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Old 07-06-2012, 03:40 PM   #1
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Default Primary in a wine barrel

Have a 35 gallon wine barrel and all the bugs/ingredients to brew and fill it with a pLambic.
My question is, should I fill it up leaving just enough room for pitching for primary? Or should I fill it to 2/3 or some lesser volume to leave room for Krausen and then top off with Fermented? Or fresh wort? After it dies down?
Thanks for the input an any other barrel/pLambic tips welcome.

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Old 07-06-2012, 06:30 PM   #2
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Here's a tip: never, ever use that nonsensical plambic term. It's just lambic. If you don't call other beers associated with a location by something with a p, don't do it with lambic. It's not a pkolsch, pdortmunder, ppilsner, pflanders red, pCDA, pIPA, pTexas Brown, etc.

You definitely need to account for krausen. You could leave the barrel partially filled during primary fermentation but when you add the rest of the wort it's going to kick off another fermentation and the blow off will have to go somewhere. Easiest thing to do is ferment elsewhere and use the barrel for secondary aging. If that's not an option I guess you could leave a few gallons out, ferment all the rest in the barrel and separately ferment the left out portion and add it back in the barrel after all fermentation has ended.

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Old 07-06-2012, 08:44 PM   #3
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Thank you for the tips. I will most likely ferment out another 5 gallons separate and then corny keg it to use to do initial and then extended top off during aging.
As for the pLambic term. Lambic is an Appellation Controllee, like Champagne and protects it's uniqueness and the fact that it requires spontaneous fermentation in the Senne Valley.
I am glad that other brewers can't market as a Lambic and either Turn off or pull away customers from traditional Lambic. Although I could complain about Lindemanns for all the people that think Lambic is sweet. And somehow Sam Adams gets away with Cranberry Lambic, one of my least favorite beers.
But back on topic thanks for the guidance and I look forward to the journey.

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Old 07-07-2012, 05:06 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Feurhund View Post
Thank you for the tips. I will most likely ferment out another 5 gallons separate and then corny keg it to use to do initial and then extended top off during aging.
As for the pLambic term. Lambic is an Appellation Controllee, like Champagne and protects it's uniqueness and the fact that it requires spontaneous fermentation in the Senne Valley.
I am glad that other brewers can't market as a Lambic and either Turn off or pull away customers from traditional Lambic. Although I could complain about Lindemanns for all the people that think Lambic is sweet. And somehow Sam Adams gets away with Cranberry Lambic, one of my least favorite beers.
But back on topic thanks for the guidance and I look forward to the journey.
It's a controlled appellation in the EU. People here are free to do as they like. It brings up an interesting question: is champagne really champagne because it's made in the Champagne region or is it really champagne because it follows the champagne method?

Not all lambic producers think of lambic as something that can only be created in one part of the world. I seem to recall van Roys at Cantillon in an interview on one of the BN shows saying you could make your own lambic because lambic is really just spontaneously fermented beer. I've read similar comments from others. It just depends on whether you think lambic is a particular product or a production style. What we do when we pitch from a controlled yeast blend really isn't either but the flavor profile is most like lambic. You're obviously free to use that plambic term but that's rather outmoded and unnecessary.
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Old 07-07-2012, 05:42 AM   #5
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I get your point. Would make more sense to just call it a Sour Ale in the Lambic style or whatnot if you are preserving the Lambic label.

What the hell, I'm brewing a Lambic! Only in Massachusetts.

I am just excited to let this barrel get funky and age a year or two. The plan is to ferment 2 five gallon carboys along side the barrel with oak cubes and different bugs each so there will be a variety for blending later and then the barrel will get solera'd.

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Old 07-07-2012, 12:18 PM   #6
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i primary-ed in my barrel and it did krausen up - i have a pic somewhere - it looks like a mushroom cloud billowing out of the top. I left about four fingers of headspace below the bunghole. I just let the krausen run all down the sides and onto the floor, then when it was done- i topped off, and yes did spark another fermentation, but didn't lose as much beer. I have to add maybe a half gallon every couple months to keep pretty full so my wood on the top stays wet- i make a starter (usually with brett and dregs) and add that after fermentation has slowed.

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Old 07-07-2012, 12:19 PM   #7
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oh and in asia they call it rambic. i am assuming that there it is made from full grown sheep, not just the babies.

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Old 07-07-2012, 03:57 PM   #8
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Wow, that isn't tasteless at all. /\/\

Kräusen will happen but that's why primary is always done with something to just let the activity out, while not allowing bugs in. I'm also not too sure about the appellation contrôlée. I have heard it before, but there are plenty of beers not made in Pajottenland that are allowed to call themselves lambic. HORAL has tried, and failed to procure such law. And Jean Van Roy doesn't even think they have a chance, that's why he isn't even consorting with them. Among other reasons.

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Old 07-07-2012, 10:17 PM   #9
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I agree with what has been said above. I don't agree that "Lambic" can only be made in Belgium (Jean Van Roy has stated the same), and I find it silly to use a term such as Pseudo Lambic, or pLambic. I call it Lambic. For those who get hung up on this, I tell them its an "American Lambic".

As for leaving space in the head of the barrel, I would recommend doing it. The primary fermentation is very active for lambics and filling the barrel too high will only result in loss. On a 35 gallon barrel, I would recommend leaving 5-10 gallons out and allow it to do the primary fermentation in a glass carboy. Then once wort in both the barrel and carboy have completed primary, rack over the contents in the carboy to top off the barrel. It would be important to not leave too much of a headspace in a smaller barrel like that for the long term aging.

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Old 07-08-2012, 02:06 PM   #10
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Here is a shot of the barrel and stand with my Kal clone electric brewery in the back.

I will be pushing my system to the max to squeeze out the 45 gallons necessary for the project. 35 in barrel and 2 five gallon carboys for top off and later blending(diff bugs)

image-3706978191.jpg  
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