Sour Beer Production at Home – PT 2

Homebrew Sour Beer

Following on from Sour Beer Production at Home PT1 ,some advice I recently gave another brewer came back to haunt me, why am I deciding what to brew and fill the barrels with before I’ve even seen or smelled them!?

With that in mind I had a good sniff and decided that one would be suitable for a Flemish red, it already had a pronounced balsamic vinegar  character that I judged would work well with that style. The other a barrel was less intense with more damp wood and oak character that I thought would be excellent as a vessel to age an Old ale in, my hopes are that it will create something in the same vein as a Traditional British old ale that’s aged in wood.

Filling barrels with beer to be soured

transferring from the fermenter to barrel


Flemish red OG 1.055, FG 1.012

3.28 kg     Vienna Malt

2.05 kg     Pilsner Malt

0.41 kg     Wheat Malt

0.21 kg     CaraRed Malt

0.21 kg     Special B Malt

0.20 kg     CaraAroma Malt

6.00 g       Herkules for 15IBU’s


Old Ale OG 1.089, FG 1.015

8.00 kg     Maris Otter

0.50 kg     Crystal, Extra Dark

0.20 kg     Carafa special III

1.00 kg     Pale Candi Sugar

30g Herkules for 48 IBU’s

The Flemish red was primary fermented using Wyeast 3763 Roeselare blend, I did not make a starter as Wyeast advises against this for these yeast blends so I checked the manufacture date and worked out how many packets I would need using .

The Old ale I fermented using Mangrove Jack Burton Union ale yeast, you could also use Fermentis SO4 or Whitelabs WLP023 or WLP007. To achieve the correct pitching rate I used 70g per 23L and rehydrated it before pitching.

The old ale took 4 days to ferment, the Flemish red took 5 days, I then transferred them off the yeast and into the barrels having purged them with CO2 first. Although the wood itself is porous especially at smaller sizes I didn’t want to pick up any extra oxygen.

I then pitched the dregs of a bottle of 2006 Gales Prize old ale into the barrel with the old ale in it.

Bottle dregs for souring beer

2006 Gales Prize old ale


Next step is to wait and taste, I plan to taste both barrels every month and assess the changes.

P.S. If you can come up with a better wrestler/sour barrel pun than “Brett the Hitman Tart” add it to the comments below and any that top it I’ll personally send you a bottle of homebrew! 🙂

Formerly of Fullers, Thornbridge and Buxton. Now a freelance Black IPA advocate, homebrew geezer and creator of Baby Back Bacon Black IPA™


  • Reply November 25, 2014


    A couple ofg name suggestions on the wrestling theme:

    Jesse “Lactobacillius” Venture
    “The Nature Boy” Yeast Flair

  • […] on from Part 1 & Part 2 I transferred my old ale out of the barrel, exactly 4 months to the day that it was brewed, I’ve […]

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