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05/20/07 10:14 AM  
Ambient ale - finally!!
Well, after 3 disasterous attempts to recreate my first ambient ale I finally have pulled it off again. Made one last November as my final attempt to sidestep acetic acid production. I'm completely convinced now that it is a matter of tight timing, this one is spot on. Sour but not through the roof, peach/apricot/mango fruit thing going on, maybe a hint of vinager but no more than a slight touch. Very excited!
05/20/07 11:28 AM  
Re: Timing
By timing do you mean starting the attempt in November?
05/20/07 11:45 AM  
Re: Ambient ale - finally!!
Yes, for me that seems critical. Earlier and I risk acetic bacteria still being airborn. Later and the beer is not far enough along when acetic bacteria comes back. In theory the carboy is an enclosed environment, but somehow ales brewed in December were turning to vinager by fall.
Al B
05/21/07 08:48 AM  
Re: Ambient ale - finally!!

I recall that brew in its infancy in a bucket w/ cheese cloth over it. When was it "enclosed" ? Perhaps when enclosing, purging the headspace with CO2 will prevent the Acetobacter from vinagarizing..........

05/21/07 09:35 AM  
Re: Ambient ale - finally!!
Not sure, it was a good couple of weeks. I would guess it hit glass a bit into December. Never tried purging, would that stiffle all activity?
Al B
05/21/07 10:14 AM  
Re: Ambient ale - finally!!
Well, CO2 prevents Acetobacter to oxidize ethanol into acetic acid. Stifling all activity is a question of how much O2 diffuses into the carboy (via stopper + air lock), whether CO2 is still being produced to have a layer above the brew, and whether a pellicle can form quick enough to help act as a barrier.

I'm planning a spotaneous ambient brew in an orchard (early Fall?). I'm thinkin' that once CO2 is produced to rack over to a closed vessel. Then purge with CO2 to maintain positive-pressure. After that, I'll forget about it for awhile.

05/21/07 10:16 AM  
Re: Ambient ale - finally!!
I don't think acetic can be made without oxygen, if that's what you mean. At least, not by the usual suspects.

Not sure if the purging would have a significant effect. Unless I made a mistake in the stoichiometry in a post a while back, the amount of oxygen in 1G of headspace is not enough to generate a very significant amount of vinegar.

Steve, have you tasted it just before it goes into glass?

Anyway, congratulations!

Al B
05/21/07 10:47 AM  
Re: Ambient ale - finally!!
Over time, O2 will diffuse through rubber stoppers, plastic air locks when CO2 production ceases. This was noted in "wild Brews" too. Plastic buckets have been reported to leach quite a bit of O2 (more than I was aware) as well.

Therefore, in glass, keeping a positive pressure of CO2 in the air lock should do the trick.

But certaintly beforehand to check the acetic would be key. Could be more than the Acetobacter at work here.

05/21/07 10:48 AM  
Re: Ambient ale - finally!!
Yes, I pulled out an ounce or so from the carboy its called home since December. In the next two weeks I plan to measure the gravity and maybe to keg it, depending on what the hydrometer says. What surprises me is how fast ti seems to have come together.
05/21/07 02:37 PM  
Re: Ambient ale - finally!!
Oh--Al I didn't realize you were talking about a continuous purge. I agree that ought to do the trick for anything getting through tiny gaps between the stopper and the glass. Not sure whether it would reduce the amount of diffusion.

Steve, I should have been more specific. I meant to ask about the ones that eventually got really acetic. If you tasted them before you transferred, could you tell whether they became acetic before they went into glass, or after?

05/21/07 03:04 PM  
Re: Ambient ale - finally!!
Baums, by and large they met their ends well into life. I don't have records of how long they sat before being introduced to the sewer, but I would generalize 6-8 months. They all showed promise before transfer.
Al B
05/22/07 09:36 AM  
Re: Ambient ale - finally!!
On my lambic, I notice the little "thingy" cup in the air lock "relaxed" and not pressed up against the top lid. Adding water didn't help. So I figure if there's any acetobacter in there, it might cause some vinagar to be produced since there probably wasn't any positive CO2 pressure. And sometimes those freakin' rubber stoppers pop up, like I need a rubber-mallet to smash them in, then one time, a stopper was wet on the outside and went all the way in. Geeez.
05/22/07 11:19 AM  
Re: Ambient ale - finally!!
Yeah, for some reason the more recent (gray instead of tan) universal stoppers have for me an infuriating tendency to pop up and not seal right. I thought it was the fact that star-san is slippery, but even the ones I sanitize by heat don't stay well.

Al B
06/14/07 01:37 PM  
Re: Ambient ale - finally!!
Steve -

When you do your ambients, what sort of hopping schedule do you go with (high amounts of Aged hops) or (low amounts of low alpha) or something else?

Al B brewin' one

06/14/07 04:12 PM  
Re: Ambient ale - finally!!
A little bit of real old hops. But enough about that. I have neglected to tell you something important for nearly a week now! I transfered the ambient to a keg and collected the stuff that settled. I cleaned up on of those orange top bottles you gave me and now its in the fridge. I invite to look into the window of my madness!
Al B
06/14/07 07:11 PM  
Re: Ambient ale - finally!!

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