can degrade proteins at a higher pH leading to thinner beers. Some wild contaminates are aerobic (needing oxygen), so by purging with CO2, you are improving the chances of a clean contaminate free beer. These contaminates, if they do get in, can produce off flavors such as butyric acid and isovaleric acid. Butyric acid has a vomit flavor and isovaleric acid has a footy stinky feet aroma. Not what you want in your beer…unless you’re into that kind of thing.
The hazy IPA method:
I have discussed this before, but permanent haze is formed by by polyphenols and proteins. Wheat has a high amount protein, so I am using almost 60% percent of it. To help with boosting the body to match a hazy IPA, I’m also using flaked oats. To further boost the body/mouthfeel, I’m mimicking common hazy IPA water chemistry where the chloride levels are at or a above 100 ppm. I am targeting 115 ppm chloride, and 60 ppm calcium.
Wort needs to be at 5.2 for the proteins to bind and settle out during the boil. A pH above or below that the proteins are resistant to settling out, therefore, boiling a low pH wort that has been pre-acidified does not precipitate out haze-forming proteins. Additionally, some strains of lactic acid bacteria are known to cause haze as a side effect. Perfect.
IBUs and low pH don’t work well, so to combat this, yet retain some of the IPA qualities, I will be doing a low temperature steep. Once the wort is done souring, I will steep the hops at 140F for 15 minutes. This low of a steep will cut down the bitter extraction by a lot. The IBUs in BeerSmith say 65, but I imagine they will be closer to 20.
The yeast I am going to use is the WLP644. This can handle a lower pH, where as some other strains can struggle. A published study showed that growth of US-05 was 82% at a pH of 3.51, and 53% at a pH of 3.17. An ale strain can be used, but I rather use a strain I know can handle it and have used in the past with this method.
Ok, let’s do this.
Batch Size: 1 Gallon
Est ABV: 5.5%-ish
IBU: 60 on BeerSmith, probably 30 though
Full grain profile:
(57%) – German Wheat
(34%) – 2-Row
(9%) – Flaked Oats
60 Min @ 153F
Hop Stand (140F):
.5 oz (“30” IBUs) Lemonaughty (10.5% AA) for 15 Min
.35 oz (“35” IBUs) Stone Fruit (17% AA) for 15 Min
.15 oz Lemonaughty (10.5% AA) 4 days into fermentation
.15 oz Stone Fruit (17% AA) 4 days into fermentation
.15 oz Lemonaughty (10.5% AA) near the end of fermentation
.15 oz Stone Fruit (17% AA) near the end of fermentation
.9 oz 2-row to sour with
WLP644 to ferment with
Added 1 g of calcium chloride to the mash. Collected 1.25 gallons of wort accidentally (over sparged a bit). Gravity was 1.044, going for 1.048. Added 2 milliliters lactic acid to get the pH from 5.7 to 4.5 while it was 170F.
Got the wort down to 100F. Put .9 oz of unmilled 2-row into a jug, purged it with CO2, filled the jug to the top using a sanitized auto siphon, purged again. Set my chest freezer to 112F with a heating pad.
2/26/18: The pH is at 4.1.
2/27/18: pH is a at 3.5. Brought the wort to a boil for 15 minutes to boost the gravity. Brought it down to 140F and steeped the hops for 15 minutes. Cooled to 70F, transferred to a jug, and pitched half a packet of WLP644.
3/3/18: Added .3 oz total of Stone Fruit hops and Lemonaughty.
3/7/28: Added another .3 oz total of Stone Fruit hops and Lemonaughty.
4/1/17 Tasting video: