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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Lambic & Wild Brewing > Lambic Yeast
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Old 12-28-2011, 08:14 PM   #1
OneShot1
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Default Lambic Yeast

I've heard from several people that the only way to get a really remarkable lambic is to harvest and build a yeast starter from the dregs of a commercial example. In the next few weeks I plan to make my first sour beer, a Door County Cherry Lambic, and I need some experienced advice on how to proceed. Here are a few things I am considering...

1.) Using a clean yeast strain for initial fermentation (like 1056), and then adding the Wyeast lambic strain for souring

2.) Harvest the dregs and add those after making a starter (no 1056)

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Also, is a one year fermentation/aging absolutely necessary. Thanks in advance.

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Old 12-28-2011, 08:40 PM   #2
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Well since you asked...
Here is How I would go about it:
1. Ferment Low gravity Wheat beer (~1.045) with WY 3711 (as for using a starter, up to you I don't and have not encountered problems). I recommend using a non-nuetral yeast for initial fermentation that where there is a greater variety of ester/phenol soup to catalyze later reactions. (BTW I know somebody is going to say that 3711 ferments out too far and won't leave the bugs enough to work with, but with the fruit addition you should be fine).
2. Rack to secondary after ~1 mo, and add Roselaire Blend. I have not had good luck with the Wyeast Lambic Blend, I think it is my fault somewhere along the line but that being said I don't recommend it.
3. After 6-8mo Rack onto your cherries and add the dregs of 3-5 bottles of non-pasteurized bottle conditioned Lambic/Sour/Wild beers that you like the taste of.
4. Wait 6mo-2yr then bottle, yes the aging is necessary as some very off/odd/unplesent flavors will be produced in the early stages and you want to give as much time as possible for these to be broken down by the active yeasts and bacteria.

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Old 12-28-2011, 09:16 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JacobS View Post
2. Rack to secondary after ~1 mo, and add Roselaire Blend. I have not had good luck with the Wyeast Lambic Blend, I think it is my fault somewhere along the line but that being said I don't recommend it.
Racking to secondary is not necessary for lambic. Lambic is aged on the trub.

To answer the OP's questions:

1. I would use one of the sour blends, whether it's the lambic, roselare, or sour mix, along with some dregs of commercial sours. You can add regular ale yeast as well if you like but I was able to get a good fermentation out of the lambic blend and some dregs from Lindeman's Cuvee Rene gueuze. If you want to add ale yeast I also recommend a Belgian strain over a neutral strain. Use an abbey strain rather than a high gravity strain since you don't want the ale yeast to ferment everything out before the bacteria can get to work making some souring acids.

2. I wouldn't. I don't think with dregs, unless you have a lot and the beers are very freshly bottled, will propagate enough quickly to start fermenting the beer right away. You might end up with something too acidic and one dimensional. If you really wanted to you could ferment with an ale strain and then add the dregs along with it but it's going to take longer to age because the souring bacteria and brett will need longer to get moving. By using dregs along with a sour blend you get the primary souring agent moving quickly and the dregs can add some additional strains to improve complexity.

3. Age is the most important ingredient in lambic. Brett and friends will take some time getting a foothold in the beer and do their thing but they will keep working on the beer and improving the taste as it ages. I would consider a year the shortest amount of time necessary to produce decent lambic but you would likely get a better beer waiting 18-24 months. Some people have bottled lambic after six months and said it was good and you could probably get something drinkable but if you're going to wait six months for good beer what's another six months to get great beer?
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Old 12-29-2011, 01:22 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JacobS View Post
1. Ferment Low gravity Wheat beer (~1.045) with WY 3711. I recommend using a non-nuetral yeast for initial fermentation that where there is a greater variety of ester/phenol soup to catalyze later reactions. (BTW I know somebody is going to say that 3711 ferments out too far and won't leave the bugs enough to work with, but with the fruit addition you should be fine).
I'm one who will say 3711 is way too aggressive. Also, adding the cherries at 6 months is not going to give any food for the bugs as there will still be plenty of 3711 around, and it's just going to consume those sugars in a couple of days of adding them. Note for Jacob; 3711 is not a true Belgian yeast, so would not fit in with your definition of a true Lambic Clone.

Quote:
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3. After 6-8mo Rack onto your cherries and add the dregs of 3-5 bottles of non-pasteurized bottle conditioned Lambic/Sour/Wild beers that you like the taste of.
If you add the dregs with the blend, it will give longer for the bugs to develop. I see no reason waiting 6 months to pitch the dregs.

Quote:
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4. Wait 6mo-2yr then bottle, yes the aging is necessary as some very off/odd/unplesent flavors will be produced in the early stages and you want to give as much time as possible for these to be broken down by the active yeasts and bacteria.
I've heard the beer can become sick/ropey, but will improve if left. I've never experienced it. I would like to .... and when I do, I'll probably hope to never experience it again. Not all beers get 'sick'.
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Old 12-29-2011, 04:16 AM   #5
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@RevApMa - I know the racking isn't necessary, but figured going to do it ayways to get the beer on cherries, unless whole thing is in a bucket..??

@Calder - I am aware that the origin of 3711 is not belgian, but as for not true lambic clone, he was planning on using Door County Cherries so...

That being said, you know what I really love about the forums? Everybody who brews beer has a different set of 'what works' guides, and yet they all tend to turn out right for that person.

If you want to see a 'sick' beer add a Kombucha Scoby to a pale/amber beer in secodary.... Looks pretty 'sick' to me

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Old 12-29-2011, 11:28 PM   #6
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Thanks for all the replies guys. I knew there were a lot of different ways to approach a lambic and I plan to take some of what everyone said. The feedback gave me a good idea of what I am going to do.

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Old 12-29-2011, 11:52 PM   #7
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How is 3711 not a Belgian type yeast? I know its French but the region its from is right by Belgium. It is used for farmhouse ale family of beers which is Franco Belgian type.

From- The Brewmaster's Table by Garrett Oliver

"The flat farmlands of Wallonia, the French speaking region of southern Belgium are home to one of the world's most refreshing and enigmatic beer styles....Are traditionally farmhouse ales, rustic beers produced by small artisanal brewers in the Wallonian province of Hainaut...Nutritionally, they were as important as milk or bread."

"Saison, means "season," and the season in question was the end of winter and the beginning of spring. As mild March weather breathed life back into the countryside, the brewing season drew to a close. In the days before refrigeration, brewing was impossible in warm weather-fermentations would get out of hand, and the beer would spoil. Besides, the farmer would be busy with his crops and would have no time to brew. The beer brewed in March had to last through the heat of the summer, through the early autumn harvest, and into the next brewing season, which generally started in October. It needed to be robust enough to keep for months, yet light enough to quench the thirst of farmhands. Once the harvest was over, the farmers would start brewing again-the beer could be sold to provide a secondary income as the fields lay fallow. Some saison breweries are still attached to farms where you can pick up eggs and cheese along with your beer."

Brasserie Thiriez is where 3711 supposedly is from and according to Google Maps its 100km from Roeselare, 177km from Brussels and along the way of the highway you take you pass by Bruges & Ghent.

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Old 12-30-2011, 02:24 AM   #8
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How is 3711 not a Belgian type yeast? I know its French but the region its from is right by Belgium.
It was a light-hearted dig at JacobS, because he previously posted in another thread that you could not make a Belgian beer without using a true Belgian yeast ...... and here he was recommending a French one. And, as you noted, since it is French; it is not a true Belgian strain.
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