A Simple Sour Beer


Bottles of sour beer aging at Brouwerij Cantillon in Brussels, Belgium.

I’m a fan of sour beers. Last week, I posted an article addressing the biggest fear of most homebrewers contemplating brewing sour beers. However, I know that some potential sour beer brewers may also have second thoughts because of the perceived complexity of the process. They may have read that a large amount of aged hops are required, or that they must culture microbes from bottles of sour beer. They might have read that unusual or impractical fermentation vessels (carboys with table legs stuck in them or 55-gallon/210-L barrels) are required. This is not true.

While some sour beer brewers go to extreme lengths to mimic traditional methods or perfect their sour creations, it is possible to brew a very nice sour beer with just a bucket, some patience and ordinary homebrewing ingredients and techniques. With that in mind, here’s my recipe for a “simple sour” — a straight lambic-esque beer that tastes great on it’s own, or can be used as a base for a fruit lambic or as a blender with other sours beers.

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