“Forget About Retirement” Sour Ale

Modeled after the old-world style of a Flander’s Red Ale, our Sour Ale will pack a punch of sweet malt followed closely by a dose of sour funkiness. Fermented on American oak chips, this beer will be both rewarding and refreshing, unlike the economy.


Original Gravity 1.062
Final Gravity ????
Alcohol Content 6.5% +

8 lb. Alexander’s Pale Malt
½ lb. Dingemans Aromatic Malt
½ lb. Dingemans Special B 148° L
¼ lb. Dingemans Biscuit Malt
1½ oz. Czech Saaz Hop Pellets (Bittering)
½ oz. Czech Hop Pellets (Flavoring)
1 oz. Styrian Goldings Hop Pellets (Finishing)
4 oz. American Oak Chips
Wyeast 3763 Roeselare Yeast

A few hours before you begin to brew, prepare your liquid yeast according to the package instructions. We assume that you are familiar with basic homebrewing techniques, so these procedures are abbreviated.

The yeast included in this recipe is a strain of Brettanomyces. It is imperative that you keep this beer and the equipment used separate from other fermentables. Any equipment, buckets, and carboys included, will need to be cleaned and sanitized thoroughly to ensure that future batches are not contaminated.

1. Divide the cracked grains among 3 of the muslin bags (about ½ pound per bag) and add them to your brew kettle along with 1½ gallons of cold water. Heat slowly.

2. Steep the grains in hot water (about 145°–160°F) to extract flavor and color – do not allow to boil. After about 30 minutes, remove the grain bags and then bring the water to a boil.

3. Remove the pot from the heat and add the cans of malt extract. Keep the kettle off the burner and stir until the malt extract is completely dissolved.

4. Put the pot back on the burner and bring it to a boil. Once boiling commences, place the bittering hops into muslin bags (no more than 1 oz per bag), add them to the pot, and set your timer to boil for 1 hour. Keep an eye on the pot to avoid boil-overs.

5. After 45 minutes of boiling, add ½ teaspoon of Irish Moss, or 1 Whirlfloc tablet, to help clarify your beer (optional).

6. After 50 minutes of boiling, add the flavoring hops (in a muslin bag).

7. After 60 minutes of boiling, turn off the heat and add the finishing hops (in a muslin bag). Put a lid on your pot and cool it in an ice bath (use your sink) for about 30 minutes. Remove the hop bags from the kettle.

8. Pour 2 gallons of cold water into your sanitized fermenter, add the cooled wort (the stuff in your pot), and top up with additional water to 5 gallons. Aerate the wort with vigorous stirring, rocking the fermenter, etc. At this point, add the 4oz pack of Oak Chips.

9. Make sure the wort is below 80°F before adding yeast. Take a hydrometer reading if desired. Add the yeast.

10. Store the fermenter where the temperature will be a fairly constant 65°–70°F. Active fermentation may take only a few days, or it can last up to 3 weeks. A hydrometer reading is a great way to determine when the fermentation is done. Keep the beer in the primary fermenter until active fermentation is complete (no signs of active fermentation for the last 2 to 3 days).
Caution: Because Brettanomyces can continue to slowly ferment to specific gravities less than 1.001 we caution you not to bottle too soon or bottles may become overcarbonated and explode weeks, months, or even a year later!

11. When ready to bottle, siphon the beer into your sanitized bottling bucket, leaving sediment behind. Boil the priming sugar in 1 to 2 cups of water for a few minutes, gently stir into the beer, and bottle as usual.