Newbie here. I know nothing about making beer. I love sours. Can you make sours at home? Is it too complicated compared to other beer making?

  • It’s actually pretty easy to do on accident. 😂. I highly recommend using an entirely different fermentation vessel for sours. You can pick up cultures containing bretttanomyces “Brett” at any brewing shop. Usually you don’t add them until secondary, or at least until the primary lag phase is over.
    – mreff555
    Commented Jan 31, 2020 at 18:16

1 Answer 1


Like anything in brewing, it can be as simple or as complicated as you want to make it. I'll provide only the simple answer because I prefer to keep things simple.

1) First, you need to read How To Brew by John Palmer. There is an old version available free online at howtobrew.com. If you want the latest information then you need to buy the book, but I think you'll find everything you need online.

2) After you boil the batch, cool, and it is time to add your yeast, at this point you can also add bacteria and/or Brettanomyces yeast or other funky yeast strains which will add the sourness. I have done this a few different ways.

  • You can add literally just a dollop of sour cream which contains live Lactobacillus bacteria. This will provide a clean lactic sourness the same way as sour cream and yogurt, and is suitable for Berliner-style weissbier and any other style where you want it to be quite sour.
  • You can add commercial yeast and bacteria such as Wyeast 3763 Roeselare Blend. This contains Brett and will provide a consistent repeatable funk and sourness. There are many other commercially available options as well, this is just one that springs to mind.
  • You can also add a handful of unmilled grains, which are naturally loaded with lots of different wild yeast and bacteria, for a truly funky and less predictable outcome.

I know some brewers will let the fermentation go to the finish and then enjoy (this is what I do!), while others will baby it and ferment warm for a couple of days, then boil it to kill the wild organisms and cut short the souring. There are probably 100 different ways to make sour beer. This is where it can get more complicated. But in the end, of course, experiment and find your own path and what you enjoy. You can certainly start very simple and then work your way up to the other options.

Welcome to the hobby and happy brewing!

  • 1
    I think this is a good answer. It might be a bit more complete with some information about how to make sure your second batch is not also (unintentionally) sour. One of our local craft breweries that makes lots of sours runs all sours through their old bottling line, while non-sours go through the canning line. They told me that the are not confident enough in cleaning their canning line to let the sours go through it. I personally don't like sours, so I never brew them (so I can't provide cleaning suggestions).
    – Rob
    Commented Jan 27, 2020 at 22:26

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