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08/01/06 09:47 AM  
Elderberry Lambic
I have 15 gallons of lambic on my hands. My fiancee is mandating that there be a kriek and a peche. And every year we make these I like to make one that is unusual, last year was lemon lambic (dont recommend doing that one, if I did it again I would change my protocol). So this year I am thinking of elderberry. I have a general process in my mind for using it, so Im not asking for advice there. What attracts me to elderberrys is that I think they would add a winelike note to it and make a wonderful color. What scares me is how unbelieveably tart they are, and Im wondering if the whole thing would be too tart, even for unsweetened lambic. I also wouldnt consider sweetening it after it is finished, as I do not like Lindemanns and the like.

Any thoughts?

08/01/06 10:20 AM  
Re: Elderberry Lambic
Besides being tart what do elderberries taste like? Huckleberrys are the blueberry like one, right? Could the tartness thing be a matter of harvest timing?
08/01/06 11:32 AM  
Re: Elderberry Lambic
I dont know about huckleberrys, but if they taste like blueberrys id love to just eat some. Elderberrys taste like extremely tart grapes with a kind of rasberrryish note to them. As far as harvest timing, they turn from green to purple when ripe, and Im sure they would get a little sweeter the longer on the plant, but I know when making elderberry jam you have to add a lot of sugar to get it sweet.
08/01/06 11:43 AM  
Re: Elderberry Lambic
>>but I know when making elderberry jam you have to add a lot of sugar to get it sweet.<<

Thats pretty normal for a lot of jams, ever harvested and processed wild concord grapes? That pretend grape flavor you find in grape confections (that some people prefer to describe as "purple") isn't so pretend after all, you get it from concord grape skins. But ho baby do they pucker!! Its actually kind of cool making your own grape jam and under sweetening it, tart concord grape is a terrific flavor. Maybe it would be worth experimenting with prolonging ripening time. Are these berry bushes on your property? Can you cover them to protect them from birds?

Here's a thought though probably something more for the future. Ever played with currents?

08/01/06 12:36 PM  
Re: Elderberry Lambic
Interesting, that makes me think this would work and be OK, possibly fantastic.

No, the bushes are along the roadsides all throughout the county, so harvesting will be a matter of driving around getting what I can.

Cant say that I have ever had a current or seen a current plant

Al B
08/01/06 01:38 PM  
Re: Elderberry Lambic
I can tell ya that black currents can be very tart, and to me seem alot like elderberries. I attempted a lambic with black currents once - extremely sour. Elderberries make great wine though.

Maybe ferment the elderberries seperately with wine yeast, for example, then add to the lambic (less sugar = less acid by the non-saccharomyces yeast)?

Or....add some malo-lactic bacteria to reduce the harshness of fruit acids (like malic acid) to a more pleasant lactic. (trial + error with this one!)

Al Bacteria

08/01/06 02:17 PM  
Re: Elderberry Lambic
good ideas Al, I particularly like the idea of the malo-lactic
08/01/06 02:39 PM  
Re: Elderberry Lambic
How about a Sumac Lambic? THey are similar to Elderberries, I think.

My grandmother used to make Sumac and Elderberry jelly. Great stuff.

Al B
08/01/06 02:44 PM  
Re: Elderberry Lambic
I thought sumac is like posion ivy - he'd be itchin' all inside! ;)
08/01/06 02:50 PM  
Re: Elderberry Lambic
In my long passed camping days I remember making sumac tea. I always feared the itchy stomach but it never happened.
08/01/06 04:20 PM  
Re: Elderberry Lambic
I've been asking my mom to try to find out the sumac jelly recipe, but hasn't found it yet.

Another brewer buddy has sumac on his property and wants to try it.

That's what I was told is that the stuff is poisonous, but Somehow during the processing it calms down. I guess.

Mykel Obvious
08/01/06 07:32 PM  
Re: Elderberry Lambic
Crazy question, but where does the tart flavor in the elderberries come from? Is it in the skins like grapes? i.e. if you peal one does the tart flavor go away? I can't imagine pealing enough elderberries for 5 gallons of lambic, but it's a thought anyway... maybe peal 1/2 of them???

As to the Sumac, there is more than one kind... some are safe to eat/make tea/jelly with... not this one however!!! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poison_sumac

Al B
08/02/06 07:56 AM  
Re: Elderberry Lambic
You'd have to be a laser surgeon to peel elderberries!

Anyway, I think skins have more astringency and the pulp acidic (citric acid or malic acid?)

08/02/06 10:22 AM  
Re: Elderberry Lambic
You would definitely have to be a laser surgeon to peel them.

Anyway, Im going to do it, and Ill let you all know how it progresses

08/02/06 10:33 AM  
Re: Elderberry Lambic
Could crushing them prove a more practical alternative? The juice then would represent the pulp and the refuse would be mostly skins.
08/02/06 11:41 AM  
Re: Elderberry Lambic
Actually my protocol intended is to freeze them solid, and run them through my wine press. I remember as a kid helping my Mom make elderberry jam, and having to take each one off the stem, it was horrible, but well worth it since it is my favorite jam. So in that case I probably would have less of the harsh bitter/sourness of the skin. I also have no intention of sanitizing or anything (maybe a quick rinse), so whatever wild is on them can give flavor too
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