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Old 10-02-2009, 07:53 PM   #1
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Default Lambic Marathon

I started a five gallon batch of beer using 3 1/2 pounds light Pilsner Malt Extract and 3 1/2 pounds of 60/40 wheat/barley extract plus 1 oz. Czech Republic Saaz hops and White Labs WLP 655 yeast.. The starting gravity comes out to 1.053. After two weeks in the primary I racked it onto 6 pounds of Oregon Rasberry puree. I then poured a second batch on top of the yeast cake and it has now been two weeks-I plan to rack it onto 6 pounds Apricot puree and am ready to brew another to go on top for cherries and then another for peach.

Since it takes so long to age these sour beers, and I truly like all the different fruit flavors my thinking is that it won't take much longer to make a bunch of it at one time. When all four batches are in the secondary, I also plan to start a new batch with new yeast to brew a straight lambic for blending or consumption.

A few questions.

1. Is it advisable to reuse the yeast four times for the four different batches. Will some of the yeast strains be lost or diminshed with the later batches?

2. When I make the straight lambic blend I have consider taking about six ounces from the straight lambic batch to add to each fruit batch to ensure there are plenty of yeasties and beasties available for the long job of aging and souring these beers.

I would appreciate everyones thoughts or comments on what I am doing here and am definitely interested in any suggestions or advice on how best to proceed.

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Old 10-04-2009, 11:19 PM   #2
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Is there no one that has any advice, suggestions, constructive criticism or comments on this endeavor?

I just racked batch two into a new Better Bottle carboy that had six pounds of Oregon Apricot Puree in it. I have to run to the grocery store to get some water and then will get batch three started.

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Old 10-05-2009, 01:34 AM   #3
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Ideally you would want to let the beer age longer before adding onto fruit, but to answer your questions.
1. Yes, you can reuse the yeast 4 times.... but it will change the ratio of yeast/bacteria. I know with my sours with the Roselare blend each successive beer is getting more sour, so the lacto and pedio are cranking out more lactic acid as their amounts are greater then the initial batch.

2. If the fruit batches are from the straight lambic blend they already have the same yeasties and beasties anyway. You will get a lot of refermentation when it hits the fruit, so just be patient and they will do their job. There should be plenty brett and bacteria left in solution.

You might also think about adding dregs from other sour beers you buy, it will add some more complexity to the sours. When I buy sours from the store I tend to save the last ounce or so and dump it in my sours, get a bigger mix of buggies.

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Old 10-05-2009, 04:30 AM   #4
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I think your plan is awesome, and I will do the same when I start doing lambics. I plan to do something similar with my Flanders Red.

As far as being too sour, nice thing is you have 4 batches you can blend as you please, and the leftovers can be blended with a 'virgin beer' if you need to cut the sourness. IMO, it's superior to doing one batch because you can blend and dial in the level of sourness/funkiness you want from your beer.

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Old 10-05-2009, 04:39 AM   #5
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"As far as being too sour, nice thing is you have 4 batches you can blend as you please, and the leftovers can be blended with a 'virgin beer' if you need to cut the sourness. IMO, it's superior to doing one batch because you can blend and dial in the level of sourness/funkiness you want from your beer."

Sort of, since you're adding the fruit so early the sourness won't really develop till later, so you can't really blend them to control sour levels unless you want to mix all your fruit. That's why if you let them sour first without the fruit you can blend then add fruit once you get the levels you want.

Also, careful of blending old with new if you are a bottling. The new stuff will still continue to ferment and can make bottle bombs. Belgian Gueze is still a blend of year old and multi year old, so everything is pretty much fermented out, if you bottle some year old with month old there will still be complex sugars for the brett/lacto/pedio to ferment.

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Old 10-05-2009, 05:02 AM   #6
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Thanks a lot for everyones comments. I started with a recipee I got from a club member. He brewed the beer, the added the Cherry puree in the secondary, aged it for four months and then bottled it. He was raving about how good it was and then said it was much better after a year in the bottle-but was just about all gone too! So I followed his recipee and thought I would just age it a year in the carboy. That was the motivation behind my plan. I have even considered adding an Oude Bruin and Flanders Red to the mix.

Does anyone have some recomendations for commercial beers that would have beneficial bacteria. I'll keep an eye out for them and when all the batches are in the secondary I could split each bottle between them all.

Also, one more question. What about adding oak chips? A guy at my local LHBS suggested I had an ounce to each secondary that has been boiled twice to reduce the "Oakiness". ???

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Old 10-05-2009, 04:49 PM   #7
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I would recommend oak cubes instead of chips. The oak cubes are better suited for long term aging as they release deeper flavors over time. I wouldn't go about boiling it twice, and ounce shouldn't be that overwhelming in 5 gallons. Also, French and Hungarian oak is much smoother then American oak.

Good readily available beers with bacteria are pretty much anything with "Lambic" written on them... although the Lindaman's Framboise could be pasturized. I know Cantillon, Lindaman's Cuvee Rene, Girardin, and others are probably good bets. Also, beers from Fantome usually have Brett strains, Orval has a Brett strain, beers from Russian River are great choices.

I'm not entirely sure what beers are available in Texas, but find some sours and you are probably safe adding the dregs.

Also, once you do this you can save your oak cubes and reuse them from batch to batch to spread the sour bugs around.

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Old 10-05-2009, 09:09 PM   #8
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Thanks guys, there is just no way to say how much I appreciate everyones advice. I think, since the yeast cake will increase in "sourness" with each batch, I will make the third one the Peach Lambic and save the Cherries for the last batch.

I know after two batches the yeast cake was looking pretty nasty. I probably won't even want to know what it will look like after four batches. The EPA may declare my house as a "Super-Fund" site.

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Old 10-05-2009, 09:27 PM   #9
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Yah, just wait till the pellicles form, talk about funky looking!

Also, at some point the sourness may plateau off, I'm not certain each batch will keep getting more sour. Also, there is no absolutes on the sourness, some may get really sour and some just so-so, hence why they blend them. You can try to add in more complex sugars for the bugs to feed on to try to gain a bit more sourness if you need to.

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Old 10-06-2009, 12:08 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by beeraroundtown View Post
Yah, just wait till the pellicles form, talk about funky looking!
You have to wonder about that first dude to take a drink of a batch of beer with a pellicle floating on top. He must have been really desperate...or really drunk!
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