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Old 08-21-2009, 03:56 AM   #1
cimirie
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Default How much lactose???

OK, so here's the scenario.

I found a recipe for a fast, shortcut lambic. For the record, I know it's not a real lambic. I know it won't have the "true complexity and the blah, blah, blah" but it'll be fruity, tart, sour, and sweet all at the same time and be wonderful - well, that's what the author promised.

At any rate, the recipe called for 3 lbs of lactose to add at bottling (per 5.5 gallons). Later in the post notes, the author recommended bumping that level to 5 pounds because the sweetness will fade over 6 or so months. When I told my local LHBS owner that amount of lactose he nearly choked and said nobody in their right mind would add 3 pounds to that amount of lambic unless they liked syrup. He backed off a bit and added the disclaimer "but it depends on your palate."

So, I'm gonna throw it up to the group. I'm looking for something slightly less sweet than Lindemans (please no comments on the validity of that brand as representative of the style). I like the way that tastes and the level of sweetness there is almost right. So, those of you who have experience with sour fruit beers/lambics and/or lactose usage, please share your opinions. I'm stuck between a recommended recipe and my LHBS guy who's opinion I really trust. HELP!!!!

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Old 08-21-2009, 12:24 PM   #2
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Now...I'm not sure about lambics as I've never made one. But wouldn't adding 3-5 lbs. of lactose (milk sugar) to your bottles be a sure thing for bottle bombs? I'm not sure if lactose is less potent than priming sugar, but it doesn't sound right to me. Also, your homebrew shop guy is right. Adding this much lactose, in my opinion, is going to leave you with a sour milk shake.

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Old 08-21-2009, 01:14 PM   #3
cimirie
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Thanks for the concern. Lactose is a non-fermentable sugar, though. My yeasties won't be able to eat it, so I'm not so concerned about bottle bombs on this one.

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Originally Posted by StuporMan View Post
You guys joke around with this all you want, but let me tell you something: I tried making my own beer one time and wound up with herpes!


Primary: Billy Corrigan Ale, malted cider experiment, Optimator clone
Secondary: Sorachi Ace IPA
Bottled: Dark Lord Clone Imperial Stout, Winter 2010 Spiced Ale Ambassador Brown Ale, Michigan Berry pLambic
Kegged: Old Woodward ESB, Strawberry Blonde
On Deck: Honey brown ale, dry stout
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Old 08-21-2009, 04:16 PM   #4
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I agree, the lactose shouldn't be fermentable even if you have lacto bacteria in there. Lacto bacteria are inhibited by both IBUs and ABV.

I would expect 2lbs to be the most you want. The best way to do it would be to boil 1/2 a pound in a pint. Add it to the bottling bucket. Mix and sample. If you want more, repeat.

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