Saturday, April 3, 2010

Sour Cherry Crick

Pages: Brewday - Cherry Addition

So I'm undertaking my a big endeavor here; a trifecta of firsts.  We're  doing a sour mash, oak fermented, cherry wheat beer. We're calling it "Crick" because it'll be like imitation Lambic, with sour mash replacing the lacto culture. And of course, when I hear sour mash I think of some good old sour mash KY Bourbon, so there you go: Crick.

-3bs 2 row Pale malt
-2 lbs Wheat malt
-1 lb Flaked wheat
-3 lbs Bavarian Wheat DME (65% Wheat, 35% Barley)

-Tettnang 4.7% 60 min

-Safbrew T-58

-3 oz American Oak cubes (house toast) in primary
-10 lbs frozen pitted tart cherries during secondary

Day 1: I took 5 oz of the grist (no extract), mashed in 1 quart of water at 150 for 60 minutes

Then I cooled it to 120 and poured it into a thermos, filling it almost to the brim. I threw in a handful of raw malt, and sealed tightly.

Day 2: I opened the container, pH was about 5, and temperature was 80. So then I boiled a couple cups of water in a tea kettle and set a drip tray under the thermos for spillage. Then I poured in boiling water, mixing with a spoon until the temperature was back to 120. I sealed it tightly, wrapped a towel around the thermos, and set it in a warm place in the closet.

Day 3: Here we go!  Sour mash pH was 3.5.

Time to brew!

We heated 5 gallons of water to a strike temperature of 157 degrees Fahrenheit, rigged it with our trusty strainer bag,

and poured in our 6 pounds of milled grains.  But...oh crap, I miscalculated!

When pouring the grain, I had forgotten to account for space displaced by the grains (one too many homebrews, eh?).  We had a bit of spillover, and boy, what a nasty mess.  Sadly, there were no photo opportunities, because we were both in frantic action.  All I can say today is thank god for baking soda and scrubbies.  In retrospect, we should have mashed with 4 gallons instead of 5, or maybe even less, of course adjusting temperatures accordingly.

So we poured a gallon of the wort into a clean bucket, and held back 3 cups to sour a bit and add during the boil just for the hell of it (actually it was 3 cups over a gallon...double oops).

When all was said and done, though, our mash still landed right at 150F, the projected temperature.  After mashing for 60 minutes, wrapping the pot with a towel, 

and ending at a temperature of 140F, we sparged with 1 gallon of 170F water for 10 minutes.  Then we raised the temperature, adding the hops at 190F,

and brought the wort to a rolling boil for 60 minutes.

30 minutes into the boil we lowered the heat and added the 3 lbs Bavarian Wheat DME, stirring constantly to prevent clumping.  For the first 45 minutes of the boil, I periodically added the quart of sour mash as evaporation occurred.

Then in the final 5 minutes of the boil, we added the American house roast oak cubes, for sanitizing purposes.

We turned the burner off (flame out) at 60 minutes, and let stand 20 minutes before cooling in an ice water bath in the sink.

Once that sucker hit 88F it was on!  We pitched the eager yeasties onto their fresh malt meal, and this morning the airlock was bubbling away.  Golly those things sure are gassy. (heheh)

Uh an inebriated state, I seemed to have forgotten to take an Original Gravity reading!  Those VD American Ales sure are tasty...

But at 75% Brewhouse efficiency, this beer would have an OG of 1.076 .  We usually hit more around 80% or 90% efficiency, and maybe even higher on this batch, considering the high water/grist ratio.  And with the addition of cherries to secondary fermentation, you can only imagine how monstrous this beer will be.

This is one Crick you don't wanna be caught up without a paddle...

-Myles and Carla

EDIT: OG is more like 1.060, thank you Highlander on

Pages: Brewday - Cherry Addition


  1. So to get the sour you just did an extremely long Acid rest? Interested to find out how that is, I have used Acidulated Malt before in my beers but only at a couple %. You might also try if you have a growler around and want to use lactobacillus without endangering the brewhouse is take some of the finished beer and put about 40-64 Oz of it into the growler, drop a few unused grains in and let sit a week or two. Pasturize this and add it back to taste.

  2. Long Acid rest with 1 quart of mash.

    Thank for the advice, might have to give that a shot!