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Nick P.
10/01/13 03:30 PM  
Whole grapes in finished Sour beer?
Anyone use whole grapes in finished sour beer? I have 5 lbs of locally grown Frontenac Gris, 5 Lbs of Marquette, and 2 lbs of an experimental grape that is similar to the Marquette grapes. I'm wondering how long to age my finished sour beer on these grapes. My intuition/gut is telling me to only age them on the grapes for about ONE MONTH. Anyone have any experience with aging sour beer on whole grapes? For more detail on what I did you can certainly check out more details here...but any help would be appreciated. http://dankbrewingcompany.blogspot.com/2013/09/grapes-grapes-magical-fruit.html
GMC
10/01/13 04:51 PM  
Re: Whole grapes in finished Sour beer?
The experience I have and suggestions here pertain to open fermentation, so apply accordingly:

If you have the ability to "punch-down" the fruit (pushing the dried cap of fruit back into the beer for maximum extraction), then whole cluster fermentation (also called Carbonic Maceration) is certainly practical. You'd want to push the fruit from the top back into the beer twice daily (morning and evening) as the cap of fruit that floats to the top will have more oxygen exposure and lead to unwanted issues with acetic acid presence/volatile acidity.

Having done both whole berry and crushed/de-stemmed fruit, the crushed/de-stemmed version turned out much better. Your extraction is better and fermentation is quicker which keeps VA from becoming too big of an issue. With whole berry/un-crushed fruit, there were issues with whole berries becoming very acetic/vinegary due to fermentation lag.

One month may even be too long for re-fermentation on grapes. Extended contact with the skins of the grapes can over-extract tannins. We achieved all the extraction (color and sugar) we wanted in just 9 days of contact with grapes. The beer was then racked off of the fruit. Taste after a week and you'll have a good idea of how long contact should be.

Best of luck! Cantillon St. Lamvinus and Vignerrone are such great examples of how delicate and perfect grapes can be when fermented in beer. I'm eager to see the results.
Nick P.
10/01/13 05:55 PM  
Re: Whole grapes in finished Sour beer?
I was considering 2 lbs of grapes per gallon as I think Cantillon said 300 grams (0.66 lbs) per Liter. Sound about right? I can always blend if it's too much.


Beautiful information! Thankyou. I've already destemmed them, so I'll crush, add, and then let sit for a week or two and then transfer off the berries! Thanks again. Glad I asked and glad you responded!

Cheers!
shibolet
10/07/13 08:14 AM  
Re: Whole grapes in finished Sour beer?
good info and very timely as i'm planning on racking some 1.5 year old "lambic" onto grapes this week.
GMC
10/07/13 12:20 PM  
Re: Whole grapes in finished Sour beer?
Two pounds per gallon sounds about right...that's pretty much our ratio for all fruit beers. If you have extra sour beer on hand, you can always blend out any over extraction.

One thing I forgot to mention above; if you pursue open fermentation and decide to do punch downs, there is a bracket of fermentation where it is most effective. You want to wait until visible fermentation has begun to prohibit too much oxygen from oxidizing your beer. Same thing with the end of fermentation. If you aren't seeing any more visible signs of fermentation and there isn't any significant off-gassing of CO2, you run the risk of oxidation.
GMC
03/14/14 01:17 PM  
Re: Whole grapes in finished Sour beer?
How did your beer turn out? I'm curious to hear about your methods and success.
levifunk
03/17/14 04:52 PM  
Re: Whole grapes in finished Sour beer?
I assume GMC = Garrett Crowell?
levifunk
03/17/14 06:37 PM  
Re: Whole grapes in finished Sour beer?
I'm really surprised to hear you only keep the beer on grapes for 9 days. It seems like a very short time.

But, this is good to know. I am planning on doing a grape sour this summer/fall, so any tips would be helpful.

Do you know Cantillon's process for St Lamvinus?
GMC
03/19/14 11:30 AM  
Re: Whole grapes in finished Sour beer?
GMC= Garrett Michael Crowell

9 days is by far the shortest time we've had fruit in contact with beer. It's also my favorite fruit beer we've made yet! I'm not sure of Cantillon's process, but from what I gather they generally put fruit into stainless tanks. Someone correct me if I am wrong.

Regarding fruit fermentations, we function much more like an old world French winery than a brewery.
levifunk
03/19/14 12:58 PM  
Re: Whole grapes in finished Sour beer?
Cool. Pleasure to "meet" you. From what I've seen, I'm a fan of the Jester King sour program.

Could you give us an idea on how long you keep various fruits in contact with beer?
GMC
03/20/14 12:47 PM  
Re: Whole grapes in finished Sour beer?
Likewise, and thanks for the kind words Levi. I've been following what you're doing coolship wise and am eager to share ideas/experiences with spontaneous fermentation.

Fruit contact is pretty variable, depending on the fruit and whether it's been frozen or not. Frozen berries sit in contact with mature sour beer for ~ 6 weeks. Fresh berries are in contact ~ 4 weeks. These aren't rigid numbers, as analysis is more organoleptic than scientific. Beyond taste and smell, we do look for decrease and stablization in specific gravity.
Nick Pederson
07/18/14 06:42 PM  
Re: Whole grapes in finished Sour beer?
I have my grapes on the freezer still. I have a few Lambics that taste ready for them though. My plan is to thaw, crush, and dump into finished Lambics, after 7-14 days (depending if I use the red or white variety) rack off the berries, let sit for a month or two, then bottle!


It's funny...I was locked out of my blog, dankbrewing for 7 months, but my last post was a jester king post! It sat there for 7 months!
 
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