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Old 02-11-2009, 09:27 PM   #1
ReverbbqBrew
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Default Allagash Lambic Brewing Video

Has anyone seen the video of Allagash brewing their first Lambic? Anyone have any idea when it'll be ready? I am preparing my first Lambic based on the great knowledge I've received on these forums.

Thanks everyone!

Notes I took from the video...though not much I didn't already know...

* Wort is a high proportion of Raw Wheat Malt in conjunction with Belgian Pilsner, and Two Row Barley.
* Making wort to sustain a long fermentation with bugs.
* Trying to extract tannins and proteins, which brewers tend to avoid.
* Thick mash - 4 or 5 x as thick as usual.
* Mash: 15 minute rest at 118 degrees.
* 100 gallons to start, after water additions, total goal: 450 gallons
* Another rest at unknown temp, to give time for breakfast.
* Pump struggles with the density of the mash.
* Hop Union gave them “stale” hops, because you don’t want alpha acids.
* Cantillon hooks Maine brother Allagash up with how you age hops.
* Stale hops necessitate a 4 hour boil.
* Wort chilled with cold air in a Koelschip, a shallow vat, 12 feet long, 8 feet wide and 1 foot deep, plenty of surface area to allow for cooling overnight while wind blows through the room. Natural bacteria and wild yeast drifts in and cools the wort..
* Wort will then be fermented in French Oak barrels.
* Within one to three weeks, spontaneous fermentation begins in the oak and will continue for over one year. After the yearlong fermentation this traditional beer will age in French oak for at least one more year, sometimes with the addition of fruits, before it is finally bottled.

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Old 02-13-2009, 09:45 AM   #2
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That's awesome!

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Old 02-13-2009, 04:54 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ReverbbqBrew View Post
* 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.
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Old 02-13-2009, 08:59 PM   #4
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I think you are right, that they hold it at 118, and at that point its incredibly thick - a couple more rests at rising temps with boiling water. It does not seem like they do a traditional Turbid mash, though most of I know about Turbid mashing, Cantillon style, comes from this website:
A Liddil Lambic Lesson: The Cult of the Biohazard Lambic Brewers

Interesting point about how it's like the opposite of a decoction mash, since you are taking the liquid and not the grain. I always supposed that they were one in the same.

I'd really like to make a traditional Lambic - but the mash schedule just looks like such a pain.

I think I'm going to pop my 'wild yeast' cherry with the a Flanders Red, one of the recipes here at Homebrewtalk or just use malted wheat.

Using raw wheat just seems unnecessary. Does anyone here Turbid Mash for fun?

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Last edited by ReverbbqBrew; 02-13-2009 at 09:21 PM.
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Old 02-14-2009, 02:12 AM   #5
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I've never done a turbid mash, but they did a fancy version of one. Traditionally, you use a strainer like device to draw off the mash liquid to boil for your decoctoin.

I can't wait to try this beer...if I can get my hands on it.

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Old 02-14-2009, 07:06 AM   #6
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raw wheat is absolutely necessary. There is no way around that.

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Old 02-14-2009, 09:57 AM   #7
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These Guys are great! My company did the Plumbing side over there and I met rob and the boys. If you ever get into maine they give tours and shut the doors and have tasting sessions of the beers they have going. I went there for a call during tour night and had to leave after they asked me if I wanted to stay and drink, the bummer was I had my company van and had to pick up the kiddies

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Old 02-14-2009, 06:11 PM   #8
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Allagash's Curieux is my own personal favorite. I think it's amazing that they've been able to keep the quality of their beer so high while at the same time expanding their distribution to cover the entire nation. I live in Sacramento, CA and even my neighborhood pub has Allagash White on tap. Delicious. I'm jealous you live so close.

Raw wheat, here I come.

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Conditioning: Biermuncher's Blue Moon
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