Originally Posted by ReverbbqBrew
* Thick mash - 4 or 5 x as thick as usual.
First and foremost, awesome video and awesome concept. Bold move to invest in a coolship. Apparently business must be pretty good at Allagash because I can't imagine there's a real strong business case for something like lambic production.
Second, I hope their native wild yeast strains don't completely suck. Perhaps they did some test brews and determined it was good. It seems the lambic producers in Belgium were in a unique area full of good yeast, which helped them to create a legendary beer style.
Lastly, I couldn't quite get past the quoted comment. It's not entirely clear from the video, but what I think they did was mash in at like 0.5lb/qt at a low temp (looks like 118F), hold for a short rest, and then drain and boil the runnings. Then they mashed in again and, ultimately, sparged with enough water to require a 4 hour boil. So their actual mash overall was thin.
I'm no expert by any means, but I think the point is that you get all these starches and carbohydrates from that first liquid, along with the enzymes. Then you denature the enzymes by heating over 180F or boiling it. You later add that back. (It's kind of like the opposite of a german decoction where you take the grain and very little liquid so you DON'T get the enzymes).
Now, your overall diastatic power has been reduced so you end up with a less fermentable wort. When the brewer mentions that they wanted to make a wort that sustains the long fermentation process, I think this is what he was referring to. Those starches and tannins make excellent bug food.