Rood Mélange 2016

>> Sunday, January 03, 2016

It seems like I'm brewing sour beers half the time lately. I have some non-sour lagers queued up in the not too distant future, but my first batch for 2016 is yet another sour. Today I'm brewing a sour red ale based on the red base recipe from The Rare Barrel. This one will be fermented with Mélange - Sour Blend from The Yeast Bay. This is a blend I've never used before, but I'm excited to try it out. Per TYB:
Mélange is our most varied mix of fermentative organisms, intended for use in the production of sour beers in which a balance of funk and sourness is desired. This blend contains two Saccharomyces cerevisiae isolates, Saccharomyces fermentati, five Brettanomyces isolates, Lactobacillus brevis, Lactobacillus delbreuckii and Pediococcus damnosus.
For most of my sours I use aged hops. This time I'm going with a small addition of US Goldings. I'm interested in seeing how much this inhibits the lacto early on. Nothing too fancy with the water profile today, just cutting 8 gallons of carbon-filtered tap water with about three gallons of RO water. The recipe as I'm making it today:

6.0# 13 oz Dingemans Pilsner Malt
1.0# 3 oz Weyermann Pale Wheat Malt
7 oz Crisp Light Crystal Malt 60L
7 oz Flaked Oats (lauter)
7 oz Special Aromatic Malt
7 oz Spelt Malt
3-ish oz Carafa II (lauter, for color adjustment)
2.5g US Goldings (60 min)
5.0g Aged Debittered Hops (60 min)
0.5 Whirlfloc
Wyeast Yeast Nutrient
The Yeast Bay Melange Sour Blend
Mash at 130F for 15 mins, 158F for 45 mins, 90 min boil, ferment at room temp. Because of the lactobacillus, no aeration.

Brewing Notes
No real issues although my gravity came in a couple points low; target was 14P (1.057), measured was 13.7P (1.054).

Update 1/4/2016
I wasn't seeing any activity last night (24 hours after pitching) and I was getting a little worried. I had the fermenter in my basement which tends to be a little cooler than the rest of the house this time of year. I moved it upstairs last night and this morning I'm seeing active fermentation.

Update 1/6/2016
Fermentation is still plugging along. Krausen is at most one inch high, so no need for a blowoff hose as of yet. Aroma out of the airlock is a bit sour, but hard to say for sure.

Update 1/26/2016
Krausen has completely dropped and so far there are no signs of a pellicle. I'll probably let this go until at least April before pulling a sample.

Update 2/21/2016
I pulled a sample the other day. Tartness is fairly low, as would be expected with a young sour beer. One thing did surprise me a little bit, and that was an almost saison-like spiciness character. I hope this subsides over time because that isn't what I'm shooting for.

Update 5/14/2016
I pulled a sample of this beer last night. Still not digging the saison-like character, although it does seem to be mellowing. Sourness is still very low.

Update 7/18/2017
I pulled a sample tonight and I'm really happy with the direction this beer has taken. The saison-like character has essentially disappeared. There's a real nice acidity that has developed and the pH is coming in at 3.43. The acidity coupled with the fruity esters is really nice. There's some brett character there as well but it doesn't dominate. I'll be pulling samples from a few more reds soon and will probably be doing some blending.