Son of a Funk – Sour Saison


Sour mashing second runnings in a keg. A heat belt keeps the temp up for optimal souring

Last week I brewed 11G of my favorite RIS, Black Metal Stout. As I detailed in the last post, I sparged another 6 gallons of wort from the mash. I collected close to 6G of 1.030 wort. The initial pitch into the keg was a nylon bag with a couple of ounces of acidulated malt. I set the temperature controller for about 116 to handle the temp swings (up to 4 degrees worth) and keep the lacto from getting killed off at too high a temp.


Temperature control is critical for sour mashing.

I decided to bolster the lacto forces by pitching a couple mL of lacto starter I’ve been stepping for a while.  Initially this seemed enough.  The first two days, pH was moving in the right direction, 3.8 followed by 3.7. Then oddly, on day 3, the pH was back up to 4.0.

On day 4, pH was up to 4.2 and I felt some additional bugs would be needed so I opened the nylon bag and added about 8oz of acidulated malt. This seemed to help. Day 5 AM reading was 3.83 down from a high of 4.2 and the taste was certainly moving toward a nice tartness. By Friday night, we hit a nice pH of 3.6 and a solid tart flavor.

The brew session was short. I first-wort hopped one of my favorite saison hops, Sorachi Ace. And then to complement the tart and dry flavors, and to pull some new hops (for me) out of the freezer, New Zeland Pacific Gem and Pacific Jade as finishing additions.

The post chill wort really tasted nice. The sour is there, but not too bold, and the herbal, earthy, but slightly citrus New Zealand hops work very well.

I oxygenated for 30 seconds and then pitched a very healthy dose of Brett B. Trois (Drie). I decided to ferment the beer in the same keg (sanitized of course) and I fashioned a simple blowoff mechanism via the Gas In port, Quick Disconnect and some tubing.

Here’s a recipe that simulates the beer but realize that this is a second runnings from a big RIS.

Recipe Details

Batch Size Boil Time IBU SRM Est. OG Est. FG ABV
5 gal 30 min 25.2 IBUs 34.2 SRM 1.033 1.007 3.4 %
Actuals 1.038 1.01 3.7 %

Style Details

Name Cat. OG Range FG Range IBU SRM Carb ABV
Saison 16 C 1.048 - 1.065 1.002 - 1.012 20 - 35 5 - 14 2.3 - 2.9 5 - 7 %


Name Amount %
Maris Otter (Thomas Fawcett) 4 lbs 69.57
Chocolate Malt (Thomas Fawcett) 1 lbs 17.39
Amber Dry Extract 12 oz 13.04


Name Amount Time Use Form Alpha %
Sorachi Ace 0.35 oz 30 min First Wort Pellet 12
Pacific Gem - 2012 Crop - Purchased 20130220 0.71 oz 5 min Boil Pellet 14.6
Pacific Jade - 2012 Crop - Purchased FHBS 20130220 0.71 oz 5 min Boil Pellet 13.1


Name Lab Attenuation Temperature
Brettanomyces Bruxellensis Trois (WLP654) White Labs 70% 65°F - 72°F


Step Temperature Time
Mash In 150°F 75 min


Pitched grain bag with acid malt on it on Friday, 2013-11-15 @ 10PM.
Wrapped with heat belt and targeted 115 - 120F.

at 48 hours, pH of 3.8 @ 23.1C
Very very light tartness, lots of grain in the nose. Husky. Chocolate, a bit of roast.

at 60 hours, pH of 3.75 @ 22.7C
Same basic taste. Added a good dose of pure Lacto from stepped culture.

It seems to be getting more lacto -- but it's hard to tell; clearly it's not massively sour yet. Oddly, the pH reading was 4.0 @ 23C -- it could be I need to calibrate the probe again. We'll give it another day.

More mellow, I *think* a bit more sour, but nothing assertive. Ph is moving up... 4.2 @ 22C. Calibrated probe to 4.0. Pulled bag and added more acid malt. Need another day.

Definitely getting more sour. Ph is back down, 3.83 @ 23C. Will check again tonight at 8PM (ph) and if we're in the 3.5 area, will boil and pitch yeast. If not, will wait till 11-22 evening.

(2013-11-22 AM)
Yay, more sour. Ph is at 3.71 @ 23C.

(2013-11-22 PM)
Yay, more sour. pH is at 3.61 @ 18.9C

With so much funk in the air


Hill Country View from Jester King Craft Brewery

I can’t seem to get enough of the original Jester King Black Metal Stout. We’ve brewed this beer four times; more than any other recipe. It’s been absolutely solid each round. The last round ended up in a Whiskey Barrel. That was by far the best of the bunch. The 10 gallon barrel I have is on its way to being neutralized, so to get that same huge whiskey nose and bite, I picked up a fresh-dumped Balcones blue corn whiskey barrel.

We’re still brewing 11 gallons, but this time it will be split. Half will ferment with the traditional English Yeast, WLP 007. The other half will be dedicated to one of my favorite, and local, sour beers. Funk Metal Stout. Funk Metal was created from the Black Metal Stout recipe, but aged in oak barrels with lots of pediocauccus, lactobacillus and brett. My best hope of recreating a beer like this is to pitch in some Funk Metal dregs that I’ve stepped up with some oak cubes.

In addition to this split batch, I was thinking that it was time for another “fast” sour beer in the pipeline since the Funk Metal is likely to take quite a while to get good. Over at The Mad Fermentationist, there is a recent post on using various sour worting techniques. I’ve decided that I’ll take the second runnings from this weeks brew which should yield 5 gallons of 1.030 wort, and keep it in a 5G corny keg. Wrapping the wort witha heat belt, I’ll pitch some lactobacillus to sour it up for a few days before boiling for 30 minutes and then pitching Brett Drie (Brett B. Trois).

It’s been quite a few weeks since the last brew day so I’m looking forward to brewing up two of my favorite beers and experimenting with a new one.

Recipe Details

Batch Size Boil Time IBU SRM Est. OG Est. FG ABV
11 gal 60 min 104.9 IBUs 69.2 SRM 1.094 SG 1.013 SG 10.8 %

Style Details

Name Cat. OG Range FG Range IBU SRM Carb ABV
Imperial Stout 13 F 1.075 - 1.115 1.018 - 1.03 50 - 90 30 - 40 1.8 - 2.6 8 - 12 %


Name Amount %
Maris Otter (Thomas Fawcett) 29.868 lbs 72.53
Black Barley (Stout) 2.467 lbs 5.99
Black (Patent) Malt 1.598 lbs 3.88
Chocolate Malt (Thomas Fawcett) 1.598 lbs 3.88
Brown Malt 0.951 lbs 2.31
Caramel/Crystal Malt - 40L 0.949 lbs 2.3
Crystal Dark - 77L (Crisp) 0.75 lbs 1.82
Cane (Beet) Sugar 3 lbs 7.28


Name Amount Time Use Form Alpha %
Magnum 3.74 oz 60 min Boil Pellet 13.5
Goldings, East Kent 4 oz 5 min Boil Pellet 5


Name Amount Time Use Type
Calcium Chloride 3.60 g 60 min Mash Water Agent
Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) 3.60 g 60 min Mash Water Agent
Pickling Lime 1.00 g 60 min Mash Water Agent


Name Lab Attenuation Temperature
Dry English Ale (WLP007) White Labs 75% 65°F - 70°F


Hold all Dark/Roast grains till end of mash/sparge.