Sours: Help for Noobs

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by BeerDummy, Apr 11, 2014.

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  1. dvmin98

    dvmin98 Site Editor (2,463) Nov 1, 2010 North Carolina
    Premium Member Beer Trader

    I'm not staring at it…I just tend to grab a Westbrook instead because they're easier to get! Its in the fridge as we speak, though
  2. whiskey

    whiskey Aspirant (279) Feb 25, 2012 California
    Beer Trader

    I know there have been other similar threads but none that have addressed this specifically.

    So as of now I've really enjoyed beers such as:

    Framboise De Amorosa
    Odio Equum
    Oude Tart
    Sour in the Rye
    NB La Folie and others.

    I tried Duchesse De Bourgogne and the vinegar I get made it a drain pour for me.

    I also tried Tilquin drinking bile/vomit.

    I'd like to get my hands on a couple Cantillons since they are known as excellent examples of sours (not wale hunting here) but a little unsure of how to proceed given my two very different feelings about sours.

    I'd like to try a Cantillon classic gueuze after reading reviews of it's intense sourness but nerous to invest into it after being so turned off by Tilquin gueuze.

    Any tips?
  3. ZagZagg

    ZagZagg Aspirant (257) May 13, 2008 Pennsylvania

    I don't think I quite understand/see the question here.. But

    I'm not big into sours, but heres two I've had recently and enjoyed - based off what you said, I think you'll enjoy too

    Silly Sour - Brasserie de Silly S.A.
    Sour In The Rye - The Bruery
  4. MRVermont

    MRVermont Disciple (376) Apr 11, 2013 New Hampshire
    Beer Trader

    Sounds like you might not like sours...
  5. swhite11

    swhite11 Initiate (0) Sep 15, 2008 Washington
    Beer Trader

    I would venture a guess and say that of every sour that you listed as having enjoyed, they were all somewhat young. If you didn't appreciate Tilquin or Duchesse, I wouldn't waste my time/effort (there will be a lot of both) going after Cantillon. I would hate to see a drain pour thread down the road that has the word Cantillon in it.
    azorie, barrybeerdog, bld81 and 5 others like this.
  6. LehighAce06

    LehighAce06 Champion (834) Jul 31, 2010 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    Try Rodenbach Classic, it's a pretty young sour in the Flemish Red style (as opposed to Gueze, a lambic style). You also might like Brettanomyces fermented beers in styles that are not typically sours, like saisons. This will get you some good sourness but (I'd expect) without the vinegar effect that turned you off.

    Another good experiment to do is to seek out beers that have a single souring agent, ONE at a time of Brettanomyces, Lactobacilius, and Pediococcus. If at all possible in this experiment, find beers that the base beers are as similar as possible. This will help you determine what souring bacteria/yeast strain you like/don't like the effects of.

    edit: An experienced homebrewer who does sour beers might be your best bet for my suggested experiment, they may be willing (especially if you're buying the ingredients) to brew beers that are the exact same base and ferment them with the various souring agents, to give as controlled an experiment as possible. I can't think of any professional brewers that do enough with these to pull this off without the base beers being pretty disparate, whereas with homebrewing it's much simpler to do test batches like this with only one thing differing between each. Maybe even use one 5gal batch and ferment side-by-side in 1gal jugs. (the extra two gallons could be used to combine brett/lacto and brett/pedio for further comparison)
    lorenwhite7, whiskey and breadwinner like this.
  7. Rekrule

    Rekrule Initiate (0) Nov 11, 2011 Massachusetts

    I'd work my way through the Jolly Pumpkin Portfolio. I also just had Rueuze by the Bruery and thought it was very good.
    CaptainFleeker likes this.
  8. stealth

    stealth Zealot (507) Dec 16, 2011 Minnesota
    Beer Trader

    "Sours" is such an immensely broad term. You might just not like Gueuzes (or lambics), but enjoy some oud bruins and lactic acid forward wild ales. You might like certain brett-forward wild ales (any crooked stave).

    Have you tried Rodenbach, Rodenbach Grand Cru, or Cuvee Des Jacobins yet? If you don't like those then you can write off Flanders Reds. Duchesse is a flanders red, but its quite a bit different from Rodenbach or Jacobins.
    WCKDVBZ likes this.
  9. LehighAce06

    LehighAce06 Champion (834) Jul 31, 2010 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    And by the way, good luck with finding your way through sours, if you do become accustomed to them the challenge they present is very rewarding. I also second the thought that you should avoid putting the effort into finding Cantillons so early in your sour education, I would cry real tears if you drain poured that, and it just isn't worth the time and effort to do it Besides, "some of the best out there" and "classic example of the style for educational purposes" are not necessarily one in the same, and you certainly don't need to find the former to achieve the latter.
    HoptimusMax1mus, KhakCane and whiskey like this.
  10. imbibehour

    imbibehour Poo-Bah (6,407) Mar 18, 2008 Maryland
    Premium Member Beer Trader

    Learn that the category "sour" is often a catch all for many different beer styles that sometimes share the same character, but not always.

    If you find a beer that you like, look up it's style on here, and then figure out which others in that same style you might want to check out.

  11. zipper8650

    zipper8650 Initiate (0) May 10, 2011 New York
    Beer Trader

    Maybe you like sours just not gueze. Ill like Tilquin but certainly not my favorite gueze...I say check out Cuvee de Jacobin.

    Or send me your Cantillions and Ill let you know if I think youll like them
  12. Phobicsquirrel

    Phobicsquirrel Devotee (482) Oct 1, 2013 Oregon
    Beer Trader

    A lot of good info! I hate the vinegar as well, night shift ever wiesse was such a vinegar bomb it wasn't funny. I've never had that actual vinegar taste or smell. But other than that I love all types of sours. You may like cantillon, the kriek was super yummy and though sour I think the flavor really shines and there was no vinegar thing going on.
  13. bryreeves

    bryreeves Initiate (0) Oct 25, 2012 Massachusetts

    Rodenbach is good for dipping your toe into the sour pool...
    Furlinator likes this.
  14. fermentedbarley

    fermentedbarley Disciple (340) May 22, 2012 New Hampshire

    Alchemist Petit Mutant. Excellent.....
    RyanOooh likes this.
  15. utfiero

    utfiero Initiate (0) Dec 20, 2013 Texas

    I fully agree- Rodenbach is a "gateway" beer to become acquainted with the unique world of sours.

  16. supercodes

    supercodes Initiate (0) Jun 23, 2013 Maine

    Duchesse De Bourgogne drain pour? That hurts my soul.

    I think maybe you need to take a step back and examine what styles/breweries you enjoy, and what ones you don't. There are plenty of American breweries and imports that are relatively affordable for the style. Since you are in Cali, I'd suggest grabbing a few bottles of Russian River sours. They are pretty much all highly touted, and it'll give you a good base of what to expect.

    Further, I'd also suggest trying gose, saison and berliner weisse as alternate, entry level styles to expand your palette to appreciate different types of sour sensations and tastes.

    This also might sound strange, but tasting a few different types of kombucha I find is a very accessible, inexpensive way to tread into the world of sour fermentation. Raw kombucha tastes remarkably similar to various sour beers, sans alcohol, and is quite tasty and refreshing.

    And promise that once you have more experience with sours, you'll buy another bottle of Duchesse and give her a try.
  17. msigona85

    msigona85 Initiate (171) Jun 16, 2008 New York
    Beer Trader

    Check out the Rodenbach Grand Cru, it's much more complex than the Original and doesn't have as heavy of a vinegar flavor as the Duchesse
  18. whiskey

    whiskey Aspirant (279) Feb 25, 2012 California
    Beer Trader

    Ton of great info, thanks guys.

    Did you see the list of sours I stated I enjoyed?

    Good info.
    Well, I love La Folie and Dissident which are both oud bruins from what I can tell...I will definitely check out your suggestions.

    Yep, that's why I started the thread, to see if I should even pursue them.

    I dig Consecration and Sanctification(only 2 RR sours I've tried). I've liked every berliner wiesse I've had too.

    The weird thing with Tilquin gueuze is I didn't get a lot of sourness out of it.
    stealth likes this.
  19. whiskey

    whiskey Aspirant (279) Feb 25, 2012 California
    Beer Trader

    Pardon my ignorance, but how tough are these to get? Should I be able to find them at a local bottle shop or TW?

    Edit: I see TW has Grand Cru
  20. Will_Edgar

    Will_Edgar Aspirant (263) Oct 23, 2013 Iowa
    Beer Trader

    RR Consecration opened up sours for me. I have a bottle of Supplication (batch #10) right now that I'm excited to try.
  21. jbhollis1180

    jbhollis1180 Initiate (0) Jul 6, 2013 Connecticut

    I'm also young in sour expedition and have found that the Brett based ales are suited well for my palate. I tried a Rodenbach Grand Cru and had to choke it down (I really hate to drain pour). I may eventually go back but for now its mostly RR and Allagash to get my start.
  22. stealth

    stealth Zealot (507) Dec 16, 2011 Minnesota
    Beer Trader

    Yup all three are very accessible. Jacobins is the best flanders red out there, IMHO.
    whiskey and thatoneguymike like this.
  23. putonyourwalkingshoes

    putonyourwalkingshoes Disciple (339) Jul 31, 2013 California
    Beer Trader

    Personally after seeing what you've had and the fact you hated Duchess, you won't like Rodenbach. It's heavy on the vinegar as well. I used to love Rodenbach Grand Cru and now I can't stand it. The Rodenbach vintage now that's another story.

    With Cantillon you may be surprised with what you're getting. They've always come off as thin to me but their flavors come together really well. Classic gueze is amazing. Highly highly recommended but others like Iris and Rose kind of disappointed me.
    whiskey likes this.
  24. putonyourwalkingshoes

    putonyourwalkingshoes Disciple (339) Jul 31, 2013 California
    Beer Trader

    Was my very first sour and completely turned me off to sours initially. I thought I would never like the style after having Rodenbach. Go pay another $1 and get the Grand Cru.
    musicman7070 likes this.
  25. hoptualBrew

    hoptualBrew Defender (623) May 29, 2011 Florida
    Beer Trader

    There is a very broad range of "sour".

    Brettanomyces, Lactobacillus, Pediococcus, Acetabacter are yeast/bacteria that play roles in sour/wild beer styles.

    The vinegar character you got in the Duchesse, as in Rodenbach, comes largely from Acetabacter. Over the age of conditioning in oak vats, intentional oxygen exposure through the pourous wood leads to increased acidity and these flavor profiles.

    I can't stand Flanders Reds & Oud Bruins, but love Brettanomyces & Lactobacillus beers more than any other style. Lumping all these styles into one "sour" category is like lumping all top fermenting beers into a single "ale" category.
    JonahNW, bullywee, Gushue3 and 2 others like this.
  26. Kadonny

    Kadonny Meyvn (1,243) Sep 5, 2007 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    Just had my first Oude Tart, awesome sour.
    whiskey likes this.
  27. LehighAce06

    LehighAce06 Champion (834) Jul 31, 2010 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    Definitely agree. This is why I was suggesting pursuing beers that are very similar with the one exception of which yeast/bacteria soured them, do a controlled experiment on the effects of each (I want to do this myself now just to try it)
  28. hoptualBrew

    hoptualBrew Defender (623) May 29, 2011 Florida
    Beer Trader

    Not sure if you can get Jolly Pumpkin in California, but JP puts out some world class wild fermented beers. If you haven't had Jolly Pumpkin's regular offerings, your missing out.
    bullywee, drtth and Shroud0fdoom like this.
  29. Shroud0fdoom

    Shroud0fdoom Poo-Bah (1,620) Oct 31, 2013 Maryland
    Beer Trader

    I am not fond of sours and even I enjoy Jolly Pumpkin. They're balanced enough for me to enjoy!
  30. jbck109

    jbck109 Aspirant (267) May 30, 2010 Michigan
    Beer Trader

    Maybe you should try to seek out as many different styles of sours as you can find to see what you like. From what you've enjoyed, it seems like Oude Bruin is a style you like. Maybe berliner or gose could be good for you, they are more tart acetic sour, but no vinegar or barnyard funk. They are totally different from what you have had so far though, but very good.The ones I have had seem to have more of a lemon type sour, if that sounds appealing, give one a shot.
    #70 jbck109, Jun 6, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2014
    whiskey likes this.
  31. thatoneguymike

    thatoneguymike Meyvn (1,155) Sep 18, 2012 Georgia
    Beer Trader

    Just to give you my recommendations, and, since I hate Duchesse and, to a lesser degree, Tilquin too, you and I might have similar tastes.

    To add to those that you mentioned, you may want to try Tart of Darkness and Oude Tart, definitely Almanac's Dogpatch Sour (which I would imagine their other Farm to Table sours are good as well), Westbrook Gose if you get the chance!!, Le Terroir when it's released this year, Petrus Aged Pale, Cuvee de Jacobins (amazing, somewhat easy to find and available in 'affordable' $22 4 packs), and 3 Fonteinen's Oude Kriek or however it's spelled.

    There are plenty of expensive letdowns out there given the prices, but, if you ask me, those listed above are winners when you want puckering, lip-smacking sours!
    whiskey likes this.
  32. whiskey

    whiskey Aspirant (279) Feb 25, 2012 California
    Beer Trader

    Perfect. I've had and love Oude Tart, Tart of Darkness, La Terroir, Almanacs Dogpatch, Pluot, and Blackberry so it looks like we do have similar tastes.

    Cool, now I can search out Petrus aged, Cuvee De Jacobins and 3F Oude Kriek. Awesome, thanks! Maybe I'll look into trading for some Westbrook Gose too. On that note, is Westbrook Gose something that has to be drank fresh or can I take my time on it?

    Also, any good Gose that is year round in Southern CA?
  33. thatoneguymike

    thatoneguymike Meyvn (1,155) Sep 18, 2012 Georgia
    Beer Trader

    The Petrus Aged Red is pretty good too, heavy on the cherry flavor, but slightly sweet too! It was good, I won't lie, but more akin to Lindemann's Kriek (which I won't knock! my first 'sour' love!)
    azorie likes this.
  34. putonyourwalkingshoes

    putonyourwalkingshoes Disciple (339) Jul 31, 2013 California
    Beer Trader

    Cuvee De Jacobins you can skip right away. Petrus is alright... for the price. 3F oude kriek amazing if you can find one that hasn't been sitting on the shelf. That used to be the case now ever place charges an arm and a leg for a 375ml and they fly off the shelf when around. 3F is artistry.
  35. whiskey

    whiskey Aspirant (279) Feb 25, 2012 California
    Beer Trader

    Go on....
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  36. putonyourwalkingshoes

    putonyourwalkingshoes Disciple (339) Jul 31, 2013 California
    Beer Trader

    It just falls into that category of belgian sours that aren't impressive like Monk's cafe or Bacchus. If you got the funds go throw down on a case of Cascade sours and they'll blow you away. Liquor stores mark them up because they don't get a discount. They buy that beer just like the rest of us directly from the brewer. A lot of brewers could take a page out of Cascade's book in terms of consistency and awesome customer service. You don't pay sales tax either just shipping.

    I didn't get Stone Sour Fest tickets this year, I was going to bring an old sour fest glass and try to hit up people on their 9th-10th glass and try to buy some drinks off of them. It'll work nicely.
  37. LehighAce06

    LehighAce06 Champion (834) Jul 31, 2010 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    I might have misunderstood what you're trying to do here, but the way I'm reading that it sounds like a horrible idea.
  38. putonyourwalkingshoes

    putonyourwalkingshoes Disciple (339) Jul 31, 2013 California
    Beer Trader

    Those festivals are endurance runs especially their sour fest. In hot weather when you're on your 8th pour out of 15, the lactic sweats really get to you. I'll do nicely Mr. East Coast thank you for your humble opinion.. A lot of people don't make it past 12.
  39. LehighAce06

    LehighAce06 Champion (834) Jul 31, 2010 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    First off, do you know how much you sound like a douche referring to me by the coast I'm nearest, as if that's a derogatory thing? You also sound like a douche by boasting that you're more capable of drinking a large volume of beer than the other attendees, and I'm certain that the point isn't to race to see who can imbibe more than the other guy (that is generally left to college campuses and much lesser quality brews).

    Secondly, as I already stated, I may misunderstand the situation as I am not familiar with this particular festival. With that said, what I initially meant was that it sounds to me like you are planning to attend a festival for which you have not paid, and in lieu of a ticket, you plan to pay the attendees to give you their allotted pours, which undermines both the spirit and financial viability of the festival. If this festival is structured differently, as I've already acknowledged I would not know, then forgive my misunderstanding, this was only my initial impression based on what you said.
  40. aleigator

    aleigator Poo-Bah (1,515) May 10, 2014 Germany
    Beer Trader

    I think you might want to try the Boon Gueuze, as it is perfect to get into this kind of style. It comes along a lot smoother and modest on the sourness, in comparison to other classic Gueuzes.

    Also I would recommend to try all kinds of fruit lambics, as the sourness in those is only underlining the fermented fruits, the lactic acidity isn't as far developed as in the classic Gueuze/Lambic.
    whiskey likes this.
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