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Old 07-24-2012, 05:59 PM   #1
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Default Fig Lambic

This is my first post, so just wanted to start out by saying that you guys are great. I've been reading this forum for months, and I never felt the need to post anything until now because all my questions were answered.

Anyway, I am planning to brew a lambic style by pitching Wyeast Lambic Blend (3278) into a pretty standard lambic recipe (70% Pilsner/ 30% Wheat). I have about 3lbs of fresh figs (now frozen) from local fig trees, so I am planning to rack 2.5 gallons of my 5 gallon batch onto the figs after it ages. Does anyone have experience brewing a lambic with figs? Based on the guidelines for cherries and raspberries, it seems that 2-3lbs of figs would be good for 2.5 gallons of beer, but I haven't found a definitive answer by searching the web.

In addition to the amount of figs, any pointers on preparing them? My current plan is to thaw and cook into a thick paste. But maybe it is better to just toss them into the secondary?

Thanks!

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Old 07-24-2012, 06:50 PM   #2
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I haven't done this but got sucked into another thread (and interested in this one) because I have fig trees, too. One thing that stuck out from the other thread--I'm sure a search for "fig" would yield results--mentioned caramelizing the figs in a wok under high heat briefly to unlock more fig flavor for the brew. It sounds like tossing in fresh/frozen figs doesn't give much fig flavor to the beer as would caramelizing them. Again, I haven't done this yet, just passing some info on...so I think you're on the right track with cooking them first, although I don't know if I'd keep them on the heat long enough to make a paste. Good luck and, hopefully, you'll update the thread down the road...

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Old 07-24-2012, 06:52 PM   #3
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I wouldn't worry about the fruit yet. Let the beer age a year or so before you add fruit to it.

From my understanding, it is best to get fresh fruit, freeze/thaw it, and then add it. It was hard for me to believe that freezing/thawing fruit was better than adding fresh fruit, but I just listened to an interview with Jean Van Roy and, if I understood him correctly, they have changed to doing this because they are able to complete the fruit maceration process in 3 months rather than 9 months.

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Old 07-24-2012, 07:50 PM   #4
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I did see the post about caramelizing the figs. That seems to make sense, but I don't have the experience with adding fruit to beer to make a great judgement call on it.

I will definitely let the beer age before adding the figs. The figs are ripe now and this has been a good season for them in South Carolina, so I wanted to go ahead and collect more than enough.

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Old 07-24-2012, 09:11 PM   #5
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If you have a food dehydrator you could dry some for a little added complexity. I think it just depends on what you want out of the fruit.

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Old 07-24-2012, 09:19 PM   #6
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I just cracked the first bottle of my dark saison with figs. I used about two pounds of dried figs which I reconstituted over night with boiling water and a campden tablet. I then ran them through a sanitized food processor to a paste and added them into secondary. The beer is incredible, and will get better in the next couple of months.

I was worried about the millions of tiny seeds floating around, which seemed to float to the surface, but I ended up getting a true secondary fewrmentation with a krausen after I added the figs, and most were pulled down to the trub. The rest rode the surface of the beer down while raking over, and it appears they too got stuck in the trub.

I think, if you can roast them do so, you'll caramalize the sugars and definitely add more depth of flavor.

I look forward to hearing how your lambic turns out.

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Old 07-24-2012, 09:24 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Revvy
I just cracked the first bottle of my dark saison with figs. I used about two pounds of dried figs which I reconstituted over night with boiling water and a campden tablet. I then ran them through a sanitized food processor to a paste and added them into secondary. The beer is incredible, and will get better in the next couple of months.

I was worried about the millions of tiny seeds floating around, which seemed to float to the surface, but I ended up getting a true secondary fewrmentation with a krausen after I added the figs, and most were pulled down to the trub. The rest rode the surface of the beer down while raking over, and it appears they too got stuck in the trub.

I think, if you can roast them do so, you'll caramalize the sugars and definitely add more depth of flavor.

I look forward to hearing how your lambic turns out.
So what flavors did you feel the figs pass on to the saison? Sounds intriguing and I'm on a big time saison kick.
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Old 07-24-2012, 09:35 PM   #8
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So what flavors did you feel the figs pass on to the saison? Sounds intriguing and I'm on a big time saison kick.
Figs.

It's got dark caramel fruit notes to it. Though right now the large amount of cardamom I added is predominant (The figs were a last minute idea, not planned at all.)

I can't really describe it any better. It's definitely a unique flavor profile.

There's at least one commercial fig saison out there. You might want to try to dig it up. I've never had it. A brew buddy had posted that he was drinking one months ago, and that was what posessed me to drive out to a Middle Eastern market to pick up a couple pounds of dried figs.
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Old 07-24-2012, 11:26 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Revvy

Figs.
Ha! Now that is astounding

I was just curious how it carried over to the beer. Sounds like you got a rich dark fruit character that I think would be fantastic in a crisp, dry saison. Will look around online for a commercial version to try. This goes well with my plan to plant a Turkey Fig Tree this year!
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Old 07-25-2012, 01:50 AM   #10
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Thanks all for the suggestions. I think I will try to roast the figs.

So Revvy, you used 2lbs of dried figs. 5 gallon batch? I wonder how much weight figs lose when dried. 3lbs of figs for a 2.5 gallon batch might be comparable...

I will definitely update the thread with details on the progress of the fig lambic.

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