Originally Posted by Rhymenoceros
So I just stumbled upon this section of HBT, and am now very curious/interested. Could you guys give me the rundown of what lambic and wild brewing are and how to give a first try? Appreciate it.
In a nutshell, Lambic brewing basically involves whatever wild yeasts and organisms are present in the air. They have a very complex and tart flavor compared to more conventional beer. Many resemble wines or champagne more than beers.
Its a pretty involved discussion of how to make lambics. Here a few basics:
Usually lambics are NOT brewed when it is exceptionally hot outside (i.e. in the middle of summer). Probably the ideal time to brew them is during the autumn harvest, and to capture your wild yeasts near an orchard or vineyard. But you can brew them anytime between October and March, with some variation depending on your local climate.
They are also usually brewed using the technique of turbid mashing, which I can explain if you are interested (I have yet to actually employ it myself, though I intend to this fall). After mashing, the wort is generally boiled for a very long time (5 hours or so) with aged hops (generally considered undesirable for most styles of beer).
The finished wort is then allowed to cool naturally overnight (without the use of a chiller) in an open vessel wherever the brewer wishes to capture the wild yeasts.
Lambics are also usually barrel aged for at least 1 year, often times for many years. Before bottling, they are sometimes blended from multiple batches to achieve the desired flavor profile, and bottle aged for a while longer yet.
Some modern "lambic" brewers simply used a pre-mixed culture of standard beer yeasts plus Brettanomyces and Lactobacillus, but IMHO this is cheating.