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Old 06-08-2012, 06:47 PM   #1
adamjackson
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Default American Lambic Project

I want to take some time and do it this summer to make a barrel aged Lambic (Lambik / Lambiek)

I know it takes some time (one year, right?) to ferment and let the wild yeast do it's thing. I know it's a lot of work so no need to post it all here but are there online guides to doing this?

Basically here's what I want to do.

1. Create a Lambiek using wild yeast
2. ferment it for two years in an 8 gallon oak barrel
3. At the one year mark, I make another one
4. Blend the two at the two year mark
5. Re-ferment in a larger barrel or metal fermenter with fruit additions.

I know it's a big undertaking but I think it'll be a lot of fun. So, no speculation please, I'd like to hear from people who have actually done this successfully and what they learned.

I read this but there just aren't many exhaustive guides to doing this at home - http://www.byo.com/stories/beer-styles/article/indices/11-beer-styles/979-lambic-brewing

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Old 06-08-2012, 06:56 PM   #2
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Also, similar topic. Anyone have experience with barrel buying? I was thinking of doing a system of 3 15 gallon barrels but would like to go smaller..but after so long, (2 years), if the beer was really good, I'd probably wish I had more.

Barrel Rack

15 Gallon French Oak Barrels

French are a bit more expensive than American oak but I hear it's worth the price

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Old 06-08-2012, 08:14 PM   #3
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personally, I'd do a solera so its an ongoing blend and you only need 1 barrel. every 6-18 months, pull out a few gallons and replenish.

also, i would not buy a new oak barrel for this. it'll get way too much oak character. try to bug a local brewery/vineyard/distiller for a used one

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Old 06-08-2012, 08:25 PM   #4
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I agree with dcp27. Having a used barrel will allow you to get some of the oak flavour, but allow you to keep it from over-powering the rest the flavours. Also, they will most likely be less expensive than the barrels listed at the site you posted.

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Old 06-08-2012, 10:05 PM   #5
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For ease and making sure you don't ruin your batch, I would recommend capturing the yeast first then stepping up the culture to a pitchable amount. I say that because the first several tries for me to capture wild yeast ended up with black mold, the fifth try yielded wild yeast.

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Old 06-08-2012, 11:20 PM   #6
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Based on how long term of a project this could be, I'd recommend trying to find some other interested parties and using a used wine barrel. You actually want it at the point where a vintner has no use for it anymore other than reconditioning. I also agree that trying to score with local wild yeast is touchy. I'd much rather pitch the know Lambic blends. I'm not an expert but we did just take an NHC first round Gold with a barrel aged Framboise.

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Old 06-09-2012, 12:22 AM   #7
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Probably best off trying to score wild yeast off local fruit rather than trying to rely on the air unless you have lab skills to take what you want and leave the rest.

My attempt at culturing wild yeast got something that produced a ton of diacetyl, definitely some sacc-like yeast and brett. Probably some other stuff. For a while it tasted like nasty butter. Then brett and a little butter. That was about 4-6 months out (I forget which). I found some of the cake in my fridge that was about 18 months old. It smelled slightly tart and cherry-ish with no butter. I dumped it (before I smelled it) and was sad. Then I realized I had some frozen so I'm building up a starter of it now to toss it in some beer. So lesson there is don't assume you will like what you get or get something drinkable after a year. You may have to sit on the beer for 18 months or two years (or more) before it gets somewhere enjoyable.

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Old 06-09-2012, 01:17 AM   #8
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Great tips. Yeast first then go from there. Can you get the yeast from some of the popular more wild beers? I have these breweries in my cellar

3F
Boon
Cantillon
Orval
Lost Abbey
Russian River
girardin

Are any of those breweries making beers that have yeast easily extractable?

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Old 06-09-2012, 01:45 AM   #9
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i would go with american beers since it's an american lambic.

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Old 06-09-2012, 01:55 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adamjackson View Post
Are any of those breweries making beers that have yeast easily extractable?
all of those have usable dregs (orval is just sacch & brett tho, no bacteria). heres a list of others: http://www.themadfermentationist.com/2010/06/harvesting-sour-beer-bottle-dregs.html
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