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Thursday, 25 October 2012

Second Runnings Sour

This will never work.

‘Sparging’ is the act of rinsing grain with hot water to remove as much of its natural sugar as you can. It’s standard brewing practice and fits neatly between things you might’ve heard called ‘mashing’ and ‘boiling’.

Sparging takes time. It’s an effective way to use malted barley, but it takes time. When the total cost of the malt in your batch of beer is less than a fiver, it makes sense to forget the sparging and just take the hit on efficiency. At least to me it does. I never sparge.

Well, almost never.

The product of a sparge (kinda) is the second runnings - water sweetened by the sugar that’s rinsed off the malted barley in the mash. What if you take this solution, add a pinch or two of old hops, pasteurise it by heating almost to the point of boiling, cool, rack into a fermenter and then pitch the dregs from a bottle of commercial sour beer?

Here’s how it looked after a couple of days:

My second runnings were taken from a batch of IPA. That’s a grist of pale malt, pale crystal malt, carapils and Munich malt. The hops were some ancient East Kent Goldings that I’ve had knocking about forever. The commercial sour beer was Cantillon Rose de Gamrbrinus.

Thou shalt henceforth be known as: "The Afterthought".

Why will this never work?


JonR said...

i would expect that skipping the boil is going to lead to some surprising/potentially undesirable flavours - specifically, DMS.

and i'm amazed you don't sparge! surely this results in some very small batches of very strong beer?

Anonymous said...

Unlikely to get much DMS as it's SMM in the malt that gets converted to DMS in the boil.

More likely just to end up with a lacto infection, which I guess is the whole point.

Mark said...

JonR: DMS is my main worry. I’m using malts that have all been kilned a reasonable amount, so this should limit the amount of SMM that can become DMS. I’m hoping that a vigourous primary fermentation (from the yeast part of the culture) will help blow this off.

I do a mash out rather than a sparge. Maybe think of it like one big batch sparge? I can control the volume and strength of my wort by changing the amount of grain and mash out liquor I use.

Anonymous: George Fix says that SMM converts to DMS at temperatures below boiling. 70c seems to be where it happens. (via here: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f128/dms-where-does-140f-come-132559/).

By heating my wort to pasteurise it, I probably created a load of DMS that I didn’t then boil off. Hopefully this gets blown away by fermentation. I’ve tried to research the breakdown of DMS by lactic bacteria and pediococcus but haven’t had much luck.

JonR said...

ah ok - to be honest i've never known what a "mash out" is - i fly sparge myself, and i'm familiar with batch sparging, but that's it.

anyway the recipe looks fun. i'd love to brew a sour but frankly this stuff scares the bejesus out of me.

Mark said...

A mash out is just where you raise the mash temperature high enough to kill off enzymes and prevent any further conversion. For me it means adding all the liquid that isn't mash liquid at a high enough temperature in a single batch, before then running the total boil volume off into the kettle.

Nothing to be scared of! Just make sure that everything that touches the beer post-pitch is dedicated to sour/wild beer and you'll be fine.

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Real Aley said...

Never quite got the hang of this sour beer malarky. Bit the bullet the other day and tried a bottle of Cherry Sour from a local brewery. Have to say that it ended up going down the sink.

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