The Brewer: Dr. Caleb Whitenack
As a doctor, I enjoy the science of brewing. I try to learn what is happening and why through every step of the brew. I'm always looking for new and different processes and new innovative products.
I have grown quite a bit as a brewer since my Mr. Beer days. I now have a 20-gallon electric Spike Solo brewing system and can dial in all aspects of a Brew Day that I feel the beer needs.
My beer tries to emphasize big flavors, aromas, colors and quality ingredients. Big barrel aged stouts, fluffy tropical NEIPAs and bold fruited sours.
The Beer: Fruited Kettle Sour
The beer name, Smurfin Safari, is a play on the inspiration of the beer, the beachy Blue Hawaiian cocktail, and the fact that the beer is blue!
In addition to being an extremely fun beer to look at, it tastes so refreshing—full of pineapple, citrus and coconut. The blue spirulina extract even causes the foam/head to be blue tinted. It’s a great beer for the beach or pool!
The Recipe: Smurfin Safari
- 6 lbs Pale Malt
- 6 lbs White Wheat Malt
- 1 lbs Flaked Wheat
- 4 oz Acid Malt
- 1 lbs Lactose
- Boil hops: 1 oz Bru-1-0:30 min
- 5 lbs Pineapple puree – 5 days
- 6 oz Coconut flakes – 5 days
- 1 cup Orange zest – 5 days
- Omega West Coast Ale 1
BATCH SIZE: 7 gal
MASH TEMP: 152ºF
BOIL: 60 min
68ºF - 10 days
SYSTEM: Spike Solo
- I kettle sour in my boil kettle overnight. After mashing, I cool the sweet wort down to 100 degrees and add a carton of Goodbelly probiotic. The Lacto in that will sour the beer. I aim for a pH of 3.5. Once the target pH has been achieved, start the boil.
- Using Bru-1 hops will add some beautiful pineapple notes.
- Add all your fruit to secondary and allow to fully ferment.
- Make sure that you use a very high quality pure blue spirulina extract or you will get some off flavors and then color may be more green than blue.
Dr. Caleb Whitenack – Psych Doc Brewery
Spike Summarizes: All Things Sour Beer
What is sour beer?
Sour beer is a unique and diverse style of beer with a tangy, complex flavor. It’s created by adding wild yeast and bacteria to the brewing process. This results in a beer that has a tart, acidic taste and an earthy aroma.
The overall color can range from pale yellow to deep brown. The strength also ranges from light and refreshing to strong and complex.
What does sour beer taste like?
Sour beer is a unique and complex style that can be difficult to describe. It has a tart, acidic flavor that is often compared to a sour candy or fruit juice.
The flavor may also vary depending on the type of yeast used and the amount of time it has been aged. Sour beers often have a dry finish and can be light or full-bodied. However, they are usually low in hops and have a low to moderate alcohol content.
What is the history of sour beer?
Sour beer has been around for centuries, but it wasn't until the 1800s that brewers began to understand the science behind the process. In the mid-1800s, Louis Pasteur discovered the role of yeast in fermentation and this led to a better understanding of the process of spontaneous fermentation.
By the early 20th century, brewers had developed techniques to control and manipulate the process, producing a variety of sour beers.
Today, sour beer is a popular beer style with a wide range of flavors and styles. From light and tart Berliner Weisse to complex and funky Lambic, there’s a sour beer for everyone!
What are some types of sour beer?
American Wild Ales
American Wild Ales are brewed with wild yeast strains, such as Brettanomyces and Lactobacillus, which give the beer its signature sour taste. They are often brewed with various fruits, spices, and other ingredients to create a truly unique flavor profile.
Berliner Weisse is a type of sour beer that originated in Berlin, Germany. It’s a light-bodied, highly carbonated wheat beer. Usually pale yellow in color, it has a tart, lemony flavor with a dry finish.
It’s traditionally brewed with a combination of wheat and barley malts, and fermented with a combination of lactic acid bacteria and yeast. This beer style is often referred to as "the champagne of the north" due to its light, refreshing flavor and low alcohol content.
East Flanders Brown Ale/Oud Bruin
East Flanders Brown Ale, also known as Oud Bruin, is a unique type of beer that originated in the East Flanders region of Belgium. This style of beer is dark, malty, and slightly sour, with a unique flavor profile that’s unlike any other beer.
With a deep, reddish-brown hue, this beer tastes complex and nuanced, with a malty sweetness that is balanced by a tart, acidic flavor.
Gose is a type of sour beer that originates from Goslar, Germany. It’s a top-fermented wheat beer with at least 50% malted wheat and a small amount of lactic acid bacteria. It’s also considered a light-bodied beer, often with a slightly salty or tart taste.
Gose is also brewed with coriander and salt, which adds to its unique flavor profile. Don’t be alarmed by the cloudy appearance as it’s often unfiltered.
Gueuze is a traditional sour beer style originating in Belgium. This is a blend of young and old lambics, which are spontaneously fermented ales. Gueuze is characterized by its bright, tart, and complex flavor profile, resulting from the combination of the two lambic beers.
Often referred to as "the champagne of Belgium" due to its effervescence and light, refreshing taste. The flavor profile is distinct with notes of lemon, apple, and hay and a hint of funkiness from the wild yeast.
Lambic is a traditional Belgian beer style that is produced in the Senne Valley near Brussels. It’s made with a unique blend of malted barley, wheat, and aged hops. The most distinctive feature of Lambic is its fermentation process.
Unlike other beers, Lambic beers are spontaneously fermented using wild yeasts and bacteria that are naturally present in the air. This process creates a unique flavor profile that is tart, complex, and refreshing. Lambic beers are typically low in alcohol and can range from light and refreshing to dark and complex.
West Flanders Sour Red Ale
West Flanders Sour Red Ale is a unique and complex type of sour beer originating from the Flanders region of Belgium. This traditional style is brewed with a combination of malts and aged hops, and fermented with a special blend of wild yeast and bacteria.
The result is a beer with a deep ruby color and a tart, fruity aroma. The flavor is complex and tart, with notes of cherry, plum, and raspberry. It has a dry finish and a light to medium body. The beer is often aged in oak barrels, which adds a subtle woody character and contributes to the beer's complexity.
What are the steps to make sour beer?
What do I pair with sour beer?
Sour beers are a great accompaniment to cheeses, as the acidity of the beer can help to bring out the flavors of the cheese. Try pairing a sour beer with a sharp cheddar, a soft brie, or a blue cheese for maximum flavor potential!
For a sweet and savory treat, pair a sour beer with a dessert such as apple pie or chocolate cake. The acidity of the beer will help to balance out the sweetness of the dessert and bring out the flavors of the dish.
Are sour beers an acquired taste?
Sour beers can be an acquired taste for some, but many people find them to be quite enjoyable. The unique flavor profiles of sour beers can be an acquired taste, but they are often quite refreshing and can pair well with certain foods.
If you’re looking to try sour beers, it’s best to start with a lower ABV beer, as these tend to be less intense and more approachable.
Are sour beers strong?
Sour beers can range from light to strong in terms of their alcohol content. Generally, sour beers tend to be on the lower end of the alcohol content scale, with most sour beers ranging from 3-7% ABV.
Are sour beers high in sugar?
Sour beers typically contain a small amount of residual sugar, but are not considered to be high in sugar. The amount of sugar in a sour beer will depend on the style and the brewing process.
Is sour beer like cider?
Sour beer and cider are both fermented beverages, but they are not the same. Cider is made with fermented apples, while sour beer is made with beer ingredients such as hops, malt, and yeast.
Also, sour beer is often fermented with wild yeast and bacteria, giving it its unique flavor profile.