First try at a Lambic
Hey guys... next week some time I'll be brewing my first Lambic. I have a little more research to go, but I know there is a wealth of knowledge here on HBT and I thought I'd post my plan and see what advice there was.
Here is the recipe:
5# light dry extract
3.3# wheat dry extract
2.0 oz Hallertauer hops that have been aged 3 years
Wyeast Lambic Blend #3278.
1. Brew on brew day as normal. Pitch yeast pack into primary
2. Primary for 1 week at 70-72
3. Rack to secondary (fill secondary with CO2 first to inhibit mold from fruit)
4. Add 10# peaches. Peaches have been cubed into small pieces and in freezer
5. Attach blow-off tube to secondary
6. Add 2 oz of French medium roast oak chips
7. Let sit for 1 year.
9. One more year...
I saw somewhere that I will not be able to use the bucket again for regular brews after using it for a wild brew. My first question is should I be running the secondary in plastic or glass? If I use glass, can it be cleaned enough to reuse?
I know that the plastic fermenter will allow some oxygen to pass through, but glass should not. Oak barrels used in true Lambic production allow the passage of oxygen through the barrel.
Also, I have seen some using a regular yeast and then adding the Lambic blend after primary fermentation is done. Wyeast suggests dumping the package into the primary fermenter by itself. Should I try to stir up some yeast during racking from primary to secondary to ensure that a wide variety of yeast/bugs are present? I don't want the natural flocculation over the primary fermentation to change the profile of the yeast too much. I see a lot of guys not racking to a secondary, which would prevent the need for this.
Let me know what you think... I'm excited about this brew! All came about because the gf wanted me to brew a clone of Lindeman's Peche... I know this won't be a clone, but she enjoys a good lambic. I won't be pasteurizing or back-sweetening mine.
Oak chips are unnecessary.
generally you will leave the lambic in the primary for one year, then secondary ontop of fruit, then leave for another year. Then bottle.
I second the one year in primary, on the yeast. Rack onto the peaches, and check to see when the FG is stable.... Then you can bottle and age as long as you like. Peaches in the secondary that early, and you will lose some of the aroma and taste. If you wait and age it on the peaches later on, you can preserve some of that nose and taste of the peaches.... How many peaches per gallon are you looking at adding? Apricots give a great peach flavor too
I would suggest at least attempting a small mini-mash for this type of beer, also 1wk fermenting is far too short, think about a minimum of 6mos before you do anything especially adding fruit
I would also suggest adding 0.25# of maltodextrin or lactose to help the complexity of the beer
I would also suggest against deciding beforehand what type of fruit to add, IMO sours dont work well like that, you have to taste the beer and see what type of fruit will fit the flavor profile of the beer after its got some age, otherwise things could clash
Like Apache said, oak is unnecessary, personally I would run with a glass carboy for 6mos -9mos before thinking about fruit, and yes glass can be cleaned and used for "clean" beers
If you interested, I wrote up a post about blending and fruiting sour beers here
I picked the 7 day mark after reading through some of the other posts. I must have misunderstood what was going on. I've seen some guys pitching a regular ale yeast, and then racking to secondary. What is the thought process behind this? is it to speed up the primary fermentation? Maybe this is where I saw the 7 day primary, but didn't realize what was going on.
I wanted to stay away from that process because I was using the Lambic blend, so I feel that the necessary yeast should be present in the pack. Should I use a blow off tube or can I get by with the regular stopper and airlock?
10# of peaches... That should be enough to get a decent peach flavor. Did a peach wheat with about 8-9# of peaches, and it turned out peachy, but after a while you had to concentrate to taste the peach. Lot of people enjoyed it, because it wasn't in-your-face peach, but the Peche lambics are definitely a peach kick. The other batch was a wheat beer, but the peaches were only held in for 30 days. The 1 year secondary of the lambic should put a peach kick into it.
I'm kinda surprised there is such a consensus against using oak. I figured that the oak barrels that are used in belgium would almost require oak chips used in some fashion to achieve similar flavors. I may have read into the advice wrong, as in "use oak if you want to, but not necessary" vs. "don't use it!"
Ryane... checked out your post. It was extremely interesting and informative. I saw someone else post about maltodextrine. Shouldn't the lactobacillus produce the lactic acid in the beer? Also, when you specifically talked about the three different types of profiles, is there a way to guide the beer towards one from the start? I.e. temperature or fermenting vessel?
I know there is a lot of ?'s here, I basically just realized that I haven't done 10% of the research I need. I've been putting this off and putting it off to try and do more research, but I figured I should just go ahead and do it to finally get moving on it.
And finally...Thanks guys!
For a lambic, pitch your lambic blend and put the carboy away for a year. It should sit on the yeast cake. Majority of acid in lambics does not come from lacto, but from pedio. I pitch some malto typically. This will provide some fuel for the brett and pedio. Brett and pedio are super attentive together, so what ever you pitch(including peaches) will be completely fermented. If you want it to taste sweet like peaches, you need to pastorize it or use non fermentable sweeters(sacharin) or add the peaches and drink it quickly. I like oak in mine and the oak cubes give a place for the brett to hang out. I use like an oz, I boil them quickly first and dump that water.
I would suggest getting the wild brews book, it is really good.
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Looks good overall, but I'd make a few changes. Wait until you have a nice funk presence before you add the fruit (6 months-1 year). Also, the chips aren't necessary, but if you want an oak presence I'd go with oak cubes as they impart a more complex flavor. I'd also add some maltodextrin to the boil as well.
Here's a good article on extract lambics:
Brew Your Own: The How-To Homebrew Beer Magazine - Beer Styles - Lambic Brewing
I have the Wild Brews book, and the Yeast book by Chris White. I just recently got them and haven't had the time I needed to read through both.
0.25# of malto dextrine has been added to the recipe.
The oak I have is actually cubes, I should have specified that in the initial post.
Any heads up on what I saw for the 7 day primary?
Some sours, like flanders reds and oud bruins, can actually be fermented with a neutral strain and then racked into secondary and then the souring agents are pitched. Lambic is somewhat different because people tend to pitch everything up front and let it sit on the trub. So you might have been reading something about those styles of sours.
To clarify on the oak issue, lambic is usually fermented in barrels but the barrels are so old and so well used that any oak flavor would have been stripped out a long time ago. So even though it is barrel aged there is no oak flavor coming from it. It's not the end of the world if you want to add oak but it's not necessary.
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