1. I’ve got an idea for you. This has fixed a couple of beers for myself and friends. Next time you brew wort for sour beer, brew an extra gallon. Siphon out a gallon of this old sour beer, and do whatever with it (maybe blend it into a more sour beer, or maybe experiment adding fruit to it – fruit can also improve beers like this quite a bit sometimes). Take your extra gallon of wort and refill your fermenter. Do this on the same day as you don’t want oxygen to sit in the fermenter. I guess you’d call this a “solera”.

    As I mentioned on MTF, the bitterness should fade… that is unless the bitterness is from the Brettanomyces. Brett can form bitter compounds. We’ve discussed them before on MTF (see the Highlights wiki page), and no one really knows what it is. But it is from Brett. Of course, it could be from the hops too. I would have to taste the beer to tell you. In my limited experience with these same hops so far, the amount you used shouldn’t have caused that much bitterness, and it does fade with time. Perhaps because the beer is so bland, the bitterness from the hops is out of balance. As Ethan Tripp mentioned, 1 year old lambic is fairly bitter. Even old lambic can be fairly bitter. Once carbonated, the bitterness isn’t as perceivable, IMO.

    Anyway, I find that adding sugars to an old sour beer that didn’t sour can increase acidity. The Sacch will be dead, leaving Brettanomyces and maybe bacteria to have at those new sugars. I have also experienced pitching fresh yeast once at the same time as refilling with wort, and the ester profile really increased in that case (it was the farmhouse ale yeast from SouthYeast). When you add the wort you can also add a built up starter of dregs that you trust, or a good Pedio strain (I wouldn’t trust a Lacto strain just in case the aged hops are still an inhibiting factor).

    Good luck,

    • I am rebrewing this beer later in the year, so your gallon exchange could be an interesting experiment. If I can get it to start souring before then, it might be more interesting in that the 1 gal removed works on the fresh wort, and the fresh wort helps the older beer develop more character.

      The bitterness has been there since the beginning, so unless that faded and Brett made something similar happen, I think it has to be the aged hops. I think you might be on to something with the carbonation muting the bitterness though.

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