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mark mott
07/17/08 10:16 AM  
Lambic recipes
Hi all,

So I wanted to start a long journey into lambics with the hope to one day years down the road to be able to blend different lots. I have never brewed one and had a few questions beyond what I have read or been told.

My basic instructions from fellow brewers were to do a recipe with 67% pils and 33% flaked wheat with 2-4 oz of old hops at the beging of the boil. Mash at 122 and 160 and ferment with a neutral yeast for 2 weeks and rack and add buggs. Seems simple enough so my question is does that sound about right for a simple lambic recipe? Can someone give me something tried and true, and any hints or tips would be greatly appreciated.



Mike T
07/17/08 11:30 AM  
Re: Lambic recipes
Bottling my first batch after about 2 years this weekend.

I used the wyeast mash from Wild Brews, and pitched a packet of Lambic blend into primary (where it still is).

Here is my recipe/notes: http://madfermentationist.blogspot.com/2008/05/lambic-that-real-king-of-funk.html

Really not sure how good it is going to be though, the last taste of it I had (~9 months ago) was less than impressive.

07/17/08 12:00 PM  
Re: Lambic recipes
I've got my first in primary still after about 5 months. (This is going to be a long wait)

From memory it was basically 60/40 unmalted wheat/pils, single infusion mash at ~148-150 (Cheater, I know). 90 minute boil with about 4oz of aged hops. We decided to skip the primary fermentation with the clean ale yeast in favor of a (hopefully) funkier version by using the WY lambic blend as the primary fermenter. It chugged along nicely at first and has a small pellicle on it now.

The main thing I can say is whether you start with a clean ale yeast or not is not to rack your lambic. Traditionally a lambic should be left in primary it's entire life. The brett and other bugs will feed on the autolyzing yeast over the years.


Al B
07/17/08 12:29 PM  
Re: Lambic recipes
I will add that providing lots of dextrins/starches is key for a dynamic lambic. As tank says, autolysed cells will provide the necessary amino acids and micro-nutrients. So the recipe looks pretty good with the high amount of flaked wheat. Sparge with hotter than normal water to rinse all of the starch/dextrin out (any astingency will be gone after aging).

Al B
07/17/08 12:41 PM  
Re: Lambic recipes
Mike -

I just bottled a blend of 1+2 yr lambic (dry hopped). I, too, have used the abbreviated WY turbid mash technique on both. However, the bugs were completely different in both. The second was not great alone, albeit 1 yr old. Perhaps I did not sparge well enough, I don't know on that one.

The last lambic I did was also the WY method (8 months now) was initially ambient in my basement(lots of spilled beer down there) and later I added some inoculated bug cubes. It is way more complex than the 2 "straight inoculations". I no longer will bother to use a primary yeast before adding cultures. Is there more complexity using more types of bugs in lower populations? I tend think so (yeah, many factors involved, I know). Just another 2cents.

07/17/08 12:56 PM  
Re: Lambic recipes
Here's the process I've used for two years running. (going for three years in a row of lambics to then blend into geuze)


I did the traditional ambient fermentation for two of the batches, and the "add Brett. Sacch., then Peddio. at different times" method. All three have turned out great so far. I'll keep doing the ambient ferm. from here on out though.

Next time you're around Mark, I'll give you a sample, tour of the lambic facilties at my new place.

Al B
07/17/08 01:22 PM  
Re: Lambic recipes
Hey N8 - howz it goin? OBF this yr?

Yeah that one's a bit more work, but I feel it would do a better job. Maybe I'll do the long way next time.

Looking to add some muscat grapes to the other half of what I bottled this Fall.

Mike T
07/17/08 01:44 PM  
Re: Lambic recipes
Al - Glad to hear that some similar batches gave alright results, going into it two years ago I was just hoping to make something drinkable. Iíll be brewing a new batch in August based on what I have learned with this one. I'll certainly be adding a bigger variety of microbes to this one.

I assume I sparged pretty well on mine, ended up with 92% efficiency and it was still putting out 1.020 runnings when I cut it off.

07/17/08 01:57 PM  
Re: Lambic recipes
I did 10 gallons of lambic at the end of January. basic 50/50 pils and wheat. maybe 15 ibu of hallertauer (not aged though). infusion mash but with a hot sparge.

i pitched directly in the primary with lambic blend slurry (from a previous sour brown ale). 1/2 the batch also received various commercial dregs over a period of several weeks to try and add some complexity.

They have both been in plastic for atleast a few months now. big fat pellicles. nice and sour from some tastings I've done.

I'll probably go to keg in the late summer or fall.

cheers petec

07/17/08 02:22 PM  
Re: Lambic recipes
I am a second adherent of the Liddil turbid mash schedule posted by N8 -- it takes a while, especially the first time, but works very well.

I have had great results from ambient fermentations, as well as with pitching dregs from 3 Fonteinen and Cantillon bottles. I've tried two with wyeast packages, and both have been very disappointing (bland taste, zero fermentation activity after two years, even relatively poor attenuation when compared with the spontaneous fermentations).

This was the first year I have had enough one to three-year old pLambic to blend (began the attempts in 2004), and that is a real challenge.

07/17/08 03:08 PM  
Re: Lambic recipes
Hey Al, No, no OBF this year. Been settling in on a recent move, and all that goes along with that. Plus I need to get brewing again to make up for the lost time.

The posted mash schedule does take a bit longer than ou would normally be used to, but darn well worth it. Just follow the protocol as stated and it'll turn out just it's supposed to. It's supposed to be the mash schedule and grist of Cantillon. And if it's good enough for them, it's good enough for me.

07/17/08 04:43 PM  
Re: Lambic recipes
I might do OBF this year, just to get some of that 21st Amendment watermelon wheat. I love that stuff.

According to my log, the first time I tried the Cantillon schedule, the mash and boil took me 11 hours -- I did manage to shave some time off with practice. I have never tried anything else though, in nine batches.

07/17/08 05:05 PM  
Re: Lambic recipes
Hey MarkO, where are you located? As the 21A is releasing cans of Watermelon Wheat throughout all of California next week.
07/17/08 05:30 PM  
Re: Lambic recipes
I'm a couple hundred miles north, in Portland. Thanks for the tip, maybe something will be available here, or in WA.
07/17/08 08:59 PM  
Re: Lambic recipes
Ah, hence the OBF talk. ;-)

Last I heard it was Cali only, but hey. You've got enough great beer in Portland already. :-P

mark mott
07/18/08 11:09 AM  
Re: Lambic recipes
Thanks guys I think I will take N8's advice and go for the full meal deal on this one. Wish me luck!

I appreciate all the help!

Mark Mott
07/18/08 11:22 AM  
Re: Lambic recipes
One more question actually, what is the deal with ambient fermentations. Can some one explain that process for me and what the upside to it is?
07/18/08 01:30 PM  
Re: Lambic recipes
Upside to ambient ferments is probably bug complexity (and bragging rights).

They are seemingly hard to do and hard to control in terms of consistency. If you have enough stuff to blend, its probably cool and you can blend off poor batches that are really acidic or funky beyond all funk.

If you're looking for batches that always work, ambient is probably not the way to go - nothing tried and true. Heck, even using cultures, results are not always consistent or what you imagined at recipe design/brewing time.

Most ambient brewers have been at it for a long, long time.

I've only gone the cultured route and even then there is still a lot of learning and surprise.

have at it.petec

07/18/08 01:31 PM  
Re: Lambic recipes
Probably the thread with the most amount of collected individual experiences is the one Witsok started, here:


But if you search for "ambient" or "spontaneous" I'm sure there will be other info.

But basically you brew a beer some time between October and March (individual experiences differ on the best time to try, and I did a couple later in spring this year due to an injury taking me out of the regular season, both of which have done fine).

Then you leave it open for a night or two for a wild innoculation. At some time in the next couple of weeks, it will begin to ferment. Between 1 and 3 years later, you will have, well, something, generally sour.

Upside? They can actually taste good, and it's fun, and extremely interesting.

Al B
07/18/08 02:18 PM  
Re: Lambic recipes

Have you done any of your ambients outside, say near an orchard or farm, or fruit patch?

Al amBient

07/18/08 02:37 PM  
Re: Lambic recipes
Hi Al,

Nope, all have been in a relatively urban environment. There are, however, probably about 7 or 8 cherry and plum trees within 100 feet of my "koelschip shed," and some cabernet sauvignon vines about twenty feet away -- so it is fairly close to being an orchard of sorts.

07/18/08 04:09 PM  
Re: Lambic recipes
Hey Al

for what its worth, I just tasted my Al's Bugfarm for the first time (its been on your bugs since November...9 months) and I have to say that I am very very pleased. It seems nice and complex, sour but not overly so, well balanced.

I'll be putting 1/3 on cherries here in a minute, keeping a third as is, and bottling the last 1/3.


Al B
07/18/08 07:11 PM  
Re: Lambic recipes
Cool Ryan,

Good to hear. The last time I tasted mine, there was lots of grapefruit I recall. The collection of bugs for the next batch are coming along.

Al Bug

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