Bitter beer is often an acquired taste. But for those who love it, there’s nothing better than a hoppy, bitter brew. Unfortunately, many commercially-available beers are either too sweet or too bland to satisfy true hopheads. So what’s a bitter beer lover to do?
One option is to kettle sour your own beer at home. Kettle souring is a brewing technique that involves intentionally introducing lactobacillus bacteria into the wort (unfermented beer). This bacteria creates lactic acid, which gives the finished beer a pleasantly tart flavor.
There are a few different ways to kettle sour your beer. One popular method is to simply add a few drops of lactic acid directly to the wort. This will create a very tart beer, so it’s important to taste the wort regularly and stop adding acid once it reaches the desired level of tartness.
Another option is to let nature take its course by adding some lactobacillus-laden fruit or yogurt to the wort. This will introduce the bacteria naturally, and can create some interesting flavor variations depending on the type of fruit or yogurt used.
Kettle souring is a great way to add some extra depth of flavor to your homebrews, and it’s also relatively simple and quick.
Of course, kettle souring is not without its risks. If not done carefully, the bacteria can easily take over the entire batch of beer and create an unpalatably sour mess. It’s important to sterilize all of your brewing equipment thoroughly before kettle souring, and to make sure the wort is cooled to a temperature that won’t kill the bacteria (usually below 80 degrees Fahrenheit).
But if you’re up for a little adventure, kettle souring can be a great way to create unique, complex beers at home. So don’t be afraid to experiment, and happy brewing!