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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Lambic & Wild Brewing > First Lambic. HELP!!!
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Old 08-05-2010, 02:03 AM   #1
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Default First Lambic. HELP!!!

Hey guys. I'm trying to figure out if I have an acetobacter infection. Please forgive all of my noobness as I have never lambic brewed before.

I made a batch of wort that was almost 8 gallons in volume. I put 6 gallons of that in one fermenter, and the rest in another.

Now the one that had the smaller amount put in it might not have been cleaned too well the last time I used it or something because it smelled like a barnyard... literally. Which from what I've read is a smell you get from brett. So I figured "what the hell let's put the small one in here and see what happens".

It ferments away for 7 days without incident. Readings from my hydrometer tell me it's safe to secondary. However I had no funkification (for lack of a better word) like I was expecting. I decided since I was attempting to make a sour beer I could add some fruit (in this case cherries) and some oak chips that I boiled and then soaked in whiskey for 4 days.

After doing this I definitely started getting some funkiness. I smelled smoke, bacon and wet horse blanket... and maybe vomit... but I'm not quite sure. It also started forming a pellicle... which I hear is a good thing because it regulates oxygen.

So earlier today I decide to taste it. And it tastes almost acidic. I could only manage a sip or two before I had to stop. Is that normal at this point? Or am I hosed and have cherry malt vinegar?

I've had soured ales before. I love the Duchesse. So I know what I want it to taste like. I just don't know if what I have happening is normal.

Any help from you wonderful folks would be GREATLY appreciated.

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Old 08-05-2010, 02:33 AM   #2
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Could be both. Is the acidity like vinegar or lemons. If it's vinegar, it's acetobacter most likely. However, lots of sour blend lambics can be quite intensely sour. Duchesse is a terrible sweet flanders and not a good indication of what most lambics will taste like. What blend did you pitch?

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Old 08-05-2010, 02:53 AM   #3
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No blend. Just wild bugs that were living in my fermenter.

Like I said. I had extra wort. The fermenter smelled like dirty horse blanket. So I figured "It's probably Brett so why the hell not?".

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Old 08-05-2010, 03:01 AM   #4
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Hmmm, lots of problems here.....

1. You dont secondary a lambic, it sits on the lees and they feed the mixed culture over the entire fermentation

2. Your moving in light speed compared to what is needed for a lambic, they should sit for a bare absolute minimum of 6-12mos before you even think of adding fruit

3. pellicles form in response to O2, they do minimize it to an extent but do not stop the bad effects of large amounts of oxygen getting to the beer, which is something you should keep to a bare minimum

4. there isnt much of an actual oak flavor in lambics, it is aged in oak barrels but they are chosen so that they do not contribute much oak to the beer, oak chips basically just give the bugs a place to live

5. when adding something like oak chips, you dont need to do much to sanitize them, your already brewing a wild beer, pretty much nothing will happen to it

6. (most important one) This beer is very very young, put it in a dark closet, cover it and forget about it until next fall, then taste and see how it is

one last thing, you will not get a beer that tastes like duchese, it is blended back with a young malty beer to give it the sweet/sour twang it has, so unless you keg this is out of the question, some wild beers will also go through sick periods where they are thick/ropey etc, they can also be very fecal and vomit like, sometimes this fades other times it doesnt, it all depends on what is in the culture

oh and to address the aceto bacter question, like martin said, if its lemon its ok, if its vinegar its acetobacter, all you have to do to limit the acetobacter is minimize oxygen which you should do anyway


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Old 08-05-2010, 03:04 AM   #5
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Thank you so much for the advice. I really appreciate it.

So how do I minimize the exposure to O2?

I wasn't really hoping to make something like the duchesse, I just knew I had a funky bucket so I figured "let's see what happens".

I will definitely follow your advice and just leave it the heck alone and let it do it's own thing.

You guys rock.

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Old 08-05-2010, 03:38 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Homebrewtastic View Post
So how do I minimize the exposure to O2?
it's in a bucket?, get it and the yeast cake into a smaller vessel, something that is ~2gal and leave it there with a water lock on until next spring at the earliest
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Old 08-05-2010, 03:41 AM   #7
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Two good rules for the next time you want to make a sour beer:

1) 6 months to a year, minimum, before you think about tasting it.

2) Use a culture, not a dirty bucket that you think might smell like brett.

Also, for what it's worth, a touch of acetic character is common in a number of sour beers (mostly flanders style), though probably the best way to get it is to minimize O2 and blend some actual vinegar to taste before bottling.

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Old 08-05-2010, 03:46 AM   #8
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Will do on the smaller bucket.

Re Dwarven Stout:

My initial intention was never actually to make a sour beer. But I had the extra wort and too much curiosity not to see what was happening in that bucket.

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Old 05-22-2011, 02:11 PM   #9
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Intentions or not, don't use dregs from a dirty bucket. Unless you intentionally introduced a commercial culture to that bucket, you've more than likely pitched enteric, acetic, and other unpleasant bugs. The kinds of things that are desirable in a 1-3% proportion.

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