Got a Year to Kill...

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by Hayden34, Feb 14, 2017.

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  1. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Grand Pooh-Bah (3,212) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    Sour would be good. Experimental homebrew podcast just had a good interview with @OldSock regarding a beer that may be right up your alley.
    Thanks for your service, be safe out there brother.
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  2. anteater

    anteater Pooh-Bah (1,802) Sep 10, 2012 Oregon
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    When aging for 1+ years, you might lose some of the residual carbonation from fermentation, so I would shoot for the higher end (at least 2.5-3.0) and use thick Belgian style bottles if possible.

    For reference, the sour I carbed at 2.2 came out way too low and another one I carbed at 2.7 was perfect.
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  3. Supergenious

    Supergenious Savant (1,249) May 9, 2011 Michigan

    I like to add champagne yeast at bottling for sours. It's easy insurance to get proper carbonation. That way you can use standard amount of priming sugar and no need for thicker bottles.
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  4. skivtjerry

    skivtjerry Pooh-Bah (1,779) Mar 10, 2006 Vermont

    Personally, I'd probably not do a sour if you have never done one before. They can be unpredictable, even for the pros in Belgium who have been doing them for hundreds of years (hence the extensive blending programs). BUT, nothing ventured, nothing gained! Your call.

    Whatever you do, do it soon. A month is less time than we think.

    Keep your head down and come back to us safe and sane.
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  5. minderbender

    minderbender Initiate (0) Jan 18, 2009 New York

    Thank you for your service. I agree with the advice @Supergenious is giving. Do you have someone to keep the airlock filled with vodka while you are overseas?
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  6. Hayden34

    Hayden34 Initiate (0) Aug 10, 2014 Georgia

    Excellent idea! I think I'll give that a try.

    Yes. I can get my wife to keep a check on it while I'm deployed.
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  7. minderbender

    minderbender Initiate (0) Jan 18, 2009 New York

    Godspeed sir.
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  8. pweis909

    pweis909 Grand Pooh-Bah (3,126) Aug 13, 2005 Wisconsin

    Make a sour. When you get back you can treat it as a base beer for further variants -- adding fruit, oak, blending -- or perhaps enjoy it as is.
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  9. Hayden34

    Hayden34 Initiate (0) Aug 10, 2014 Georgia

    Yes sir. That's the plan. I ordered the supplies yesterday. Plan on brewing next weekend.
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  10. RashyGrillCook

    RashyGrillCook Initiate (0) Apr 30, 2011 Florida

    This is exactly what I used to do when I deployed. Brew up a simple golden sour with some really healthy sour bugs. By the time I got home they were tasting great and ready for any fruit or blending.
    A couple things to keep in mind are:
    1. How do you plan on keeping the airlocks full? My wife did okay the first time around but the next time I used a length of tubing and placed it in a gallon jug of water. Solved the evaporation issue.
    2. The location of the carboy while your gone. If it is in an area that gets a lot of temperature fluctuation then whatever airlock solution you use could get sucked into the carboy.

    I saw someone mentioned using champagne yeast for bottling. That certainly works but I always preferred to use fresh sour bugs built up in a starter that got added at bottling time. Aim for a higher carb rate and use heavier duty thicker bottles if you can. If a healthy sour culture was pitched and it did its thing for a year then you don't have to worry about unpredictable carb levels. Checking the gravity is, of course, important and recommended. Also, if you do a five gallon batch save a gallon or two to blend for an authentic gueuze down the line. Solera projects are also fun to mess with; I've got one now that's been going for just over four and a half years. I pull one gallon every year and replenish with some of the latest golden sour (usually seven months old).

    When you get overseas keep your eyes and ears open and your head on a swivel. Always know where the closest bunkers/shelters are (for IDF). When sh*t goes down it goes down quick.
    #30 RashyGrillCook, Feb 18, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2017
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  11. Lukass

    Lukass Pooh-Bah (2,745) Dec 16, 2012 Ohio

    Safe travels man! I vote sour as well. I don't think I saw this mentioned in the above responses but I'd be worried about yeast autolysis (rubbery, soapy flavors) if you made something like a RIS or barleywine and it sat in the primary for that long. It tends to happen with brewers yeasts, or so I've been told. That is, unless you have enough time to transfer it over to a secondary before you leave.

    If you end up doing a sour you won't have to worry about it sitting on that main cake for a year +, since brett will help clean it up. Seriously though, the hardest part about making a sour is the wait, and you won't have any control over that so you're halfway there! Just brew a good base beer and pick the right sour blends, bottle dregs etc. and you'll have a great sour waiting for you when you're back.
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  12. 1ale_man

    1ale_man Initiate (0) Apr 25, 2015 Texas

    I don't home brew so can't help you there. But thank you for your service and take care.
    God bless you and those you serve with.
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  13. youradhere

    youradhere Initiate (0) Feb 29, 2008 Washington

    Good luck in the sandbox brother. I would do something you like obviously, however not all beers do well after a year in a carbon generally speaking.

    Do something high alcohol enough, with enough residual sugar to keep out bad bugs; conversely you could do something with high enough acidity to help preserve the beer.

    I did an Abyss clone and a barleywine batch a while back before I went to Kirkuk- made sure they were in a secondary or tertiary fermenter before heading out, so I think I brewed them a full month or more before deploying. I kegged them up when I got backband once I found my beer palette again I was sure glad I planned ahead. Good to reflect back on an old batch too.
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  14. machalel

    machalel Initiate (0) Jan 19, 2012 Australia

    WRT the airlock - if you cover the top with some alfoil, it will help reduce any evaporation. I did this with my last sour, and was sitting for almost 12 months without needing a topup.
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  15. Hayden34

    Hayden34 Initiate (0) Aug 10, 2014 Georgia

    Thanks everyone for the responses. I decided to go with brewing a sour after all and should have the ingredients in the mail any day now. As for the questions regarding the air lock, my wife is going to keep it topped off while I'm in Afghanistan and it will be in a temperature controlled environment with not a lot of fluctuation so it should be okay. Thanks again for all the responses.
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  16. jmich24

    jmich24 Initiate (0) Jan 28, 2010 Michigan

    Not sure if this has been stated, but pitch some fresh bottle dregs from some of your favorite commercial sours with a commercial sour strain. I like Jolly Pumpkin dregs, but anything unpasteurized will do. Thanks for your service.
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  17. Teton

    Teton Initiate (0) Jan 18, 2013 Colorado

    Well if you're brewing a sour, and want to kill some time and learn something, the sour hour podcast on the brewing network is great. Tell your wife not to worry if it looks like mold is growing on the top of the sour. That's a pellicle and it's fine. Don't let her throw it out! Thanks for your service and good luck with the sour.
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  18. Hayden34

    Hayden34 Initiate (0) Aug 10, 2014 Georgia

    Yeah a few people have mentioned this already but I'm having a really hard time finding an unpasteurized sour in this area. No Jolly Pumpkin here.
  19. corbmoster

    corbmoster Pundit (836) Dec 15, 2014 Texas

    I'm not sure if it has been mentioned, but you said you wanted something to leave in the carboy for a year. I suggest you use a keg with a spunding valve on the gas side. Reason: A plastic carboy shouldn't be trusted that long since it isn't completely impermeable to gas. Both plastic and glass can let light in (leave in a dark place and leave a tag on it saying to leave it alone should anyone move it (weird things happen when you are gone on deployments)). They both need airlocks that will eventually need to have their liquid replaced. A keg has none of those problems. And to be honest, you probably don't need the spunding valve if you are positive fermentation has finished. If you cold crash, after an extended primary, you should be fine.
  20. Hayden34

    Hayden34 Initiate (0) Aug 10, 2014 Georgia

    Thanks for the suggestion, but I have already brewed this beer last weekend. It is currently fermenting in a 5 gallon glass carboy in a dark closet. The wife has instructions to check on the airlock periodically, so it should be okay.
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