Friday, March 4, 2011

Kentucky Common - Sour Worted in a Corny Keg

Ive kinda been sitting on trying this technique out for a while now. I originally read about the idea in a thread discussing sour beers, I think Berliners to be exact. ChrisKennedy came up with the idea of sour mashing in a corny purged with CO2 to eliminate some of the vomit/garbage smells that come from sour mashing. By eliminating the O2, the thought is that the resulting beer will be much cleaner. Now I didn't do exactly as Chris said, instead of mashing in the keg I sour worted in the keg; by that I mean I mashed and sparged as usual and then added the wort to the keg still hot, tossed in a bit of acid malt and sealed it up.

I was hoping to minimize having to deal with transferring the mash out of the corny, and well it was a while since I had read his idea, and somehow when I went to do it I just didn't think about actually mashing in the keg......Brain farts happen I guess

I had sat on the idea for sometime because I just couldn't think of what kinda beer I would use it on. It had to be something smaller because if it didn't work I wouldn't be out much. That's when I came across a list of beers I had made that I wanted to brew for the summer and one really jumped out at me, a Kentucky Common.

A Kentucky common is basically a cream ale with a bit of dark malt for some color that is nicely tangy. I cant say Ive ever had a commercial version but I haven't really heard about one either. Ive only seem a couple other homebrewers out there that have tried the beer, and a few vague references in the Walhenius handbook. In my head though I imagine something fairly light with a nice corn sweetness backed up by a hint of sour and roast. To me that sounds like a wonderful summer beer.

My basic recipe involve a good portion of flaked corn, with a bit caramunich for added sweetness and color and just a touch of carafa III. I ended up using more caramunich that I would normally as I really only wanted the slightest hint of roast and I think using any more carafa than I did would be too much and it would clash with the acid in the beer.

To accomplish the sour worting I immersed the filled and purged corny keg in an old LME barrel filled with water. I then added a fish tank heater and a small circulating pump that kept the water at 90F. I would've like a bit higher but that was as high as the heater would go. Over the course of the 48hr souring it held the temp there amazingly well. After souring I blew off the pressure and boiled as usual. I do have to say I was a bit disappointed as there was still a strong vomit smell, although not as bad as Ive had before. Thinking about it I'm guess that I picked up a good bit of oxygen during all the transfers during sparging and finally adding to the keg. If I do it again I think I'll try mashing in the keg to see how that works differently.

The beer is currently fermenting away, hopefully purging any last bit of those vomit smells out of the beer........

Kentucky Common
Malt Bill
Amt (lbs)Type
2.0Flaked Corn
1.5ozCarafa III
Amt (oz)TypeTime
0.6Mt Rainier (6.8%)60
Mash Schedule
170F1.7qt/lb15min - vorlauf
YeastPreboil Soured: Nottingham after boil
83% effIBU14
7gal BoilFG


Jeffrey Crane said...

I'm glad to hear about you trying one. I have one scheduled to brew in a couple months because it does sound like the perfect summer beer. I also wanted to try Chris's method that he posted on Babblebelt. I guess if you think that there is still too much oxygen than maybe it is important to boil the mash water and let it cool to the strike temp to reduce the dissolved O2.
Please update with your results and a tasting. You expect a pretty quick turn around on this beer right?

Ryan said...

Yah it does sound really refreshing, I think a nice tart beer backed up by a corn sweetness would be great on a hot summer day!

I think I picked up too much oxygen during the transfers of the wort (splashing during dumping into corny), the wort was hot and I did push CO2 through the wort so I dunno, I guess Ill just have to try another one by mashing in the keg and comparing...

Quick turnaround?....for me thats usually about 2mos, hopefully Ill have it tapped and ready to go by then

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