Have a homebrew kit for Wheat Beer...want to make a sour (first brew ever)

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by HaveUSeenMyCellar, May 27, 2013.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. HaveUSeenMyCellar

    HaveUSeenMyCellar Savant (1,210) Aug 30, 2012 California

    Is it possible to make a sour from a wheat beer? or is that stupid?
    If a good idea, this being my first brew, any step by step directions outside of what the kit says would be awesome as to when to do what, how much to add, etc.
    It's a 5 gallon kit.
    I appreciate the helpful insight.
  2. VikeMan

    VikeMan Pooh-Bah (2,901) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania

    I would strongly urge you to brew your first kit 'as is.'

    And read this first...
    ... the print version is more up to date, but the online version will get you started. You'll find there's nothing about Sours in this book. When you're ready to do sours, you might want to read the stuff at this blog...
    ..written by BA member Oldsock.

    Disclaimer: I don't brew sours, but I do know that they add a level of complexity that I would not recommend for anyone's first brew day.
  3. CASK1

    CASK1 Pundit (951) Jan 7, 2010 Florida

    Another reason to hold off on the sour is that you won't be drinking it for months at best. Since it'll be sour, you won't really know if your process was successful and could make a decent non-sour beer. "KISS" is good advice here until you get some brewing experience.
  4. JrGtr

    JrGtr Pooh-Bah (1,639) Apr 13, 2006 Massachusetts

    Like they said, best advice for tweaking a first brew is don't. You want t get your techniques and procedures down before going off-range like that. I brewed for 4 years before attempting a sour, and that was just pulling a couple gallons off another brew and pitching sour in there.
    Highly highly recommend brewing this as is to get your feet wet before trying something that ambitious. Welcome to the obsession, by the way!
  5. SDDanC

    SDDanC Initiate (0) Mar 1, 2011 California

    Go for it. It is a wonderful base beer to sour. Proceed with your kits instructions, and pitch a sour blend from one of the yeast labs. You will be waiting for a while, but brew other beers in the meantime.
  6. GeckoPunk

    GeckoPunk Initiate (0) Jul 29, 2012 Connecticut

    Typically, I would suggest getting a couple of brews under your belt first, but if you want a sour wheat, go for it! There is absolutely nothing stopping you. Only you can make the final decision and your choice is all that matters.

    If you know that is what pleases your palate, don't make something that you'll regret later... If you stay true to the art and science of homebrewing, you'll realize that the main sacrifices are the costs of ingredients and your time.

    It is a learning process just like swimming, you can either start in the kiddie pool or shallow side, or in your case, dive right into the deep end.
  7. jamescain

    jamescain Initiate (0) Jul 14, 2009 Texas

    Personally I think its best to learn the brewing process before you proceed to more adventurous brewing. If you try to brew a wild ale and it ends up being infected somewhere along in the process because you were not entirely sure what you were doing then you could end up dumping an entire batch because you were not firm in the process. I had been brewing about a year before I started brewing wild ales.
  8. rundownhouse

    rundownhouse Initiate (0) Sep 15, 2005 Tennessee

    Your risk tolerance has to be pretty high to invest so much in a beer like that.
  9. od_sf

    od_sf Initiate (0) Nov 2, 2010 California

    Are you willing to wait a minimum of 6 months before getting to try your first batch? If so, follow the instructions that came with the kit, then when the beer is attenuated down to maybe around 1.010 rack to secondary, pitch some Wyeast 3278, then wait, and wait, and wait some more. Try it at 6 months, it could be tasty, although it would probably be even tastier with another 6 to 12 months of waiting.
    jamescain likes this.
  10. AlCaponeJunior

    AlCaponeJunior Grand Pooh-Bah (3,096) May 21, 2010 Texas

    Once you can make a good wheat beer, then you might want to try making a sour wheat beer, once your knowledge and experience has something more than ambition as a base. Besides, are you willing to tie up a carboy for a minimum of six months, but probably much longer?
  11. HerbMeowing

    HerbMeowing Maven (1,259) Nov 10, 2010 Virginia

    Show of hands...

    My 1st batch of homebrew turned out so fookin'good...I really should have pitched Brett?
  12. AlCaponeJunior

    AlCaponeJunior Grand Pooh-Bah (3,096) May 21, 2010 Texas

    Ooo! Me! Me! Pick me!!

    I'll take bad ideas for $1000, Alex. "What is making a sour on your first batch of homebrew?"
  13. OddNotion

    OddNotion Pooh-Bah (1,791) Nov 1, 2009 New Jersey

    With no prior brewing experience I feel you are more likely to make a 5 gallon batch of vinegar than a good sour beer.
    jbakajust1 likes this.
  14. od_sf

    od_sf Initiate (0) Nov 2, 2010 California

    Or, a more likely scenario: "With no prior brewing experience, I feel you are more likely to attempt to make a sour beer, then get impatient, and bottle only 2 weeks after brewing, and drink 1 week after that. And not be happy with the results one bit."
    jbakajust1 and OddNotion like this.
  15. MADhombrewer

    MADhombrewer Initiate (0) Jun 4, 2008 Oregon

    +1 on brew a couple beers before you do a sour.
  16. Supergenious

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

    And keep in mind you will more than likely be infecting some of your equipment with souring bugs. Which could very well contaminate any future non-sour batches. Probably not what you want to do on your very first batch.
  17. MLeicht

    MLeicht Initiate (0) Jul 9, 2012 New Jersey

    Do what you want. I had the same goal in mind when i started brewing and best bet would be to brew something else first. But if you don't want to, my LHBS has a sour wheat ale kit http://www.love2brew.com/Berliner-Weisse-Extract-Kit-p/sbk027a.htm which i brewed in January and still waiting for it to sour. but take a look at what they do and cheers.
  18. joshrosborne

    joshrosborne Initiate (0) Jun 14, 2010 Michigan

    Nope, but my 3rd batch, which was a wheat beer that I decided to sour after the fact, turned out great. It's not hard to make a good sour. All you need is patience, reasonable temperature control, and a spare carboy. It probably won't be the best (or even a great) sour, but it will teach you how to make a better one next time.
  19. barfdiggs

    barfdiggs Initiate (0) Mar 22, 2011 California

    It might not ever really sour. The white labs lacto seems to not produce much acid at all, at least from my personal experiences with it; the Wyeast lacto is the one to use.
  20. jbakajust1

    jbakajust1 Pooh-Bah (2,456) Aug 25, 2009 Oregon

    Learn the process first. With the first batch you will always want to keep getting into the carboy/bucket to sample every couple days. With a normal beer it will open you up to infections and oxidation, but you will probably be fine if you have good sanitation protocol (which you probably won't seeing it is your first batch). With a sour, the oxygen uptake in a long aging beer could destroy the flavors with oxidation or worse turn it to vinegar. Most likely you will get anxious and bottle too soon and end up with bottle bombs. The mixed fermentation will probably freak you out (it did me) and lead you to think there is something horribly wrong. Without knowing what a normal fermentation looks like you may infect your second beer and not know because you don't know what a clean ferment looks like. Also, with an American Wheat, it might be too bitter and not sour properly, or be too bitter to drink with the sour, dry, phenolics of the wild ferment, and tannins from any added wood. Starting to brew is expensive enough w/o having to buy a second carboy, second bottling bucket, second syphon, second thief, extra tubing, etc.
    utahbeerdude likes this.
  21. MLeicht

    MLeicht Initiate (0) Jul 9, 2012 New Jersey

    How long did you let the lacto work for? Cause I bottled that beer a couple months ago and I got a somewhat tart beer and waiting for results. Have you tired the wyeast Pedio in your sour ales?
  22. barfdiggs

    barfdiggs Initiate (0) Mar 22, 2011 California

    Its been 9 months now. I fermented with straight white labs lacto for 10 days, then pitched German Ale yeast (WY1007) to finish and brett claus (White Labs) at bottling. Slightly tart, but no increase in sourness over the past 6 months. I'll be doing a massive berliner weiss test some point in the next month or two and will be examining a range of different bug, brett and yeast combinations (from both white labs and wyeast) to figure out what combo produces a berliner to my liking.

    Never tried just straight pedio, but have used it as part of Roselare blend and lambic blend, and have produced beers with balanced sourness to extreme sourness depending on the desired style.
    MLeicht likes this.
  23. jbakajust1

    jbakajust1 Pooh-Bah (2,456) Aug 25, 2009 Oregon

    Any chance you might be trying some home cultured Lacto in there at all? I cultured some up from a single serve container of non-fat Greek yogurt but never used it straight to see what it would provide as far as souring a Berliner. May have to give that a try this summer.
  24. barfdiggs

    barfdiggs Initiate (0) Mar 22, 2011 California

    Hadn't thought of doing that, but would be a good one to add in with the 100% Lacto Beer. Here is what I have planned to date (23 gallon Extract Batch):

    Base Beer:
    1.031 O.G. (Wheat & Pils Extract Blend)
    20 minute boil
    5.1 IBUs (EKG)
    Color a bit high (4 SRM)

    Wyeast Lactobacillus (WY5335)
    Wyeast German Ale Yeast (WY1007)
    Wyeast Berlinerweisse blend (WY3191 PC)
    White Labs Lactobacillus (WLP677)
    White Labs Brett Clausenii Trois (WLP644)
    White Labs Berlinerweisse blend (WLP630)

    Batch Sizes and Order of Strains:
    3 gal - Wyeast Lacto for 7 days, WL Lacto to finish
    3 gal - Wyeast Lacto for 7 days, WL BrettCT to finish
    5 gal - Wyeast Lacto for 7 days, Wyeast German Ale Yeast to finish, WL BrettCT at bottling
    5 gal - Wyeast Lacto for 7 days, WL Lacto 7 days, WL BrettCT at bottling
    3 gal - WL Berlinerweisse blend
    3 gal - Wyeast Berlinerweisse blend

    Previous - WL Lacto for 7 days, Wyeast German Ale Yeast to finish, WL BrettC at bottling (Not sour, almost like a funky, grainy, floral, wheat lager)
  25. mikehartigan

    mikehartigan Maven (1,377) Apr 9, 2007 Illinois

    If you wanted a sour, why didn't you buy a sour kit? Presumably, some thought goes into these kits. You're trying to tweak a proven recipe without knowing what you're doing.

    Brew the Wheat according to the instructions. There'll be plenty of time to formulate recipes after you learn how.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.