Distilling a sour red ale?

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TandemTails

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Back in 2016, when sour beer was all the rage, I started a 6.5 gallon solera project with a sour culture and got several rounds out of it. I currently have the 4th generation of it sitting in the carboy and being completely honest, I really don't want to drink more sour beer. I still have about 5 gallons worth of previous batches sitting in bottles that I still need to work through. The beer itself is excellent. It's not "bad", it's just not something my palate seeks out anymore.

Rather than have a 6.5 gallon fermenter sitting around taking up space, I thought maybe I'd try distilling it down.

Here's the grain and hops:

Code:
Ingredients:
------------
Amt              Name                                             Type          #          %/IBU         Volume        
0.50 tsp         Calcium Chloride (Mash)                          Water Agent   1          -             -             
0.50 tsp         Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) (Mash)                  Water Agent   2          -             -             
9 lbs 4.0 oz     CH??TEAU PILSEN 2RS (1.5 SRM)                     Grain         3          78.3 %        0.72 gal      
1 lbs 3.0 oz     Wheat - Red Malt (Briess) (2.3 SRM)              Grain         4          10.1 %        0.09 gal      
1 lbs            Caramel/Crystal Malt - 60L (60.0 SRM)            Grain         5          8.5 %         0.08 gal      
5.0 oz           Special B Malt (180.0 SRM)                       Grain         6          2.6 %         0.02 gal      
1.0 oz           Roasted Barley (400.0 SRM)                       Grain         7          0.5 %         0.00 gal      
0.50 oz          Columbus (Tomahawk) [14.50 %] - Boil 20.0 min    Hop           8          15.0 IBUs     -             
1.00 Items       Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 15.0 mins)                Fining        9          -             -             
0.50 tsp         Yeast Nutrient (Boil 15.0 mins)                  Other         10         -             -             
1.0 pkg          SafAle English Ale (DCL/Fermentis #S-04) [23.66  Yeast         11         -             -             
1.0 pkg          House Sour Culture [Add to Secondary]            Yeast         12         -             -
The beer is just shy of 7% abv and is about 15 IBU. I feel like the hops are low enough that it shouldn't be too overwhelming in the final product.

I've heard that the brett / lacto can give some really interesting flavors and aromas when distilled down.

Has anyone ever tried this? The plan would be to use a pot still and do a stripping run then a spirit run. I'd bring it down to about 120 proof and age on American medium toast oak cubes until it picked up a nice color.
 

Uncle Tom

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Run it that's how I got started only back in those days we didn't call it sour beer we called it a wrecked batch haha. I was so disheartened that we had made a sour beer that I made a pot still and started running any bad or sour batches through the still. I soon realized I really liked making jet fuel and quit making beer all together. Go for it and tell us how it worked out. All the purists and all grain folks will freak out when I say this but you could always run it with a thin mash or light sugar mash to help the low 7 percent . Good luck you may have the best new jet fuel in the making.
 
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TandemTails

TandemTails

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Run it that's how I got started only back in those days we didn't call it sour beer we called it a wrecked batch haha. I was so disheartened that we had made a sour beer that I made a pot still and started running any bad or sour batches through the still. I soon realized I really liked making jet fuel and quit making beer all together. Go for it and tell us how it worked out. All the purists and all grain folks will freak out when I say this but you could always run it with a thin mash or light sugar mash to help the low 7 percent . Good luck you may have the best new jet fuel in the making.
Cool! I'll have some feints from an all grain whisky run that I might throw in the stripping run for the sour beer.

I have 10 gallons of a very lightly smoked, unhopped, beer fermenting right now. They should clock in around 8.5-9% ABV. After those are finished fermenting I'm going to run them through the still, then I'll run the sour beer through.
 

kmmuellr

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How the sour beer run go? Asking for a friend...

I understand that friend did ~40 gal of sour and old beer. It has a particular odor that i don't care for. It'll be interesting to see how it ages.

K
 

Birrofilo

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I've heard that the brett / lacto can give some really interesting flavors and aromas when distilled down.

Has anyone ever tried this? The plan would be to use a pot still and do a stripping run then a spirit run. I'd bring it down to about 120 proof and age on American medium toast oak cubes until it picked up a nice color.
Distilling of beer is the last wave in the distilling scene, in the last years several producers have begin introducing beer distillate to the market. (whisky is a distillation of un-hopped beer that is, but it is now possible to find distilled hopped beer).

Regarding distilling "sour" mashes, this is actually something that is traditionally made in certain Jamaican Rums and yes, acids mixed with alcohols creates esters and adds complexity to the distillate you are producing. In the US whiskey culture there is the "sour mash" tecnique which, again, is aimed at producing esters. Sometimes this is obtaining by reusing feints inside the fermenter, sometimes by having the wort colonized by spontaneous colonies which turn the wort into something sour.

So I would certainly say that not just there is nothing strange in distilling a hopped beer, or a sour beer, but also that it is certainly something worth trying.
 
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TandemTails

TandemTails

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Just to update: I did a stripping run an will be doing a spirit run on the low wines soon. I just need to get some free time and refill my propane tank.

I'll keep this thread updated when that's done!
 
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TandemTails

TandemTails

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Another followup on this one.

My stripping run yielded me about 1.25 gallons of low wines. I added that to the still and added enough water to get the ABV down. During the spirit run I collected 14 jars each with about 125mL of spirit. The first jar with the foreshots and early heads had about 250-300mL collected.

After tasting them, I added jars 3-8 and a little bit from jar 2. I ended up with just shy of 800mL of 120 proof spirit that I'm aging on some american oak cubes.
 

mashpaddled

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If I had a pot still I bought it to run batches of beer I didn't want to drink and if I did, I definitely did it with some sour beer that turned too acetic for my preferences. If I did, it had some unusual flavors after stripping runs and a spirit run. Perhaps a reflux still would give a more pure product or charcoal filtration would help.

At Drie Fonteinen around 2008 the temperature controller for the aging room broke and the beer ran way too hot. To try to make something out of the lambic they ended up having it all distilled. I never tried it but all the reviews I saw mentioned it was a fairly clean product.

If you are one to adjust the ph of your runs it would seem especially important to do that here.
 
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