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Old 08-29-2010, 09:20 PM   #1
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Default Critique and help with fruit lambic recipe

Been brewing for years, but have just recently gotten into wild brewing. In the past few years I've developed a taste for Belgian sours and lambics and thought I'd try producing some at home.

I would like to make something like a fruit lambic, although not necessarily exactly to style. My wife and I both love New Glaurus' Belgian Red cherry Lambic. I was thinking I would do something like that, although maybe a little more sour. I have no idea what their process or recipe is, but after doing some research I've formulated my own recipe that I think will fit our palates.

Feel free to suggest anything different, or comment otherwise on this.

5 gal net volume

9 lb Pilsner malt (U.S.)
.25 lb C-40
4 lb White wheat malt
2 lb Aromatic (Belgian)

Mash at 155F for 90 min

1 oz. Hallertau 105 minute boil
Hallertau is already sitting in an open bag at room temp, in an effort to emulate the stale "aged" characteristics of Belgian hops used in these types of beers. I'm guessing it will be there for about a month or two.

1200 mL starter of WY3278 Belgian Lambic Blend yeast/bugs

The next step is where I'm not sure yet. I'm trying to decide from two options (chime in if you have another better option)

Option 1:
After 2 months in primary, add 6 lbs Oregon cherry puree along with oak chips to the primary, bulk age for 12-18 months or...

Option 2:
After 2 weeks, rack beer onto 6 lbs cherry puree & oak chips into secondary and bulk age for 12-18 months

I've read conflicting information about keeping wild beers on the trub in primary being good/bad. I'm open to ideas.

Thanks!
TB



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Old 08-29-2010, 09:57 PM   #2
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I would rack the beer after two months in primary. Extended primary with sours (my opinion) isn't going to hurt anything.

As for your recipe... most standard lambic recipes are just 60/40 or 70/30 Belgian pils and wheat. You should use a neutral yeast to do the bulk of fermentation. I typically use US05. When fermentation is just about done, add your lambic blend.

If you're wanting the flavor like New Glaurus, you'll need to wait until closer to 6 months in before you add cherries. You'll also need to stop the yeast from eating all the sugar in the cherries, otherwise it won't be nearly as strong of a flavor.

Good luck.



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Old 08-29-2010, 11:13 PM   #3
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Thanks for the comments!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Suthrncomfrt1884 View Post
I would rack the beer after two months in primary. Extended primary with sours (my opinion) isn't going to hurt anything.
I was leaning towards something like that, but wanted to leave the OP a bit more neutral for comments. I think I like this option more, based on what I've read about wild brews. What is your experience with this method?

Quote:
As for your recipe... most standard lambic recipes are just 60/40 or 70/30 Belgian pils and wheat.
That's consistent with what I've read, too. Like I said, though, I'm not necessarily looking to stick strictly to style. Do you foresee a problem or any ill effects of the added malts in my recipe? Will the aromatic conflict with the fruit or sourness of the fermentation?

Quote:
You should use a neutral yeast to do the bulk of fermentation. I typically use US05. When fermentation is just about done, add your lambic blend.
1. Are you suggesting that I add the lambic blend after the US-05 is done, then add the fruit and chips at that time?
2. Will this give a strong wild/sour characteristic, medium or mild? Or does it not make that much difference?

Quote:
If you're wanting the flavor like New Glaurus, you'll need to wait until closer to 6 months in before you add cherries. You'll also need to stop the yeast from eating all the sugar in the cherries, otherwise it won't be nearly as strong of a flavor.
If I add the cherries at around 6 months, how will I stop the yeast from eating the cherries? Won't the beer be too acidic and alcoholic for the saccharomyces to feed? Or will the extra sugar dilute it so that they can feed along with the bugs? (I'm showing my ignorance here.)


Quote:
Good luck.
Thanks! And thank you for your comments! I'll update this thread with what I end up doing, along with pictures of beer as it progresses.

TB
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On tap:
1. Imperial Oatmeal Espresso Stout 2. Dubbel 3. Brown Ale 4. Pale 5.[Nitrogen] Dry Stout
Primary:
1.Bock 2. Bock 3. Orange Wheat 4. Orange Wheat 5. none 6. none
Secondary:
1. Brett Ale 2. Helles 3. Helles 4. none
Bottled:
About 58 gallons of beer & 4.2 gallons of mead
Kegged & conditioning:
Imperial Bourbon Barrel Oatmeal Stout x2, Belgian Dubbel, Altbier x2, Pale Ale, Porter x2
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Old 08-30-2010, 01:50 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiber_Brew View Post
I think I like this option more, based on what I've read about wild brews. What is your experience with this method?
I haven't had any noticeable issues from leaving it in primary for 2-3 months.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiber_Brew View Post
That's consistent with what I've read, too. Like I said, though, I'm not necessarily looking to stick strictly to style. Do you foresee a problem or any ill effects of the added malts in my recipe? Will the aromatic conflict with the fruit or sourness of the fermentation?
I doubt it'll cause any problems. Homebrewing is all about experimenting, right? I just like to stick with basic recipes to showcase the yeast.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiber_Brew View Post
1. Are you suggesting that I add the lambic blend after the US-05 is done, then add the fruit and chips at that time?
Actually, after looking at the yeast you're using, it looks like you can use just that without additional yeast. Since it includes saccharomyces, it should ferment fully before the lactic acid and brett kicks in. Either way, I would wait until the beer has been fermenting for around 5-6 months before adding any fruit or oak.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiber_Brew View Post
2. Will this give a strong wild/sour characteristic, medium or mild? Or does it not make that much difference?
In my experience, the only thing that really influences how sour the beer gets is the length of time you let it age. Lactic acid will continue to sour the beer for close to 2 years.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiber_Brew View Post
If I add the cherries at around 6 months, how will I stop the yeast from eating the cherries? Won't the beer be too acidic and alcoholic for the saccharomyces to feed? Or will the extra sugar dilute it so that they can feed along with the bugs? (I'm showing my ignorance here.)
I've never personally tried this, but I've read that adding campden tablets before adding the fruit will stop the yeast and you'll just get flavor from the fruit instead of added alcohol. I'm not sure if this will work with lambic yeast though. At 6 months though, the saccharomyces will have already dropped out of suspension. What will continue to work in the beer is the lactic acid and the brett bacteria which are able to ferment more complex sugars that saccharomyces can't.
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Last edited by Suthrncomfrt1884; 08-30-2010 at 01:56 AM.
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Old 08-30-2010, 02:31 AM   #5
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So, quite a bit going on already in this thread

I would diagree with suthrncmfrt on a couple areas

1. - no need to rack a lambic, and it may be detrimental to the bacteria over the long run, as the cake is a source of nutrients and food for them as the beer ages, traditional lambics are left on the cake for the entire fermentation, and Ive found that if your doing a sour in glass, even something like a flanders red which is racked by commercial producers, benefits from sitting on the cake in a homebrew situation

2 - dont add the fruit for a looooooong time (think 6-12mos), you want to feed the brett/bacteria and not the sacch, this will help it get more sour and funky, also unless you plan on cold crashing, fining, adding sulfite and then sorbate you will not stop the bacteria from eating all the sugars in the cherries, going that route you will also need to keg to carbonate

3 - start with the sour blend from the start, your already at a disadvantage fermenting in a carboy, you need the bacteria to get a start when there are lots of simple sugars available, if you ferment first with a clean ale yeast it will never get as sour as you want, and it will take a long aging period to get tart and funky

time does play a role, but the most important thing is food sources, severely limiting the brett/bacteria out the door limits what they will do over the long run, although you can supplement with something like maltodextrin should you choose to go the sacch first route, by feeding maltodextrin your adding a bacteria only food source, and if in say 6-9mos its not really sour you can easily add this to feed the bugs

also, do not do a starter with the lambic blend, the pedio in the blend will die if exposed to an oxygen rich environment, and they are the primary souring bug for a lambic


Another thing I would suggest doing would be to get at least one more batch going in a month or so, in my experience with sours the only way to make an exceptional beer is to blend

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Old 08-30-2010, 12:36 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suthrncomfrt1884 View Post
I doubt it'll cause any problems. Homebrewing is all about experimenting, right? I just like to stick with basic recipes to showcase the yeast.
Exactly. Hopefully this will turn out OK, but if not, I'll know more than when I started.


Quote:
Actually, after looking at the yeast you're using, it looks like you can use just that without additional yeast. Since it includes saccharomyces, it should ferment fully before the lactic acid and brett kicks in. Either way, I would wait until the beer has been fermenting for around 5-6 months before adding any fruit or oak.
That makes sense. I'll stick with that.

Quote:
In my experience, the only thing that really influences how sour the beer gets is the length of time you let it age. Lactic acid will continue to sour the beer for close to 2 years.
So if I bottled it in less than 2 years will end up with a bottle bomb?

Thanks,
TB
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On tap:
1. Imperial Oatmeal Espresso Stout 2. Dubbel 3. Brown Ale 4. Pale 5.[Nitrogen] Dry Stout
Primary:
1.Bock 2. Bock 3. Orange Wheat 4. Orange Wheat 5. none 6. none
Secondary:
1. Brett Ale 2. Helles 3. Helles 4. none
Bottled:
About 58 gallons of beer & 4.2 gallons of mead
Kegged & conditioning:
Imperial Bourbon Barrel Oatmeal Stout x2, Belgian Dubbel, Altbier x2, Pale Ale, Porter x2
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Old 08-30-2010, 12:43 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ryane View Post
So, quite a bit going on already in this thread

I would diagree with suthrncmfrt on a couple areas

1. - no need to rack a lambic, and it may be detrimental to the bacteria over the long run, as the cake is a source of nutrients and food for them as the beer ages, traditional lambics are left on the cake for the entire fermentation, and Ive found that if your doing a sour in glass, even something like a flanders red which is racked by commercial producers, benefits from sitting on the cake in a homebrew situation
I've read similar things. So you're suggesting I leave it in the primary for the whole duration of fermentation and bulk aging?

Quote:
2 - dont add the fruit for a looooooong time (think 6-12mos), you want to feed the brett/bacteria and not the sacch, this will help it get more sour and funky, also unless you plan on cold crashing, fining, adding sulfite and then sorbate you will not stop the bacteria from eating all the sugars in the cherries, going that route you will also need to keg to carbonate
I want to bottle this beer, what do you suggest?

Quote:
3 - start with the sour blend from the start, your already at a disadvantage fermenting in a carboy, you need the bacteria to get a start when there are lots of simple sugars available, if you ferment first with a clean ale yeast it will never get as sour as you want, and it will take a long aging period to get tart and funky
Suthrncomfrt mentioned this as well, which is what I originally had planned on doing. I'll just stick with my original plan to put the lambic blend in from the start.

Quote:
also, do not do a starter with the lambic blend, the pedio in the blend will die if exposed to an oxygen rich environment, and they are the primary souring bug for a lambic
Damn, I bought a WY propagator, not a pitchable smack pack. I don't think there will be enough viable cells to start a healthy fermentation. What do you suggest? Do I have to guy an activator pack now? Or is it OK to step up my propagator pack a little?


Quote:
Another thing I would suggest doing would be to get at least one more batch going in a month or so, in my experience with sours the only way to make an exceptional beer is to blend
Even for a fruit lambic?

Thanks,
TB
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On tap:
1. Imperial Oatmeal Espresso Stout 2. Dubbel 3. Brown Ale 4. Pale 5.[Nitrogen] Dry Stout
Primary:
1.Bock 2. Bock 3. Orange Wheat 4. Orange Wheat 5. none 6. none
Secondary:
1. Brett Ale 2. Helles 3. Helles 4. none
Bottled:
About 58 gallons of beer & 4.2 gallons of mead
Kegged & conditioning:
Imperial Bourbon Barrel Oatmeal Stout x2, Belgian Dubbel, Altbier x2, Pale Ale, Porter x2
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Old 08-30-2010, 01:06 PM   #8
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I've made perfectly fine fruit lambics without blending. I make a batch usually once every 3-6 months and before I bottle it, I check to see how I like the flavor. If it doesn't taste right, I'll let it sit for another few months until my next batch or two is done and blend it.

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Old 08-30-2010, 09:23 PM   #9
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When it comes time to bottle, do I need to add a campden tablet or similar to prevent bottle bombs?

What do you guys do when bottling wild beers?

Thanks,
TB

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On tap:
1. Imperial Oatmeal Espresso Stout 2. Dubbel 3. Brown Ale 4. Pale 5.[Nitrogen] Dry Stout
Primary:
1.Bock 2. Bock 3. Orange Wheat 4. Orange Wheat 5. none 6. none
Secondary:
1. Brett Ale 2. Helles 3. Helles 4. none
Bottled:
About 58 gallons of beer & 4.2 gallons of mead
Kegged & conditioning:
Imperial Bourbon Barrel Oatmeal Stout x2, Belgian Dubbel, Altbier x2, Pale Ale, Porter x2
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Old 08-30-2010, 11:00 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiber_Brew View Post
When it comes time to bottle, do I need to add a campden tablet or similar to prevent bottle bombs?

What do you guys do when bottling wild beers?

Thanks,
TB
No need for campden, you need to make sure that the FG is stable though and that takes a loooong time, if your in the neighborhood of 1005 you should be pretty good to bottle, 1008 is a tad high, some of my sours have finished out there and were stable for 6+mos others drop lower, when in doubt wait, and use heavy bottles

BTW Ive never had a bottle bomb, but Ive had a few that got a bit over-carbed, and they were in my early days of brewing sours when I was still getting the feel of it

Also, as far as blending fruit beers, I guess I wasnt as clear as I shouldve been, I tend to suggest brewing many sours as one never knows what the flavor profile of a given beer will be like in 6,10,18, etc months, and its not exactly the best idea to decide upon a fruit to add without knowing if it will match the base beer

I feel that sours that fit best with fruit tend to be a bit low on the funk, and have a softer but brighter acidity, and can have an almost citrus-like quality to them, this isnt to say that other bases can make a good beer, just that in my experience they tend to have other flavors that distract from the fruit

by having some beer to blend, even in a fruit lambic, you can also adjust the acid profile when bottling to incorporate more acetic, etc should you choose to, all in all its a very good idea to have a lot of diffterent batches around, even if they half batches...........


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