Paloma Beer

>> Saturday, November 06, 2021

Today's brew is a group collab, kettle-soured Imperial Gose that will be aged in my newly acquired Desert Door Texas Sotol barrel. This is a 12 gallon batch that will need to be brewed at least twice in order to fill the Sotol barrel (~25 gallons). The inspiration for this beer is a Paloma cocktail. I haven't played around much with grapefruit zest, so I may need to add more and/or add some grapefruit juice to get the level of grapefruit that I'm after. 

For those not familiar, Sotol is similar to Tequila but to me it comes across as a bit more fruity, floral, and slightly herbal. Kind of like a combo between tequila and gin with a little extra fruitiness thrown in. I'm hoping it'll work really well with the fruity character in the base beer. 

I really liked the results of the recent Catharina Sour, so this recipe is kind of based on that one; here's the recipe as we're brewing it today:

Target OG 1.074
14.4# Root Shoot Pilsner
14.4# Best Malz Spelt
Rice Hulls as needed
2.4ml Hopshot (60 min)
26.4g Pickling Salt (5 min)
33.6g Indian Coriander (5 min)
(3) Yakult Probiotic Drinks
Safale US-05
12oz Grapfruit peel ("Dry-hop" after fermenation slows)

Step Mash
122F for 5 min
153F for 70 min

Water Profile
0.31g/gallon Gypsum
0.36g/gallon Calcium Chloride

Brew Day 1 
Collect 13.75-14 gallons and raise to 170F for about 5-10 minutes to pasteurize. Chill to 100F then pitch Yakult to kettle sour for a couple days.

Brew Day 2

Update 11/14/2021
I went to proceed with the boil today. As soon as I started loosening the tri-clamp fitting, it was apparent that something was wrong; a ton of pressure had built up in the souring keg and it started in with a high pitch whistle. Sadly, the only cause is the wort must have been contaminated with yeast because this particular strain of lactobacillus does not produce CO2 during fermentation. I checked the pH (reading 3.19) then the gravity, and it had dropped significantly. Again, this is not characteristic of a 100% pure lactobacillus fermentation, so definitely a bad sign. Aroma-wise, it smelled “meaty”. Long story short, things didn’t go as planned and I decided to dump the unknown beer. I’ll start with a replacement batch shortly.

Update 11/17/2021
Today is batch #1 re-brew session. I’ve cleaned and sanitized the crap out of my souring keg, even running it through a steam session. Here are today’s readings:

Session 1 Re-brew Readings
Beginning mash pH 5.48
Ending mash pH 5.43
1st running gravity 25.6 (1.105)
Pre-sour gravity 14.9 (1.059)
Pre-sour pH 4.90
Pre-boil gravity (post-sour) 14.5 (1.057)
Pre-boil pH (post-sour) 3.34
Post-boil gravity 15 (1.068)
Post-boil pH 3.40

Update 11/20/2021
I pulled a sample to check pH and it was about 3.51, so I decided to let it ride a little longer. Thankfully this time there was no pressure on the keg, so no unintentionally introduced yeast.

Update 11/26/2021
I started round 2 yesterday. I threw in a little more Pilsner malt this time since gravity was a little lower than target on round 1. Also forgot to mention, I’ve been using a pound of rice hulls to prevent compacting the grain bed while recirculating. Here are the readings from the second session.

Session 2 Readings
Beginning mash pH 5.44
Ending mash pH 5.34
1st running gravity 25.6 (1.105)
Pre-sour gravity 16.2 (1.064)
Pre-sour pH 4.80
Pre-boil gravity (post-sour) 16.0 (1.064)
Pre-boil pH (post-sour) 3.36
Post-boil gravity 17.9 (1.072)
Post-boil pH 3.39

Update 11/30/2021
I checked the pH tonight and it's sitting at 3.41, so it will probably be ready for the boil in 24-48 hours max.

Update 12/3/2021
I did the boil today for session #2. No issues in this session.