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Old 01-04-2012, 02:58 AM   #1
WineIsRed
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Default Higher ABV Lambic?

I've seen some discussion about blending lambics (esp fruit lambics) to create a higher abv sour, and I'd like to ask those of you who have done it what your experiences are and what advice you have.

If blending with a high abv beer, I'm assuming that it should be very low-hopped, correct?

Should it be a wheat beer? Does it matter?

What about blending with a small amount of a high abv wine – like using a cherry wine to boost a kriek?

I don't know much about lambics, but as for what I'd like to create – imagine lindemans kriek, make it 1/3 as sweet, 3x more sour, and have ~10% abv. Does such a creature exist?

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Old 01-04-2012, 10:42 AM   #2
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I would say come up with a true "plambic" recipe and use Wyeast 3278 Lambic blend, age it for a year, then secondary for 6 months on sour cherries.

Then come up with a much simpler malty Belgian such as a dubbel but with a much higher starting gravity, say 1.100 and use a big starter of 3711 French Saison.

Then blend those and see how it turns out. Hopefully you'll have something in the 9-10% range.

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Old 01-04-2012, 05:45 PM   #3
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The problem is that, especially with commercial blends, many bacteria that are good for souring don't hold up in high ABV and/or do not do a good job souring because the alcohol slows their growth and ability to sour the beer. To do what you're looking for, you might want to make a very dry high ABV cherry beer (either a blond or wheat beer) and then blend it with a lambic. I don't know if you would get enough sourness without dropping the ABV too much. Lambic is typically around 3-4% ABV so to get around 10% your cherry beer needs to be in the mid to upper teens, depending on how sour you want the end result to be. You might need to use cherry juice extract (reduced cherry juice) to avoid adding too much water and lowering the ABV.

Of course, you could always just make your 10% cherry beer and add acids to create sourness.

If you look at a beer like NB's Clutch, it's an imperial stout-like beer at 9%. It is a blend of stout and sour dark ale. It's not really very sour and it's not hoppy. It's like they used the sour ale to balance the sweetness in the stout instead of using hops to do it. You might have better luck going that route with a beer.

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Old 01-04-2012, 06:51 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ReverseApacheMaster View Post
I don't know if you would get enough sourness without dropping the ABV too much.
Abbaye De Saint Bon-Chien Grand Cru (Aged In Merlot Barrels) - BFM Brasserie Des Franches-Montagnes - Saignelégier, Switzerland - BeerAdvocate
Bon-chien does several sours that are in the 11% range, granted they arent using wy/wl but it is possible. I would guess that some of Al's blends could go much higher in abv(he cultures individual strains from dregs)

I might give that a try with his bugfarm to see what it can do
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Old 01-04-2012, 09:13 PM   #5
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It's completely doable. Last spring I made a 10% sour out of I started from some bottles of dupont and jolly pumpkin. It was sour but not quite lambic tart. You'll want a big pitch of healthy bugs in primary, not secondary, and I'd recommend strong bugs like jp, rr, or ecy. Dregs from Belgium probably won't cut it. You could also use like a 4th gen wy blend if it's souring real well. I also mashed low figuring that the bacteria may not take down the dextins in that much alcohol. 8 months later and it was really good. Just be agressive with the critters and get them working early.

Boon has an 8% lambic, jp will take some over 9, and bfm's Bon chien is a great 11% sour so it is possible.

Another thought might be to make a 5% lambic, wait a year and then add simple sugar and new sacch just for alcohol. Also you could make a light really sour beer to blend with the 10 percenter in case you get more funk than sour out of it.

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Old 01-04-2012, 11:23 PM   #6
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Now it's not a lambic but I have a 10% abv potential Flanders Oud Bruin going. I didn't plan for the gravity to hit where it got to but I figured I'd just roll with it. A pellicle is currently beginning to form it's been only two months though at this point.

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