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Old 04-04-2010, 02:17 AM   #1
RchanceN
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Default How much plum?

So I'm trying my first lambic(ish) this weekend and going with plum...question is how much should I add? I plan on pitting the plums, mashing them up a bit, pasteurizing, racking the beer on top of them in the secondary, and pitching Wyeast's lambic blend. I can't seem to find any guidelines or recipes that use plum. Any idea how many pounds would give me what level of plum aroma and flavor?

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Old 04-04-2010, 03:39 AM   #2
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I've made a few lambics over the years and never used plums. I personally don't care for plums, but I know they are a more subtle flavor. I made a cherry (kriek) lambic and put in 10 pounds of whole cherries. I would think you wouldn't want a pronounced plum flavor, so I would try about 10 - 12 pounds of plums and go from there. For the aroma and flavor that you seek, it is more a personal taste than anything.

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Old 04-10-2010, 03:56 AM   #3
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Default On its way...

So, I made a Belgian style Wit, fast, vigorous fermentation over 3 days. Fastest fermentation I have ever had. It really seemed done at the end of day 2. OG was 1.044. Racked to secondary at 1.008 on top of 10lbs of pitted, pasteurized plums. Pitched Wyeast 3278 half way through the racking to mix it in well. Now the wait...oh it's gonna kill me.

How long should I let it sit in the secondary plastic bucket? After the secondary I was planning on racking back to glass for a month to clear it out some, bottling, and letting it sit for at least a few months before drinking. Any ideas, suggestions, comments?

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Old 04-10-2010, 04:22 AM   #4
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you added the plums waaay too early

you should have pitched the lambic blend to start, as it sits now there really isnt any sugars for the bugs to eat and make the beer sour, by adding the smack pack at the same time as the plums the sacch that was in the beer (huge populuation btw) ate all the plum sugars

I would suggest adding some maltodextrin at this point and letting it sit ~12mos or so, I might even suggest planning on adding more plums, although I dont know if your gonna get much of any plum flavor/aroma from them, Ive made plum wine and its extremely subtle

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Old 04-29-2010, 03:41 AM   #5
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Thanks for the feedback guys. I realize I went about this the wrong way so I ended up racking off the plums to a tertiary after a few days, and bottling about a week after that (I'm away from my notes, exact timing escapes me). I cracked one open about 10 days after bottling (early I know) just to see what I might be ending up with and was pleasantly surprised. The plum aroma and flavor is prevalent with a little tartness to it. So far, it's something I would brew again...anxious to see what it's like in a couple months.

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Old 04-29-2010, 03:55 AM   #6
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watch those bottles, you bottled very very quickly (1mos start to finish), and will most likely have bottle bombs as time goes on

when using sour blends you really need to let the beer sit for an extended period, this is because the brett/pedio/etc work very slowly and dont build up their population for some time

Did you take a FG, and what was your grain bill?? What level did you carb to? it only takes 3pts of gravity to make 3volumes of CO2, so if you carbed to 2-3vols already and the brett chew even a point off your asking for trouble

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Old 04-29-2010, 04:15 PM   #7
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On vacation right now and don't have my Beer Smith, but it was a PM of about 70% 2-row, 30% wheat in the mash with 2 or 3 lbs extra-light DME. OG was 1.044, before adding the plums it was 1.008 and the same at bottling time. I took gravity readings over 3 days before bottling and it was stable at 1.008. I was under the impression that the bugs would be left without any sugars to eat due to the large sacc population already there. Carb level was 2.8.

Are the bugs able to use sugars that sacc isnt? Should I recap at some point to release some CO2 pressure? Does somebody make a brewing microbiology book?

Maybe they should all just be consumed before they explode...

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Old 04-29-2010, 05:29 PM   #8
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Brett/pedio will continue to eat many of the sugars/dextrins that sacch cannot eat, and a FG over 3days is nothing for a sour beer, you need stable readings over a several weeks to months

Not too long ago I advised trading partner to sit on his sour for another couples months (he was anxious to bottle) it was sitting at 1.007, after much convincing he let it go a couple more months, the next time he tested the gravity it was at 1.005, those 2pts would've caused gushers or bottle bombs if he bottled when he wanted to, and his beer had been going for ~9mos

I suggest putting them all in a fridge if they are carbed, and drinking them relatively quickly

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Old 04-29-2010, 05:30 PM   #9
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How long is your vacation? You might come home to your house looking like a war zone.

Yes, the brett that is in there will eat all of the complex sugars that the sacc won't. Luckily they are slow, so bottle bombs may be months off. Did you at least bottle them in champagne bottles or something?

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Old 04-29-2010, 06:22 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RchanceN View Post
Does somebody make a brewing microbiology book?
Plenty of good books out there, but Wild Brews is probably the best single source for easy to understand sour beer info. It doesn't have everything, but it certainly will send you in the right direction on most topics.

I just sent my first article off to BYO Magazine, coincidentally on adding fruit to sour beers. Certainly will be worth a read when it eventually gets published. Mostly similar advice to Ryan (add bugs early, wait to add the fruit, let it sit on the fruit for awhile, watch the grvity etc...)
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