Tag Archives: Fruit Beer

Homebrew: Tasting comparison of sour ales

It is finally time to post some tasting impressions of the ‘plain’ and ‘berry’ version of the sour ale I brewed about 1.5 years ago. I’ve had a couple of bottles of both during the winter, and they are interesting beers. I’m not a big fan of sour ale, but I actually like the plain version. The berry version has otherwise been quite nice as well, but it has had a strange aftertaste that really takes away from the drinkability. We’ll see if it is still present in the beer today. I added berries to the majority of the batch (~12 liters), and only bottled six 33cl bottles of the pre-berry version. This was a mistake I’ve now realized, as I’m already down to my last bottle of the plain version. So, note to self: if I ever brew something similar in the future, bottle half the batch before adding any flavorings. All in all it was an interesting experiment, that I hope to repeat at some point. Right now though my priorities are on getting our new homebrewery up and running, so that we can start brewing again. Anyways, let’s see how the sours taste.


Sour Ale
The beer pours crystal-clear (quite a difference to the extremely cloudy wort resulting from the turbid mash) and with a deep golden-amber color (reminds me of apple juice). The aroma is quite tart, with (what I guess is) lactic acid lending the sour tones. There are some fruity tones present as well, which again bring my thoughts to apple juice and cider. A slight funkiness in the aroma as well, but overall it is very ‘clean’ for a (pseudo-)lambic. The flavour is also tart, but by no means as sour as many commercial examples of the style. This one clocked in at a pH of 3.7, which is relatively high for a sour ale. This suits me fine though, as I really don’t like the mouth-drying sourness of some lambics. Tones of apple, grains and slight citrus are present in the flavour. The finish is surprisingly sweet (the FG was 1.010), but it goes well with the mild sourness. This reminded me a lot of a tart apple cider, and I’m actually positively surprised over how this one turned out. A real shame this was my last bottle. How does the Berry version compare then?


Berry Sour
The beer pours clear and with a pretty red color and a pink foam head. While the plain version had a very clean aroma, this one is much more funky. The aroma is more aggressively sour and funky, with a slight cellary/musty twang to it. Behind this, there are very evident tones of raspberry as well. The blueberries are more hidden, even thought I added three times as much compared to the raspberries. The berries are nice, but I think I prefer the clean cider-like tones of the original. The flavour is slightly more sour than the original, perhaps as a result of the added fermentables and the acids in the berries. Raspberry is dominating the flavour, but there are some tones of apple, blueberries and cherry in the background. The aftertaste is drier than the original, and it is unfortunately plagued by a slightly sharp and musty aftertaste. Not really sure what has caused it, maybe mold or the berries themselves? Would be interesting to hear opinions from somehow who actually loves sour beer. Anyways, not a bad beer, but I would find it more enjoyable if it was a little less sour and funky, and the berry flavors were cleaner.

If I were to brew another sour, I would also be more careful with introducing oxygen. The beer had a thick pellicle the whole one-year fermentation (sign of oxygen), and I think especially the berry version might have some tones of acetic acid.

Homebrew: Blueberry Sour

Today I brewed a small batch of something a bit different. I made an attempt of brewing a sour ale / pseudo-lambic. The malt bill was simple, containing 2 kg of pilsner malt and 1 kg of raw wheat. The mashing was however a bit more complicated, as I attempted a turbid mash. The turbid mash results in a starch-rich wort, leaving some food for the pitched bacteria once the yeast has consumed all the simpler sugars. The mash procedure was as follows (12 liters of mash water and 3 kg of grain):

  • 2.4 liters of 65C water was added to the grain, resulting in a mash temperature of 45C. The temperature was held for 15 minutes.
  • 2.4 liters of 85C water was added to the mash, resulting in a mash temperature of 52C. The temperature was held for 15 minutes.
  • 1.6 liters of wort was transferred to an empty kettle, and temperature was raised to 88C.
  • 3.6 liters of 100C water was added to the mash, resulting in a mash temperature of 65C. The temperature was held for 15 minutes.
  • 3.4 liters of wort was transferred to the kettle already containing wort, and the temperature was again raised to 88C. Total volume in kettle now 5 liters.
  • 3.6 liters of 100C water was added to the mash, resulting in a mash temperature of 72C. The temperature was held for 30 minutes.
  • The mash tun was drained, and the wort (~7 liters) was transferred to the kettle, and the temperature was again raised to 88C.
  • The grains are rinsed with the 88C wort, resulting in a mash-out temperature of 78C. The temperature is held for 20 minutes.
  • The wort was transferred to the boil kettle, and the grains were batch sparged with 10 liters of 78C water.
  • The sparged wort was then added to the boil kettle, resulting in a pre-boil volume of around 22 liters.

After the mash I boiled the wort for 2.5 hours (in order to reduce the 22 liters of ~1.025 pre-boil wort, into 15 liters of 1.040 post-boil wort) together with 20 grams of old Saaz hops. The hops (2010 harvest) have been in an opened package in the freezer for over a year, so their alpha acid content is presumably below the 3.1% stated on the package. In a sour ale you want to keep the iso-alpha acid concentrations on the low side, since they inhibit the growth of lactic acid bacteria. After the boil I chilled the wort and pitched a pack of Wyeast’s Lambic Blend. I will leave the wort in the fermenter for around 9 to 12 months, after which I will add 2 kg of blueberries and bottle dregs from two bottles of 3 Fonteinen Oude Geuze. I’m expecting to bottle this one in around 12 to 15 months.

I was mashing in my 21 liter kettle and a BIAB-bag (this helped when pulling the liquor from the mash).


The yeast and the hops. Hopefully I haven’t overdone the hopping.


I’m using a glass carboy for fermentation, in order to reduce the amount of oxygen that comes into contact with the wort/beer during the long fermentation.


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Hornbeer Kiss The Frog


  • Brewery: Hornbeer
  • Country: Denmark
  • Style: Fruit Beer
  • ABV: 4.6%
  • Size: 500 ml
  • Bought from: K-Supermarket, 6.39€
  • Not on Beer Advocate
  • RateBeer
    The beer is described as a “beer with cherries”, and contains cherry juice.

    [easyreview title=”Hornbeer Kiss The Frog” cat1title=”Appearance” cat1detail=”The beer has a reddish-brown color, and is very hazy (the beer is unfiltered and bottle-conditioned). The beer formed a couple centimeter thick pinkish head that quickly collapsed (leaving some lacing along the glass).” cat1rating=”2″ cat2title=”Smell” cat2detail=”The beer has malty, slight acidic and fruity (cherry) aroma. The cherry aroma isn’t as pronounced as in Krieks. (Note: I currently have a cold, so my olfaction isn’t at its best)” cat2rating=”2″ cat3title=”Taste” cat3detail=”The beer initially has a quite sweet taste with an acidic bite, with a very slight aftertaste of cherries. The flavour is quite bland, and it is very difficult to chart the different taste components. The cherry flavour could definitely be more present, and the acidity could be slightly lowered or balanced with some more sweetness.” cat3rating=”1.5″ cat4title=”Mouthfeel” cat4detail=”The body is quite light, with moderate-high carbonation. Together with the acidity it isn’t easy to drink.” cat4rating=”2″ summary=”I’m not a great fan of fruit beers, but this beer did definitely not reach the level of Krieks. The flavour is lacking and not pronounced, and the beer was quite expensive. Would not buy again.”]

    Thanks to Pia for buying me this one! <3