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09/25/13 12:18 AM  
Body in Brett & Sour Beers
I brewed my first "sour mash" Berliner Weisse last month and I was very happy with my numbers. 1.030 OG, 1.004 FG, Final pH 3.31. The problem is that it's pretty dry, with low body and one dimensional. When I did my sour mash I mashed at 149 for 90 min brought the temp down to 120 added lactic acid to bring the pH down to 4.5, pitched a handful of grains, flooded with CO2 and left it in a cooler for 4 days at 100+ deg. After which I boiled for 15 min, cooled and pitched a vial of lacto & package of US05. I reached the TG in less than 2 weeks. Below was my grain bill. 9 lbs Base Malt - 2 Row Pale 6 lbs Wheat Malt - Red 1.00 oz Amarillo Gold [8.50 %] - Boil 15.0 min 4.1 IBUs 1.0 pkg Safale American (DCL/Fermentis #US-05) 2.0 pkg Lactobacillus Bacteria (White Labs #WLP6) My question is what could/should I do different to give a brett or sour beer more body similar to some of the lambics or american wild ales I can acquire commercially? I have not checked but I imagine that they have a similar final gravity and pH. Some have mentioned spelt or oats. Does anyone have experience with these or other methods?
Mike T
09/25/13 09:17 AM  
Re: Body in Brett & Sour Beers
Most sour beers are going to be on the thin end of the body spectrum, Berliner weisse especially given their low starting gravities. Not many ways to get a really thick sour beer without halting the fermentation, but here are a few things you can do to ensure a reasonable body.

Adding oats, or better yet rye, will contribute beta glucans which can provide a somewhat thicker mouthfeel.

You could make a stronger beer, which will leave some additional carbohydrates behind.

Microbe selection also works. Not sure exactly what lives in our group bourbon barrel, but it produces great strong sours that donít drop below about 1.014.

Tannins help to give texture to the mouthfeel, so oak aging could help.

I find that lower gravity beers tend to benefit from higher carbonation, while high gravity beers benefit from lower carbonation.

Hope that helps, good luck!
09/25/13 10:46 AM  
Re: Body in Brett & Sour Beers
Hi Mike,

The body I would like to shoot for would be similar to Santification. I saw a recipe posted here and it looked pretty basic. Perhaps the body is coming from the wood and alcohol like you mentioned.

The sour mashing setup I have right now is pretty basic. Do you think that the fact that I didn't do a mash-out contributed to a lower body beer?

Thank you very much for your help!

09/28/13 01:21 PM  
Re: Body in Brett & Sour Beers
This may not help your goal of getting more body in sours (Mike seemed to give some good ideas there) but I believe I remember Chad at Crooked Stave saying that Brett doesn't produce as much glycerol as normal brewing yeast. Glycerol gives body in beers even if they have very low FGs. This is why some yeast such as wyeast 3711 can finish super dry without feeling the final beer feeling unreasonably thin.

In regard to Sanctification, this clone recipe (below) suggests that the FG isn't super low. I'm not sure why that is (maybe limited aging/bottling before the final gravity points have been fermented out) but that probably helps the body. I don't think sanctification spends any time in wood, so the tannins may not be a factor here. http://embracethefunk.com/2011/08/02/vinnie-cilurzo-of-russian-river-qa/

It might help to do a mash out. The only times I've sour mashed I raised to 170F as a mash out and then let cool to 120F before putting in raw grain. The combination of a relatively long rest and the enzyme activity as the mash is cooling to 120F may convert more than you're looking for. This figure from How to Brew suggests that amalases aren't active in the range of sour mash temps, so once you're down to lacto temp, continued amalase activity may not be an issue. http://www.howtobrew.com/images/f79.gif
09/29/13 08:35 PM  
Re: Body in Brett & Sour Beers
I believe I herd something regarding Glycerol and body also. I will try to do more research on that. Thank you for the link to the Sanctification recipe.

At this point I will go ahead and brew it and let you know how it turns out. I very much appreciate the helpful responses!
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