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One of the wilder pieces of this low-oxygen process...


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#1 ER Pemberton

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Posted 26 July 2019 - 12:04 PM

Many people using the low-oxygen processes are looking for that distinctive German (or maybe central-European) beer flavor.  Keeping O2 at a minimum across the process is clearly the focus but I mentioned that I was drinking a bit of commercial beer (Paulaner, Zywiec, Radeberger, DAB, Carlsberg, etc) and I also noticed a sort of "tangy" character in all of these.  That's not a great description but some of you may have noticed it.  I brought this up on the low oxygen forum and I found that the flavor comes from using "sauergut" which is something German (and other) breweries produce to lower the pH of the mash without using acid malt or lactic acid.  They will mix up a wort and then throw in some unmilled pilsner malt and then keep the mixture at a warmer temperature (I think it was around 120°F) for x amount of time.  You can check the pH of the sauergut and when it's around 3 (I think), it's added to the mash (or water, etc) to lower the pH.  In some cases the flavor is very pronounced and in others it's barely detectable.  But I found it cool because I assume that every brewery's recipe for making sauergut would create a very distinct flavor and therefore give their beer a unique flavor.  It's a very interesting concept although some have mentioned that creating the sauergut can be difficult and unpredictable.  Pete probably has more info on it but I thought I would share it because it seems like it would play a big part in why those central European beers have that unique character.  



#2 HVB

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Posted 26 July 2019 - 12:20 PM

Pretty sure I am not going down that path!!  Getting a reactor going and fed would be way too much work for me at this point.


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#3 ER Pemberton

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Posted 26 July 2019 - 12:32 PM

Pretty sure I am not going down that path!!  Getting a reactor going and fed would be way too much work for me at this point.

I should also mention that in some cases the flavor of it is more than I might like.  Some of the brewers over there described it as a "grape juice" character which is not a way I would describe it but I understand why someone would.  In the cases where there is more of it, I don't really like it.  But I wonder if it's critical in smaller amounts to give you a great character.  A couple nights ago I was drinking DAB and it had less of this character.  The Polish beer Zywiec (am I spelling that right?) seems to have less hops and MORE of this character so the sauergut comes through more, IMO.  Whether someone tries it or not, I thought it was an interesting way to create a unique flavor in beer and have a sort of trademarked character.  



#4 HVB

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Posted 26 July 2019 - 12:39 PM

I should also mention that in some cases the flavor of it is more than I might like.  Some of the brewers over there described it as a "grape juice" character which is not a way I would describe it but I understand why someone would.  In the cases where there is more of it, I don't really like it.  But I wonder if it's critical in smaller amounts to give you a great character.  A couple nights ago I was drinking DAB and it had less of this character.  The Polish beer Zywiec (am I spelling that right?) seems to have less hops and MORE of this character so the sauergut comes through more, IMO.  Whether someone tries it or not, I thought it was an interesting way to create a unique flavor in beer and have a sort of trademarked character.  

I got an Advent calendar of German beer last year from my MIL and the first beer was a Helles and it had the overpowering grape character.  It was OK for one beer but it is not something that I would want to drink all the time.

 

Also,  In this interview the brewer talks about getting a grape character from certain German malts.  The podcast is a good listen.


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#5 ER Pemberton

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Posted 26 July 2019 - 01:32 PM

Interesting, I'll give it a listen.  



#6 pkrone

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Posted 27 July 2019 - 08:53 AM

I haven't done the sauergut thing yet, but it's on my "to do" list, along with training for a half-ironman, finishing my boat, painting the house, etc...   Maybe this winter.


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#7 neddles

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Posted 27 July 2019 - 08:55 AM

...training for a half-ironman

 

When is your race? 


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#8 ER Pemberton

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Posted 27 July 2019 - 11:59 AM

Pete, do you happen to know of a reference for how much acid malt to use compared to how much lactic acid someone might use?  I typically mash with 5 gallons of strike water and 4ml of lactic acid is usually what I need to get my pH into that 5.2 - 5.3 range.  Also, do you use acid malt or lactic acid?  I seem to remember seeing that sauergut > acid malt > lactic acid.  

 

EDIT:  I see that in the newer version of EZ_Water there is a section where you can add acid malt and check the pH.  For me, I would need to add about 9½ ounces of acid malt (about 5% of a typical grain bill) to get to a mash pH of 5.26.  That seems like a lot.  I set the acid malt "acid content" to 2% as the sheet suggested that amount was common.  Anyone have a thought on that?



#9 HVB

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Posted 27 July 2019 - 12:06 PM

Pete, do you happen to know of a reference for how much acid malt to use compared to how much lactic acid someone might use? I typically mash with 5 gallons of strike water and 4ml of lactic acid is usually what I need to get my pH into that 5.2 - 5.3 range. Also, do you use acid malt or lactic acid? I seem to remember seeing that sauergut > acid malt > lactic acid.


Use bru'n water to figure out the amounts. Just have no lactic and add the acid on the grain tab and see what changes.
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#10 ER Pemberton

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Posted 27 July 2019 - 12:48 PM

Use bru'n water to figure out the amounts. Just have no lactic and add the acid on the grain tab and see what changes.

Okay, I will check out BNW although it's been awhile.

 

Also... it's been so long since I used acid malt.  If I send my strike water into the MT with the grains (including acid malt) waiting and the strike water has NO lactic acid in it (and the pH of that water is something like 7.45) do I risk having something unsavory happen when that high pH water hits the grains?  I assume that the acid malt will start lowering the pH but how quickly would that happen and would something problematic happen before that time?  I know that I made a number of dreadful pale lagers before my pH control was in place.  I mixed sparge water with a pH of 7.45 with the grains and got that grainy, husky, tannic flavor.  Is that not a concern when acid malt is waiting in the MT?



#11 Zsasz

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Posted 27 July 2019 - 02:03 PM

Many people using the low-oxygen processes are looking for that distinctive German (or maybe central-European) beer flavor.  Keeping O2 at a minimum across the process is clearly the focus but I mentioned that I was drinking a bit of commercial beer (Paulaner, Zywiec, Radeberger, DAB, Carlsberg, etc) and I also noticed a sort of "tangy" character in all of these.  That's not a great description but some of you may have noticed it.  I brought this up on the low oxygen forum and I found that the flavor comes from using "sauergut" which is something German (and other) breweries produce to lower the pH of the mash without using acid malt or lactic acid.  They will mix up a wort and then throw in some unmilled pilsner malt and then keep the mixture at a warmer temperature (I think it was around 120°F) for x amount of time.  You can check the pH of the sauergut and when it's around 3 (I think), it's added to the mash (or water, etc) to lower the pH.  In some cases the flavor is very pronounced and in others it's barely detectable.  But I found it cool because I assume that every brewery's recipe for making sauergut would create a very distinct flavor and therefore give their beer a unique flavor.  It's a very interesting concept although some have mentioned that creating the sauergut can be difficult and unpredictable.  Pete probably has more info on it but I thought I would share it because it seems like it would play a big part in why those central European beers have that unique character.  

 

does doing the sour mash not just produce lactic acid?  maybe it's a different kind of acid?  it would seem like using acid malt or lactic acid could accomplish the same thing.


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#12 HVB

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Posted 27 July 2019 - 02:17 PM

does doing the sour mash not just produce lactic acid? maybe it's a different kind of acid? it would seem like using acid malt or lactic acid could accomplish the same thing.


It is said that the live biological acid does stuff that the other two don't. I believe the sauergut also helps scrub oxygen in the mash it I remember what I read correctly.
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#13 ER Pemberton

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Posted 27 July 2019 - 02:43 PM

Plus, the sauergut is making up a higher percentage of your overall batch so the flavor contribution is different.

#14 pkrone

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Posted 27 July 2019 - 04:45 PM

When is your race? 

 

October in Wilmington, NC.   Should be fun if no hurricane this year.    :P


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#15 pkrone

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Posted 27 July 2019 - 04:51 PM

Pete, do you happen to know of a reference for how much acid malt to use compared to how much lactic acid someone might use?  I typically mash with 5 gallons of strike water and 4ml of lactic acid is usually what I need to get my pH into that 5.2 - 5.3 range.  Also, do you use acid malt or lactic acid?  I seem to remember seeing that sauergut > acid malt > lactic acid.  

 

EDIT:  I see that in the newer version of EZ_Water there is a section where you can add acid malt and check the pH.  For me, I would need to add about 9½ ounces of acid malt (about 5% of a typical grain bill) to get to a mash pH of 5.26.  That seems like a lot.  I set the acid malt "acid content" to 2% as the sheet suggested that amount was common.  Anyone have a thought on that?

 

I have no reference.   And interestingly, I've not been using any lactic acid or sauer malt in my mash since I started doing the yeast-deox method.  That, combined with SMB definitely adds some acid.  I've found myself adding a little baking soda to the mash to raise the pH.    I'll sometimes need to add a little lactic at the end of the boil to get the pH down to 5.2.    This is part of why I haven't jumped on the sauergut thing, as I don't add much acid during my brewing.  


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#16 miccullen

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Posted 27 July 2019 - 05:17 PM

I have no reference.   And interestingly, I've not been using any lactic acid or sauer malt in my mash since I started doing the yeast-deox method.  That, combined with SMB definitely adds some acid.  I've found myself adding a little baking soda to the mash to raise the pH.    I'll sometimes need to add a little lactic at the end of the boil to get the pH down to 5.2.    This is part of why I haven't jumped on the sauergut thing, as I don't add much acid during my brewing.  

isn't SMB a base?


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#17 neddles

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Posted 27 July 2019 - 07:32 PM

October in Wilmington, NC.   Should be fun if no hurricane this year.    :P

 

Fun. Good luck!

 

isn't SMB a base?

 

No its an acid when dissolved in water.


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#18 miccullen

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Posted 27 July 2019 - 08:42 PM

 

 

 

No its an acid when dissolved in water

huh, the reaction with acids to produce S02 had me fooled I guess


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#19 pkrone

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Posted 28 July 2019 - 01:12 PM

Aged kellerbier.   I know, an oxymoron.   Found this keg in the back of the fridge.  Brewed in March, I think.   Very tasty.   Guess I'll just call in a country helles now.   :P

 

8041ff534dc160b6de23b2a3d67060b2.jpg


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#20 Genesee Ted

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Posted 28 July 2019 - 01:24 PM

Is there a published process example for sauergut? Sounds pretty interesting. I usually use lactic but this sounds fun.


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