Anything I’m Fermenting

March 12, 2009

Making the ‘Champage of Beers’ Part 9

Filed under: Uncategorized — iwouldntlivethere @ 2:54 pm

So what does it all look like, when you put it together?

Here are the recipes I ended up using for the Champagne of Beers. The first one is for the sourmash part of the beer, the second for the main recipe:

Sour Mash (part of Champagne of Beer)

A ProMash Recipe Report

Recipe Specifics

Batch Size (L):           4.50
Total Grain (kg):         1.20
Anticipated OG:          1.059
Wort Boil Time:             60    Minutes


%     Amount     Name                                  Origin              Potential SRM
75.0     0.90 kg.  Lager Malt(2-row)             Canada         1.036      2
25.0     0.30 kg.  Flaked Rice                                             1.040      1

Out of a total of 6 kg of grain (including sugar), 1.2 kg was used for the sourmash (or 1/5th). It was mashed using a typical mash temperature of 67 C for 60 minutes, but was not boiled, and no hops added. After mashing, the grains and mash were transferred into a sanitized plastic jug. This, after souring, would be added to the regular mash to lower the pH, and kill off the lactic acid bacteria.

From what I had read about sourmashing, all I needed to do was add a handful of unmashed pale malt grain, and the naturally occurring lactic acid bacteria would do the rest over the next 3 days. Furthermore the temperature of the sourmash should be kept at around 50 C to ensure that the lactic acid bacteria thrive, and other contaminant micro organisms suppressed.

Well, I added a handful of malt grain, and kept the sourmash in a cooler with lights to maintain the required 50 C temperature. And nothing happened. It didn’t sour, it didn’t ferment, it didn’t stink. It didn’t do anything for two days. I thought maybe the high temperature was the problem, and removed the sourmash from the cooler and just put it by a heat vent in my house. Another handful of malted grain and a day later, nothing was happening; again no souring, no fermenting, no stinking, no gas. No action.

In desperation I added a tablespoon of the sourdough bread starter I keep. That did the trick. A day later the sourmash was fermenting vigorously. Tasted clean, sour, and a bit fruity. I’ll show pictures in the next posting.

What does this mean? Probably that it is harder to start a sourmash than it sounds. I don’t have any other lessons from this. Other than that keeping a sourmash at 50 C is not necessary, or beneficial. I’m just glad I had a sourdough culture available to kick start the sourmash.

And a picture of what it looked like!


Notice the bulging sides of the jug, and the inflated plastic wrap over the opening – very actively fermenting.

May 3, 2008

National HomeBrew Day!

Filed under: Uncategorized — iwouldntlivethere @ 3:11 pm

Heading up to Newmarket – a suburb’s suburb north of TO – to celebrate the Big Brew – the US National Homebrew Day with the Southern Ontario Brewers – or SOBs. Rather than actually try to do anything serious, like packing up my own set-up and demonstrating the wonders of Brew-In-A-Bag (BIAB) homebrewing, I am going to assist JJ with his brew. He’s preparing a batch for a homebrew competition – I believe this is now his 3rd round, so perhaps the top level. As he is generously letting me keep half the batch, I have no issues being his side-kick for the day.

Looking forward to meeting these SOBs – have had a chat with George Leet, who I guess is their leader. Most annoyingly, they have decided not to have a publicly accessible website or blog or anything, rather they have hidden themselves within Facebook: This of course means that non-Facebook members like me can only peripherally participate (I know what you are thinking: “Oh, get over it and join already!”, but my procrastination tendencies are bad enough without adding Facebook to the mix!).

Will post pics of the happenings.

Blog at