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Old 12-01-2009, 03:45 PM   #1
Gregg
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Default Lambic Primary / Fruit Addition

I tried to search but I can't seem to find anything that really answers my question so I thought I would give posting a try.

I just brewed up a batch of NB's Dawson's Kriek extract kit. It's sitting in the primary and fermenting. My question is really, once the primary is done, should I rack onto the fruit into a secondary or just add the fruit into the primary? Like I said I've tried to search, but I'm confused about this...

Any thoughts or tips would be very much appreciated!
Thanks!

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Old 12-01-2009, 03:54 PM   #2
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A friend and I did this exact batch. We let it ferment for a couple of months in the primary then racked onto the fruit in secondary.

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Old 12-01-2009, 03:55 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply. How long was a couple of months, or did you rack to secondary when the gravity became stable?
Is your batch still sitting or was it done, how did it turn out?

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Old 12-01-2009, 03:59 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nealf View Post
A friend and I did this exact batch. We let it ferment for a couple of months in the primary then racked onto the fruit in secondary.
How long did you secondary?
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Old 12-01-2009, 04:01 PM   #5
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A couple was about 2 months... just long enough for all of the trub and a good amount of the yeast to flocc out.

It has been in secondary for a month or so, it will probably stay there for a year or so.

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Old 12-01-2009, 04:33 PM   #6
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In Wild Brewing (where most of my knowledge on lambics has come from) Jeff Sparrow indicates 2 things:

1) Fruit additions should be done after like a year, and then the beer should age for another length of time (months to years).
*I think there are differences in practice, but this seems to be the traditional method.
*One could probably look at the relative life cycles of the organisms in a lambic and come up with a perfectly logical assessment/reason for this tradition. (I think I'll do that sometime.)

2) A key difference between Lambics and Flanders Acid Ales is that Lambics stay in the primary fermenter (barrel) the whole time, while Flanders beers are fermented in one vessel then transferred to barrels for secondary fermentation. The dead yeast provides food for the particular organisms active in lambic fermentation.
*Note that a lambic won't make it to the primary fermenter until like 24 hours after boiling; it sits in a coolship to get inoculated.
*During that time, a great deal of the trub will settle out. You likely transferred to your primary fermented rather quickly. So the contents of your primary fermented will look a lot different than Cantillon's (i.e. you have more crud).


So my recommendation (although there are more experienced pLambic makers active on this forum) in this case would be:
1. Transfer to secondary soon so you still have some yeast that make the trip and ultimately croak at the bottom of your carboy.
2. Add the fruit after 6 months to a year and drink after something like 1-2 years.

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Old 12-01-2009, 04:34 PM   #7
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What I was going to was ferment on the primary for a month, then rack to a secondary with the fruit and just let it sit.....Seems to be inline with your recommendation number 1.

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Old 12-01-2009, 07:20 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gregg View Post
What I was going to was ferment on the primary for a month, then rack to a secondary with the fruit and just let it sit.....Seems to be inline with your recommendation number 1.
I have had the best luck adding the fruit to sour beers after it has already aged for a considerable period of time 6-12 months. This has several big advantages, but the reason for it traditionally was that it would allow the brewer/blender to take samples and select which barrels would be best with fruit and which would be best left alone. Adding fruit later on also allows you to feed the sugars to the wild yeast and bacteria, not the primary Saccharomyces strain, this boosts acidity and fermentation complexity.

In general I like to bottle half of a sour beer after a year and add fruit to the rest. This gives me two different beers, and allows me to learn what different base beers taste like with and without fruit.

Hope that helps good luck.
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Old 01-19-2010, 09:59 PM   #9
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when adding lambic/sours to secondary on fruit, do you usually have a violent refermentation? since brett should be working more in the latter stages and sacch has slowed the pace, is there still a krausen from which you might need a blow off tube if there isn't much head space? or do you really only get a pellicle at that point? wild brews says that refermentation is not as vigorous and does not require notable headspace, but i've read about fruit additions with crazy refermentation and explosions, violent blow offs, etc.

i ask because i just reracked 3 gal of a 10 month sour @ 1.004 onto 7lbs cherries and left about 1 gal space in a SS 5 gal corny. this is the oldest of my sours and don't know what to expect except refermentation and complexity. this won't be touched again till next year so the cherries can completely breakdown.

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Old 01-20-2010, 02:57 AM   #10
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when adding lambic/sours to secondary on fruit, do you usually have a violent refermentation? since brett should be working more in the latter stages and sacch has slowed the pace, is there still a krausen from which you might need a blow off tube if there isn't much head space? or do you really only get a pellicle at that point? wild brews says that refermentation is not as vigorous and does not require notable headspace, but i've read about fruit additions with crazy refermentation and explosions, violent blow offs, etc.

i ask because i just reracked 3 gal of a 10 month sour @ 1.004 onto 7lbs cherries and left about 1 gal space in a SS 5 gal corny. this is the oldest of my sours and don't know what to expect except refermentation and complexity. this won't be touched again till next year so the cherries can completely breakdown.
You should be fine, I've never gotten more than a big pellicle when racking an aged sour onto fruit. Brett can produce blowoff if you are talking about a 100% Brett ferment with a really healthy starter, but there just aren't enough really active cells in an aged sour to get that sort of action from fruit.
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