Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Scrappy Hound House Quick Sour #1

Next up in my ‘house beer’ quest is a sour and I’ve  just finished finalizing the recipe/process and ordering the grain for a 3 gallon batch of Berliner.  When I say Berliner, I mean a low ABV pretty aggressively tart beer that I can then do treatments on if I want (passionfruit, gose, blackberry?).  I’ve riffed this recipe many times before and the only difference this time will be the inclusion of a commercial lacto culture.  My reasoning in choosing Omega’s brand is because I’ve heard it sours quickly and cleanly and hopefully will mean more reproducible products in the future.

The plan for this beer will be to sour wort.  I’ll mash and sparge as usual, then let the beer come down to 120F and pitch a 2L starter of Omega Lacto blend into the kettle, seal with saran and put the lid on.  I’ll keep it warm with a heating pad.  I’ll take samples 2x daily until the sourness is at a level I like then boil 15 minutes, cool and pitch the yeast.

Scrappy Hound Berliner #1

3 gallons
80% efficiency

2.5 lb German Pils (56%)
2 lb White Wheat (44%)

0.25 oz Tettnang (15 min)

Sour the wort with Omega Lacto blend.  Ferment with Wyeast 1056 @ 62F ambient.  Mash at 148F for 60 min.

OG 1.045 | FG 1.010 | ABV 4.6% | IBU 4

Ca 45 | Mg 1 | Na 0 | Cl 64 | SO4 0 | HCO3 35 | Mash pH 5.32

1/15/15: Mashed and sparged.  Preboil OG 1.042.  Brought it down to 110F and pitched a 1L starter of the Omega Lacto blend that had been going for 24 hours.  Covered the top of the wort with saran wrap, put the lid on the kettle and put a blanket around it.
1/16/15: Beer was down to 83F.  Put a heating pad on low inside the towel.

1/17/15: Boiled for 15 mins to kill lacto.  Added a few hop pellets.  Pitched starter of Wyeast 1056.
1/25/15: Split the batch 3 ways.  Added 24 oz raspberries and ~1 c cold steeped midnight wheat for dark raspberry berliner.  Added passionfruit puree for passionfruit berliner to another ~1 gallon.  Boiled 4.38 g crushed coriander and 5.16 g sea salt, cooled and added to another gallon.


  1. I was really impressed with the technique you came up with for doing a quick sour. I started something similar but unfortunately forgot to get an OG before pitching the lactos. Couple of questions. Did you find a drop in OG from pre lactos pitch to reboiling the wort to add in your yeast? Also wouldn’t your saran wrap trap in carbon dioxide as the lactos worked? Just trying to understanding your thought process other than keeping everything sanitized. I am also wondering if you’ve thought of letting the lactos go (no reboil) and let the yeast out compete the lactos and letting the brew come to maturity – my thought process here is not lose the alcohol content created by the lactos in the first 24 – 72 hours by reboiling. Thanks for the ideas and insight. Cheers!


    1. Kevin,

      With the pure culture from Omega Labs, there was no drop in OG. I did see a drop when I used grain to sour in the past. The Saran Wrap isn't a perfect seal and still lets gas flow. I use it to try to keep O2 out but I suspect it doesn't do a 100% perfect job. As far as why I don't keep the lacto going is because with using this method I can keep my equipment clean and don't have to have separate sour equipment. Simple as that!