I've wanted to get into brewing sours for a long time now but haven't been able to talk myself into it because I've always been 1 year within moving. I'll finally be moving somewhere somewhat permanent in 6 months, but until then, I still have the sour bug eating away at me.
Roselare or other commercial bug blends take a long time to get a delicious, sour beer but I just don't have that much time. What I do have is the experience of souring with lacto, and a lot of sour beers with dregs in them. My plan then is a combination of these techniques. I'm going to brew up a brown-ish ale base, sour it with lacto from grain, ferment with dry ale yeast and some dregs, then add dregs for the next 5 months until I move and bottle it up then.
2.5 lb Munich 10L
2.5 lb Pilsner
2.5 lb Vienna
0.5 lb CaraAroma
0.5 lb C60
0.5 lb Wheat
1.5 oz Hallertauer (15 min)
Mash at 156F for 60 min. Save a handful of grain to pitch post mash at 110F and sour for 2-3 days. After souring is complete, bring to a boil for 15 mins to kill the lacto, get some IBUs from the hops and add DME to increase the OG if needed (when lacto sours, it lowers the gravity but doesn't necessarily add to ABV). Then I'm going to cool and pitch a pack of dry US-05 and some bottle dregs (most likely from Sierra Nevada/Russian River BRUX and a Russian River sour or Jolly Pumpkin sour). Then over the course of the next few months, anytime I drink a beer with bug dregs in it, I'll pitch it also.
My goal for this beer is to end up with a nicely sour beer that isn't as one-dimensional as the berliners I make (not that that's bad, just different).
8/12/13: Brewday. Actual OG 1.071. More boil off then expected. Fermented in a swamp cooler. Pitched rehydrated yeast, lacto grain starter, BRUX dregs, Monk's Cafe Flemish Red and Petrus Oud Bruin dregs.
8/17/13: Pitched Boulevard's Saison Brett dregs, pellicle forming.
8/21/13: Pitched Jolly Pumpkin Oro de Calabeza for the last of my dregs. Some light spotty pellicle forming. Will re-visit in 3 months.
9/23/13: Huge white, powerdy pellicle formed. Gravity sample read 1.011. Tasted of a flemish red/oud bruin with some nice lingering sourness.
1/5/13: Tested gravity, 1.011. Despite what I have read about not bottling with this high of a gravity, I'm looking to bottle soon due to time constraints.