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08/23/11 08:39 PM  
Sourness mellows?

How are folks feeling about the sourness mellowing over time?

My first barrel was very sharp at first and now seems to be relaxing on the acidity at 12 months in barrel and 8 months in bottle.

Thanks for the input.

Sour be with you,


08/24/11 12:03 PM  
Re: Sourness mellows?
I am not sure about mellowing out more, but mine do seem to become more balanced over time instead of sharply acidic upon packaging. Wonder if it's the brett continuing to change the profile of the beer? Possibly oxidation of some compounds? Good question...
08/24/11 05:40 PM  
Re: Sourness mellows?
The reason I ask is because from what I have heard and read the Lambic beers spend so much time in the barrel and then up to a year in the bottle before release. Seems they know what they are doing, after all, in a few hundred years you tend to learn something.

Balance sounds good. Some of the 20 month old beers are a little sharp for some folks. Although I love them.


08/25/11 12:38 PM  
Re: Sourness mellows?
I would also like to understand this better. When I read about long term aging of commercial sours, most reviewers say they get increasingly sour. But in my limited sour brewing, I have not found this to be the case, the sourness seems to be relatively stable, but the overall complexity improves.

A couple nights ago I did some Flanders Red blending: Carboy 1 - 6 gallons of 1 year old FR.

Carboy 2 - 6 gallons of 50% 2 year, 25% 3 year, and 25% 4 year.

Both have lots of sourness, but the sharp edges have completely dropped off of the older carboy.

As an aside, I blended both carboys 50/50 and did the following:

6 gallons went back into a carboy for blending next year

3 gallons went into a keg

3 gallons got racked onto 6lbs of sour cherries

08/25/11 06:00 PM  
Re: Sourness mellows?
I have experienced the same thing with Jolly Pumpkin dregs. I tasted the beer at 6 months and it had a sharp acidity, but not totally acetic tasting. I then bottled the beer at 9 months and tasted after 3 more months and the acidity is now pretty mild.

Hopefully a organic chemist can chime in. What I believe is happening is that as the beer mellows there is an equilibrium reaction happening with esters, acids and ethanol.

Ex. Acetic acid + ethanol -> ethyl acetate

"Ethyl acetate is synthesized industrially mainly via the classic Fischer esterification reaction of ethanol and acetic acid. This mixture converts to the ester in about 65% yield at room temperature:


Thanks wiki - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethyl_acetate

I remember reading something about this in Wild Brews. I need to do more research so hopefully someone who really knows can correct me or back me up.

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