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Author Replies
Jeff "TruthBrew"
05/23/05 05:05 PM  
Homebrewing lambic
...(or pLambic, which ever suits you)

I'll be starting up my first couple batches of homebrewed lambic soon. Anyone want to share their tips?

Fellow homebrewer Steve Piatz has written a couple articles on it and I have read the Liddil Lambic article as well... just looking for more experience here.

SteveG
05/23/05 05:10 PM  
Re: Homebrewing lambic
Do you know yet where you are getting your bugs? I can say lambic is brewing is real duality, few beers are easier to brew and harder to ferment.

One tip I can offer is you may want to be patient in picking your brew date. My issue would apply a lot less to somebody pitching the bacteria (mine are spontaneous) but I understand the Belgian stop making wort by around the last snow. The warmer the weather gets the more you risk high levels od acetic acid. I made one 2 years ago that was really nice after 2 months, vinegar after 6. I think having little available fermentable sugar come the really hot months is a good idea.

Jeff "TruthBrew"
05/23/05 05:20 PM  
Re: Homebrewing lambic (links)
Some links....

http://liddil.com/beer/lambic/lambic.html

http://www.brewery.org/brewery/library/LmbicJL0696.html

http://byo.com/feature/1230.html

http://www.mnbrewers.com/newsletters/2001_02.doc

Jeff "TruthBrew"
05/23/05 05:21 PM  
Re: Homebrewing lambic
Truthfully, what is hot weather (in F or C) because my fermenting area never really gets over 75F. While that is still warm for some yeasts, has been fine for most Belgians.
Jeff "TruthBrew"
05/23/05 05:23 PM  
Bugs
I was planning on using the dregs from a few bottles of Cantillon, Oud Beersel, and Girardin for some of the bugs, maybe even a pack of the Wyeast lambic blend.
SteveG
05/23/05 05:58 PM  
Re: Homebrewing lambic
<<Truthfully, what is hot weather (in F or C) because my fermenting area never really gets over 75F. While that is still warm for some yeasts, has been fine for most Belgians. >>

I don't think its an issue of ambient temperature. My basement is also cooler than the outside air in the summer. I think the problem is when it gets warmer the bacteria responsible for acetic acid production are up and around wheras they are not in the cooler months. Your basement may be cooler than the outside air, but it is still using the same air.

<<http://liddil.com/beer/lambic/lambic.html>>

Ha! That's one of mine! I did Jim's sites.

Jeff "TruthBrew"
05/23/05 07:42 PM  
Re: Homebrewing lambic
Good point, didn't even think about it.
brad
05/26/05 04:00 PM  
Re: Homebrewing lambic
As stated in the previous messages in Belgium they stop brewing in the late/spring and summer because of the temp and how that effects airborn bacteria and yeasts.

My question is how do you think high temps will effect already inoculated beer. Where I live summer temps are average around 95F (and I am running out of room in the fermenter. I think my next batch I might ferment hot. Anybody have any ideas how these temps will effect the outcome?

Brad

SteveG
05/26/05 05:18 PM  
Re: Homebrewing lambic
<<My question is how do you think high temps will effect already inoculated beer.>>

I think the answer would be not at all. One thing I should have included when responding to Jeff, if you are innoculating I'm sure ambient bacteria become moot. They are really just an issue if your beer will be exposed to them. In general I think the risk of contamination increases in the summer, but if your beer is developing in a closed environment - like a carboy - then if your sanitation practices are tip top then these bugs would have no more effect on a lambic than a lager.

I care about them cause I open ferment.

Tim L
05/27/05 11:31 PM  
Re: Homebrewing lambic
1.I wonder if Dave Pyle has wrote anything.

2.I'm debating between putting some wort in an aqarium or kiddie pool & setting it out all night this fall or Just go with the Lambic Blend???

SteveG
05/28/05 08:55 AM  
Re: Homebrewing lambic
Dave isn't really an electronic communication guy, I regret it is unlikely we'll see him contribute here. As far as the other thing, it isn't that hard to make a batch of lambic wort. You need to be season sensitive if you go spontaneous, but I think it is worth a shot. Make your wort, put it in a bucket and see what happens. Make sure to be very patient though. Get an extra carboy, transfer it there after a little while and forget about it. The worst that could happen is you wasted a wort. But if it turns out you have local bacteria really cut out for the job then think of the possibilities!!
Tim L
05/29/05 10:52 PM  
Re: Homebrewing lambic
Thanks for the encouragement.
PopeDX
07/19/05 03:46 AM  
Re: Homebrewing lambic
I made my first lambic in February. Made a 3 gallon batch as an experiment. I first baked 3 oz. of hops (something low AA of course...Willamette I believe...don't have my notes here) until they turned brown. I did that right before brewing, I've since learned that the baking should have been done a couple of days beforehand. They got boiled (by themselves) for 90 minutes. After that I pretty much intentionally did everything wrong that one can do in a beer. I put wheat DME in after the boil was over (4 lbs. I believe) along with a half-cup or so of flour (for turbidity). This sat out in the open (indoors) in a bucket until it was 100░F or so. Oh, I only boiled like 1 gallon and put untreated tap water in to top off as well. I've read that buckets bleed about the same amount of oxygen as wooden barrels, and therefore make a good choice. I then put in oak cubes that had been sitting in a raspberry cider I had done in the Fall. The cider was spontaneously fermented for a day before a pack of Unibroue yeast (WY3864) was pitched. After it was done fermenting and raspberries were put in and done fermenting I added Wyeast lambic blend (3278). The cider had tasted almost like RosÚ de Gambrinus and I wanted to dry it out further. The finished product tasted nothing like RosÚ de Gambrinus (should have bottled it at the time rather than tinker). I put some steamed oak cubes in at the same time as the lambic blend. I don't know the exact amount other than it was an 11.2 oz. bottle-full (Meestreechs Aajt, if memory serves). Steaming oak cubes is supposed to make them more like used oak.

At various points in the future, dregs from a couple of lambic bottles were put in, as was about a quarter-gallon decanted from a Brett starter. A half-cup of sugar was added each time, as I've read that this practice can help. Other than pitching and feeding I didn't touch it for 5 months (not even a taste!). It got a good skin on it which remains. A week ago I pulled a little out at a homebrew tasting. At 6 months it's super-acidic. I-felt-it-in-my-tummy acidic. From what I've read, this is normal. In February I'm trying it again, and we'll see. It was very dark when I boiled it (like a brown ale), due to the brown hops and the 1-gallon boil. It's now rather like a pale ale in color.

The best part about it is that I used an old bucket which was full of scratches and was about to be thrown out anyway, and I made it inbetween the gaps of brewing another beer, so it really didn't take any time. Plus, the scratched bucket and oak cubes make the experiment readily repeatable.

Andrew Weiss
12/19/05 12:55 PM  
Re: Homebrewing lambic
I am planning on mainly brewing lambic-style beers as I proceed in my homebrew activities. As a beginner, however, I started with a Cider/Beer kit and brewed a cider. I then brewed a Brewferm kit exactly as instructed but using medium Belgian candy. Both should be ready in a week for tasting (though I did taste both initial products). I've started my third batch which is an adaptation of the Lindemann's Framboise recipe from Clone Brews. I bought my set of lambic equipment at Maltose Express and spoke with the author. They sold me a 1056 Activator which works great (it was so swollen I thought it would explode so I put it in a ziploc freezer bag and fridged it for a few minutes until cutting it open to pitch). I don't know how this will turn out but I steeped honey malt and sparged it, then did a low gravity boil with wheat DME, extra light DME, and old Tettnanger (but they were still in the cheesy state...hmmm). I poured the hot wort (after a 15 minute rest) into the primary and added Deer Park spring water until I got 5 gallons. I poured most of the wort through a collander but then remembered the small amount of silty protein trub. Since most of these recipes call for straining the beer and not cooling in the boil pot to settle out the trub (an over sight I think), I put a coffee filter in for the last little bit and skimmed the protein foam off the top. It's fermenting in the primary. My big concern is the following:

I'm keeping this really simple for now. I started it Saturday and it should ferment in primary 5-7 days. I was planning on racking on top of my Cherries (making a Kriek) in a 6.5 gallon glass carboy on 12/25 or 12/26. The store sold me a 2 for one on 3278. The dates are about a year old (11/2004). Should I activate them Tuesday? Should I make a starter? Will the pedio be dead completely? In hindsight I feel I should have just bought their one fresh pack.

SteveG
12/19/05 01:44 PM  
Re: Homebrewing lambic
Old yeast can often be resurrected, but that is not really something that a beginner should be worrying about. Good brewing practices and yeast/bacteria handling is something that comes with experience, that is to say many opportunities to directly observe cause and effect.

One thing I'm not real clear on, I just read WYeast's blurb on 3278 and it does not sound like something you add to the secondary. I say that because it does specify that there is a Saccharomyces strain in there, why would a primary fermentation agent be in a blend intended for pitching into the secondary? Pitching lambic bugs into the secondary has been the homebrewer approach for quite some time, but that always meant your lactic bacteria and Brettanomyces - which were typically purchased and pitched seperately. It sounds to me like WYeast developed this pack to simplify that into one step. Why did you hold it out? I agree a fresh pack would have been better, of buying the lambic components separately. But I would guess that the pack would still be useful. I would crack the thing now and my instincts would lead me to not make a starter. The last thing you need is to have the bacteria outcompeted.

Al, you out there?

Andrew Weiss
12/19/05 01:58 PM  
Re: Homebrewing lambic
<<One thing I'm not real clear on, I just read WYeast's blurb on 3278 and it does not sound like something you add to the secondary. I say that because it does specify that there is a Saccharomyces strain in there, why would a primary fermentation agent be in a blend intended for pitching into the secondary? Pitching lambic bugs into the secondary has been the homebrewer approach for quite some time, but that always meant your lactic bacteria and Brettanomyces - which were typically purchased and pitched seperately. It sounds to me like WYeast developed this pack to simplify that into one step. Why did you hold it out?>>

I held it out due to the recipe. Basically the primary beer is low gravity and fermented vigorously with Wyeast 1056 American Ale yeast. It's then racked on top of two cans of Oregon (can be 1 can but Tess suggested more would be nice) puree. The puree of fruit makes up a goodly portion of the original gravity she said. My guess is you want the 3278 to get to work on the fruit sugars once you already have a good beer base. Then after that stops you get the other little guys kicking in on the fruit as it ages over the months.

SteveG
12/19/05 02:38 PM  
Re: Homebrewing lambic
Wow, that's a new one on me. I'm certain that does not conform to conventional lambic making practices, it does sound interesting though. Guinard included yeast from a Sierra Nevada pale ale bottle in the recipes in his book (1990) but that never made the least bit of sense to me. Lambic is reputed to be very tied to the ambient fermentation agent native to the Senne valley, how could that possibly include Chico yeast?? Been scratchin' my head for 15 years on that one.

Anyway, I guess puree would have a big gravity impact, but keep in mind the Belgian lambics (that been nudged towards becoming alco-pop) use whole fruit. Though racking a fermented lambic on whole cherries will no doubt have some impact on gravity, it will be nothing like using puree. The foundation of a real kriek is a real lambic, those are made with barley and wheat.

Is something like Lindemanns your target?

Andrew Weiss
12/19/05 02:52 PM  
Re: Homebrewing lambic
<<Anyway, I guess puree would have a big gravity impact, but keep in mind the Belgian lambics (that been nudged towards becoming alco-pop) use whole fruit. Though racking a fermented lambic on whole cherries will no doubt have some impact on gravity, it will be nothing like using puree. The foundation of a real kriek is a real lambic, those are made with barley and wheat.

Is something like Lindemanns your target?>>

Yes. My girlfriend prefers them and I like them better for daily drinking, though I love Cantillon best for sitting down and really enjoying the beer. I am trying this "Clone Brews" book recipe (by Mark and Tess Szamatulski who own Maltose Express) before I make a "realistic" plambic. I'm working my way up the difficulty scale. I suppose I made a huge jump when I decided to do this after a no boil kit. I should have brewed a few boring and plain beers to get the feel of brewing but I decided to take on a more difficult recipe right away.

I basically took their "Lindemann's Framboise" clone recipe and changed it for cherries. Ideally I wanted aseptic tart cherry puree instead of what they sell in cans which is 75/25 sweet/tart, but then I'd have to buy it in a 42 lb. bag (not sure what equipment I'd have to have to get it out of the bag aseptically) and the minimum order is 4 x 42 lb. bags. So I'd get a bunch of fruit types but then be making a LOT of beer and ice cream (the girlfriend's hobby). The plus is that the puree bags are shelf stable for 18 months.

I'm working my way up, but decided that as long as I am reasonably careful and cogniscent of what is going on in the brew bucket, I can just have fun with things at this stage. I can also learn from mistakes.

SteveG
12/19/05 03:34 PM  
Re: Homebrewing lambic
Sounds good, learning from mistakes (and successes) is the only real way to get good at something. I'll toss this out, I respect that you see your leap was a big one, maybe this can help later. Took me 10 years to figure this out!

>>Ideally I wanted aseptic tart cherry puree instead of what they sell in cans which is 75/25 sweet/tart<<

Do you live in a agriculturally rich area? If so one of these days you can try a real fruit solution, making the base lambic at a time like this (when its cold) and adding the fruit months later when it can be harvested. But here's the tip - I know the conventional wisdom is that you need to use tart cherries not sweet. I know I'm just a guy on a message board, but the fact is that conventional wisdom is wrong. Tart cherries that are grown here have little in common with classic European tart cherries in that ours are far more tart. If you want to zero in on the classic taste you will need to find a sweet cherry/sour cherry balance. The way I "sterilize" them is by freezing. When I pick my cherries I put them in a few ziplocks (each holds 2 pounds), when they thaw a few days later not only will bacterial concerns be addressed but they will be soft and steep well and be in a puddle of juice.

Last thng, the word "macerate" comes out a lot when speaking of handling cherries for kreik. I have to admit I have never been to a lambic brewery and have never seen cherries added first hand. But I have seen film of this, and the cherries are never ground up (the basic meaning of macerate). Everytime I have put lambic on cherries they have been whole but softened by freezing. I have never had a flavor extraction problem. But if I did grind them up I have to believe there would have a problem come time to separate the cherries from the beer. You'd have to strain it or something to avoid little cherry bits in your beer. Man, nothing good could come from that extra handling.

Andrew Weiss
12/19/05 03:53 PM  
Re: Homebrewing lambic
I'm not sure how rich I would deem my area agriculturally. I live in Nanuet, NY (Westchester County) They have apples. I don't know what else at the moment.

Your fruit handling ideas do sound pretty ideal and I'll certainly use that method. Any idea what size glass carboy I'll need to do a real 8-12 lb. of fruit plambic? I'm thinking the 6.5 with whole fruit just won't cut it. Keep in mind I'm only thinking 5 gallon batches for now.

One of the problems I do face, however, is I plan to move (in about 2 years) across the country during a time when anything I was to start today wouldn't be ready. (Maybe someone should start a homebrew transportation service) I currently rent and I'd like to get a house in a place I want to live. (like Phoenix or San Diego).

I probably will try something anyhow. I was thinking I'd like to try to make a cranberry lambic (having eaten organic cranberries right out of the bag at Trader Joe's one day -- you can use these in my opinion in any recipe calling for either olives, cucumbers, or both)

SteveG
12/19/05 04:24 PM  
Re: Homebrewing lambic
Ah, Andrew - you're in great shape! NY state is a wonderful place to find fresh fruit. I pick my stuff just a little south in NJ (specifically just outside Princeton). Phoenix or San Diego - another story!

I made a 6 gallon batch my first time and split it. Half went in a 5 gallon carboy with 6 pounds of cherries. Since you live in an outstanding growing area I'd do the fresh fruit stuff now while you can. Bottle just before you move to the desert, sure beats moving carboys!

christmasp
12/03/06 04:35 AM  
Merry Christmas Gifts
Hi people

I do not know what to give for Christmas of the to friends, advise something ....

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04/16/07 08:28 AM  
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