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Old 06-17-2012, 02:02 AM   #21
dwarven_stout
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Lambics are highly hopped as a measure of some degree of control against the bugs. An ounce in a 5gal batch really isn't enough for "Lambic" - 4oz or more is highly recommended. Even at 1oz, I wouldn't feel comfortable using fresh hops, but at 4+ oz, it's a no-brainer. Besides, they can be purchased from HopsDirect for dirt cheap if you don't have them on hand. Potentially compromising your brew and trying to save a dollar or two on a beer that takes so long from grain to glass is flat-out insane.
Um.. I get what you're trying to say, but you're wrong. An ounce of whole, fresh hops is not the traditional way to do a lambic, but nothing that you make in America will be a "traditional" lambic. An ounce of low AA noble hops absolutely is enough to keep bad bacteria like the enterobacters in check. The reason that you have to use such a large amount of aged hops for the same effect is that the oxidized beta acids are less effective against bacteria than fresh alpha acids. You are in no danger of compromising your brew, and NHC gold medal lambics have been brewed this way. Given that, why make your life harder for a difference that you can't taste?
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And yes, certain lambics have some oak character. But fermenting it in a *new* oak barrel the entire time is just going to make it taste like extremely astringent oak juice, ESPECIALLY at the batch sizes that homebrewers use (given the increased surface area to volume ratio). If you want to add oak to your lambic (and I find a mild oaking can really add another dimension, as it does to wines), that's really not the way to go.
Avoiding new oak was covered in page 1. Bobby suggested (and I agree) getting an old barrel to fill. This is the way to go if you want a lambic that borders on traditional, IMO. Avoiding oak altogether, or using only boiled oak chips is a different topic, and that's what I was responding to.
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That should have been the singular "stratum", in the geologic sense. I'm in the middle of a Kölsh brew and not spending time proof-reading. The point is that the oak provides a nice comfy home for the bacteria. This is especially helpful for pediococcus which doesn't get started until after saccharomyces has wound down.
It doesn't make any more sense to say "stratum". Not to be overly pedantic, but you're talking about the bugs using the chips as some sort of habitat, not having them sedimentate out. Pedio is hardy as long as you keep it away from large amounts of O2. It'll be there when you need it whether you have oak chips or not.


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Old 06-17-2012, 04:54 PM   #22
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It doesn't make any more sense to say "stratum". Not to be overly pedantic, but you're talking about the bugs using the chips as some sort of habitat, not having them sedimentate out.
Correct while yeast is perfectly happy hanging out in suspension, bacteria tend to like having nooks and crannies to work their way into. Brett can also use cellulose as a food source. Oak or really wood (Chestnut is used as well) is pretty essential for lamibics and not the flavor. So instead of a homogeneous aqueous growth medium (wort in a smooth sided fermenter) you have a layered growth medium (wood floating on top of the wort)

Also, I recommended using the oak chips for a few brews then boiling them (for sanitation). Not simply boiling fresh oak chips.


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Given that, why make your life harder for a difference that you can't taste?
So buying aged hops or holding on to an open bag for a year is way too much work, but finding a source for a used 5 - 10 gallon oak barrel (pretty much rules out a commercial winery), then making sure it's not completely infected with acetobacter is the only way to go?

Oh the irony!


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Old 06-17-2012, 10:44 PM   #23
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Correct while yeast is perfectly happy hanging out in suspension, bacteria tend to like having nooks and crannies to work their way into. Brett can also use cellulose as a food source. Oak or really wood (Chestnut is used as well) is pretty essential for lamibics and not the flavor.

So instead of a homogeneous aqueous growth medium (wort in a smooth sided fermenter) you have a layered growth medium (wood floating on top of the wort)
There are 3 primary organisms responsible for lambic fermentations:

1) Saccharomyces
2) Brettanomyces
3) Pediococcus

Pedio grows just fine in solution, forming rafts of polysaccharide "slime". This network also hosts reproducing Brett, the which conveniently incorporates the slime into new cell walls and removes it from the beer. That's why I'm skeptical of your claim that (paraphrased) "wood is essential because bacteria won't grow without it".

Yes, Brett *can* metabolize cellulose. Like many other things that brett can metabolize, cellulose is generally assumed to be a bit player compared to sugars, dextrose chains, and even autolysed sacch cells, and I've yet to see anyone prove (not suggest) otherwise.

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So buying aged hops or holding on to an open bag for a year is way too much work, but finding a source for a used 5 - 10 gallon oak barrel (pretty much rules out a commercial winery), then making sure it's not completely infected with acetobacter is the only way to go?
Misrepresenting my argument does nothing to help yours.

When I agreed with other posters on the barrel, we were talking about a 53 gal used wine barrel. If you want to make the best pseudo-lambic, that's the singe best improvement to make. Get a couple guys together and fill one up. They're even cheaper than the 5-10gal ones to boot!

The primary functions of oak barrels in traditional lambic brewing are twofold: permit oxygen into the fermenting beer (slowing lactic acid production and increasing brett activity) and providing a carryover population of microflora to the next beer.
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Old 06-18-2012, 01:27 AM   #24
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@dwarven stout and @Baloo if you would both please submitt samples of your lambics for my tasting I will be happy to resolve all arguments

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Old 06-18-2012, 01:36 AM   #25
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@dwarven stout and @Baloo if you would both please submitt samples of your lambics for my tasting I will be happy to resolve all arguments
Hahaha. I'm running low, but when we fill the barrel I'll see what I have.
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Old 06-18-2012, 03:10 AM   #26
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This is all really interesting. Just subscribing because I would like to do something like this in the future!

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Old 06-18-2012, 03:58 PM   #27
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QUOTE=dwarven_stout;4179743] That's why I'm skeptical of your claim that (paraphrased) "wood is essential because bacteria won't grow without it".
[/QUOTE]

I never said bacteria wouldn’t grow without wood. They will be happier with wood in the fermenter and happier bugs are more likely to give you what you want. This goes double if you’re planning on reusing them for a second batch.

Sure a used wine barrel would be the “best” way to emulate traditional lambic brewing, but 60 gallons (wine barrels are 60; whisky barrels are 53) is a lot of beer to brew/consume and will likely be out of reach for many, if not most, home-brewers (even if they band together). I for one would never be able to convince my wife that two wine barrels would be just fine out in our garage. Buying a new 10 or 15 gallon barrel and running several other brews (e.g. IPAs, Strong Ales, etc) through it before making it a lambic fementer is probably a more realistic option for a hobbyist, and one I may take down the road. But that’s still a considerable amount of time, effort, and expense probably best saved until you’re sure you want to brew lambics on a regular basis

The OP mentioned wanting to get an “8 gallon” oak barrel and do two brews to blend as a first attempt at a lambic. That alone should rule out the idea of a used commercial wine barrel as a plausible suggestion. I offered up what has worked well for me as an inexpensive, small scale, and easy to set up means of fermenting lambic. You decided to jump on my case for having the audacity to suggest that wood should be an integral part of a process that traditionally uses wood.

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Old 06-18-2012, 11:49 PM   #28
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If my Framboise takes Gold later this week, I'll publish more drivel about the process than anyone would care to read.

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Old 06-19-2012, 12:47 AM   #29
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If my Framboise takes Gold later this week, I'll publish more drivel about the process than anyone would care to read.
+1 I would love to hear it anyways! You can pm me all your info.
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Old 06-19-2012, 12:49 AM   #30
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I'm sure I'd read it too. Make a thread about it, if you have that much to say.



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