Deflated Balls Sour Brown - Brain Sparging on Brewing


Sour beer, saisons, farmhouse beer, homebrewing, ramblings

February 2, 2015

Deflated Balls Sour Brown

As a Jets fan I haven't had much to look forward to this NFL season but the whole Patriots deflategate issue has at least been satisfying to watch our hated rivals squirm. My opinion is that it's nearly impossible that Brady or Belichick or both did not know this was going on and did not have a hand in it. This really isn't the place to get into that debate (or about spygate or the illegal use of the substitution rule in the past couple games) but all the talk about deflated balls is amusing to say the least. I decided the term "deflated balls" would go nicely with all of my other inappropriate beer names, especially for a brown ale brewed on Super Bowl weekend.

This beer is a kitchen sink-type recipe with a lot of different ingredients thrown together out of piles of extra specialty grain I have left over. It's usually a little cheaper to buy by the pound instead of by the ounce so I try to buy by the pound and put together several recipes using the same specialty malts so I don't have too much left over. This recipe doesn't fit into any style. I suppose it's closest to a really busy dubbel grain bill but at roughly a fifth caramel malts it would be too sweet for a clean beer. By souring it I'm hoping to develop that sweet-sour combination typical of Flemish reds but without having to blend in a clean portion. I also find that brett works well with crystal malts. I'm fermenting this beer with a combination of dregs from my lambic solera and a bottle of Cascade something that I'll drink during the game. It should have some solid sourness and a bit of funk.

To be honest, I don't have a good sense of what will happen with this beer. It may turn into a glorious sour brown or it may end up too heavy on the crystal flavors to be a great beer on its own. I'm ok with whatever happens here. If it's good on its own then I'll be happy to bottle it by itself. However, if it's too sweet or lacking in acidity then I'll keep it around for blending to add sweetness and complexity to other sour or brett beers. I've wanted to build up some stock sour/brett beers for blending anyway. We'll see what happens.

Deflated Balls Sour Brown Recipe

Batch size: 1 gallon
Est. OG: 1.071
Est. FG: 1.020
Est. ABV: 6.7%
IBU: 12.8
SRM: 9.5

Grain Bill

73.0% 2 lbs. Pale malt (2.0 SRM)
13.8% 6 oz. Carahell (20 SRM)
6.60% 3 oz. Caramunich III (56 SRM)
6.60% 3 oz. Biscuit malt (23 SRM)

Mash & Sparge

Single infusion 90 minutes at 148F of 3.56 quarts at 159F
Batch sparge 2 gallons at 180F
Water adjuster to amber malty in Bru'n Water

Water Profile

ph: 5.3
Calcium: 53
Magnesium: 5
Sodium: 10
Sulfate: 55
Chloride: 64
Bicarbonate: 35

Mash Additions

Gypsum: 0.2g
Epsom salt: 0.2g
Canning salt: 0.1g
Calcium chloride: 0.3g
Chalk: 0.1g

Sparge Additions

Gypsum: 0.5g
Epsom salt: 0.4g
Canning salt: 0.2g
Calcium Chloride: 0.8g

Boil Schedule

60 minute boil

0.10 oz. Belma [12.10% AAU] at 60 minutes


Pitch dregs from 750ml Cascade and 750ml Lambic Solera Year One and let ferment at room temperature.

Brewday & Fermentation Notes

Brewed on 1/31/15.

First runnings: 1.086
Preboil volume: 2.5 gallons
Preboil gravity: 1.036
Mash efficiency: 91.6%
Postboil volume: 1.2
OG: 1.068
Efficiency: 83%

Ended up with way, way too much runnings. Accidentally left beersmith on large system profile so used way too much sparge water. Adjusted boil time to 2.5 hours to boil down runnings.

Also decided to coolship the beer by leaving the open kettle outside after knockout. Temperatures in the upper 40s with a slight breeze so it should cool slowly and pick up some playmates from the ambient environment. Cooled to 85F within 1.5 hours. Transferred to fermentor.

Pitched dregs from a bottle of Lambic Solera Year One and Cascade Figaro approximately 24 hours later.

2/8/15: Visible signs of fermentation showed up approximately four days later with incrementally more aggressive fermentation culminating in a vigorous fermentation on day seven that looked as healthy and active as any clean pitched beer, albeit several days late. Airlock activity dropped off on day eight. Healthy layer on yeast in the bottom. Possibly fermentation driven by Cascade's primary yeast or a particularly aggressive wild strain. Unlikely the five year old saccharomyces from the Lambic Solera was a meaningful participant in fermentation. Flavor is weird. Caramel and diacetyl are prominent. Sweet and oily. Musty.

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