last thursday I headed over to culver city for the pacific gravity april meeting.
- the keg of the month style was scottish/irish/english ales, and although I considered entering my “cascadian small beer” as a dark mild, I ended up chilling a variety of sour offerings to pour out during the meeting. after seeing how quickly my ’10 lambic went to work on some apricots, I hoped my unblended lambic bottles would have some carbonation, so I brought one along to find out. I was stoked to see a considerable amount of effervescence when I poured out some samples, and the carbonation really brought out the fruit and sourness of the beer, which was nicely complemented by some assertive funk. I’m interested to see how this beer evolves over the next few years, and will periodically dust off a bottle (at least once every six months) to document the progression.
I also managed to set aside some time to bottle the next beer in my funky/sour pipeline – vizcaino.
- vizcaino was somewhat of an afterthought – I had already brewed a golden strong and had set aside a gallon of wort to step up a vial of WLP655, but after bottling a few bottles of the unfunked expression (which actually scored quite well in a comp), I decided to combine the fermented out golden strong with the sour starter on top of 1.5oz of french toasted oak and a few pounds of local wildflower honey, along with some temptation dregs.
- however, from a souring standpoint, I was entering the game with a few strikes – I had hopped the golden strong to over 30 IBUs, mashed pretty low, and had fermented with an attenuative strain (WLP570). I also had pitched my bugs when the beer was at 1.02, at which point it was already at an abv of 7.1%, and the honey I added was easily fermentable as a simple sugar.
- despite the aforementioned microbial adversity, the not-completely-exhausted gravity worked in my favor, and after a few months a decent pellicle had formed. at bottling I noticed a downplayed sour aroma with hints of fruit and floral elements, and a sample I poured out had some smooth vanilla oak and funky subtleties that I hope will come out with carbonation (I primed the keg and bottles following my methods with cabrillo).
- however, vizcaino II will be reworked for a more assertive sourness as follows – it will have a lower hopping rate (under 10 IBUs, likely under 5), a higher mash temp (low to mid 150s F), and a little extra wheat (1-2 #s) for body. I’m also planning on pitching ECY09 abbaye and ECY01 bugfarm slurries simultaneously to give the bugs a head start, and will likely rack onto apricots, peaches, or another light stone fruit at a later date.