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Old 08-23-2013, 05:34 PM   #1
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Default Lambic Primary vs Secondary Question

I did a 5 gallon lambic in July and it's sitting in primary since then.

I scaled this recipe I got on my previous post to this forum

3.5 lbs pilsner malt
2 lbs unmalted wheat
mash 150* for 60'
.5 oz herzbrucker hops at 60'
chill and pitch lambic blend.

More here: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f127/newbie-411915/

While I understand why the secondary needs to take 5-6 months to ferment the fruits, what's the benefit of having a long primary for a lambic ? I tend to approach this logically but the conclusion is not working for me.

Thanks!
Q

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Old 08-24-2013, 12:13 AM   #2
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Sour blends generally have Sacc Yeast, Brett, Lacto, and Pedio, occasionally Sherry flor and acetobacteria, and maybe other bugs.

Sacc yeast builds its colony in about a day and has completed its work in about a week; creates alcohol and esters.

Brett is slow off the mark, and therefore doesn't get to use the O2 to multiply, so builds its colony anaerobically. It probably doesn't get to its maximum population until about 8 months. It feeds on the dead yeast and converts the yeast esters to different flavors, and works on some of the more complex sugars. The Brett will continue developing flavors for up to 18 months or more.

In an alcoholic environment the Lacto and Pedio can take a couple of years to fully develop their colony's. They convert some of the residual sugars to acetic acid, and it can take a long time to get decently sour, but I think this produces a less complex beer.

Hope this helps.

To do a quick sour, you either need a huge population of Lacto and Pedio at the start, or sour it before adding the yeast.

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Old 08-26-2013, 06:22 PM   #3
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See that makes a lot of sense. I was not aware that the lambic yeast is not a regular yeast. #newbie

So basically I need to make sure the yeast and bateria reaches a certain critical mass to feed it with fruits.

Do I need to move it to secondary at all since the dead yeast is going to be consumed ?

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Old 08-28-2013, 07:16 PM   #4
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Sacc and Lacto act quickly, Brett and Pedio take time. If you only wait a few months, you will have very little influence coming from the brett/pedio side and the beer basically tastes like a berliner weisse.

On a homebrew scale, you want to wait at least 9 months before adding fruit. Best results might be brewing in the early spring, aging through summer, fruiting in the late fall, and bottling in the winter. This would allow sacc/lacto the spring to do its work, the pedio a summer to work, and then give Brett the fall to clean everything up. Brett continues working indefinitely, so the longer you wait the more complexity will develop.

Once you fruit, that is the end of it, so make sure your base beer has developed the flavor you want before fruiting. You will have a burst of fermentation from the new sugars, and then you let the fruit macerate for a couple 2-3 months, and then bottle. It is neither beneficial nor harmful to remove the beer off the traub for the fruiting stage.

(slight correction from Calder's post; lacto and pedio do not create acetic acid, acetobacter does that.)

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Old 08-29-2013, 07:41 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by levifunk View Post
(slight correction from Calder's post; lacto and pedio do not create acetic acid, acetobacter does that.)
are you certain about that? many sources state that lacto can produce acetic:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lactobacillus_brevis#History
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7975904
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC92530/
http://www.extension.iastate.edu/wine/lactic-acid-bacteria-and-wine-spoilage

pedio generally does not, at least not the strain we use in brewing, but:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pediococcus_acidilactici
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Old 08-29-2013, 04:51 PM   #6
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I'm not a microbiologist, so I don't understand the technicalities of all this, but my understanding is that, while there are some strains of lacto that can produce acetic acid in certain environments, the lacto strains common in brewing do not produce acetic acid or at least not in quantities detectable by humans.

Some more information from Smokinghole here:
http://babblebelt.com/newboard/thread.html?tid=1108752780&th=1377719001&pg=1&tpg= 1&add=1

I'd venture to guess its something like only heterofermentative strains in an aerobic environment produce acetic acid, but again, I don't know.

I do "know" that for our purposes, as homebrewers, we should not be fearful of acetic acid production from the addition of lacto/pedio. Maybe I'm wrong?

Specifically in lambic, acetic acid is not produced in discernible amounts, so for the purposes of this thread and speaking on the general fermentation schedule of lambics, the lacto/pedio create lactic acid.

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Old 08-29-2013, 06:11 PM   #7
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Quote:
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Once you fruit, that is the end of it, so make sure your base beer has developed the flavor you want before fruiting.
Can you expand on this statement? i don't think I have ever heard of this before. Are you saying once you rack on fruit, the bugs quit eating?
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Old 08-29-2013, 07:58 PM   #8
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Can you expand on this statement? i don't think I have ever heard of this before. Are you saying once you rack on fruit, the bugs quit eating?
Not that they quit, but that they will have a fresh source of simple sugars (fructose). Sacc probably picks up again as well as Brett and they ferment those out. After the sugars are gone, the brett will continue its slow work, but you are going to bottle the beer before any noticeable development from the brett occurs (above and beyond what was there prior to fruiting).

So thats my point, wait until your base is ready before fruiting. Its not like you are going to leave it on fruit for a year.
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Old 08-30-2013, 04:35 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by levifunk

I do "know" that for our purposes, as homebrewers, we should not be fearful of acetic acid production from the addition of lacto/pedio. Maybe I'm wrong?

Specifically in lambic, acetic acid is not produced in discernible amounts, so for the purposes of this thread and speaking on the general fermentation schedule of lambics, the lacto/pedio create lactic acid.
Just keep out the oxygen and acetic shouldn't be an issue.
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Old 09-01-2013, 12:40 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by levifunk View Post
Sacc and Lacto act quickly, Brett and Pedio take time.

slight correction from Calder's post; lacto and pedio do not create acetic acid, acetobacter does that.
Sorry ...... I meant to say lactic acid. I was just trying to explain to Q why a sour takes a long time and will continue to change over a couple of years.

You really don't want much acetic acid (vinegar), but want more of the softer lactic acid. Acetic acid is mainly produced by acetobacteria in the presence of O2, while lactic acid is the product of Lacto and pedio working on the sugars.

I disagree with the statement that Lacto acts quickly. It does if there is no alcohol or hops, but in the presence of both of those, it can be very slow.
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