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Old 03-11-2013, 01:47 PM   #1
bigljd
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Default Question on re-using ECY Bug farm - lambic batch 2

I made a lambic style brew last April, using a traditional recipe of 8lbs Pils, 4lbs unmalted wheat and an ounce of aged Willamette hops, and did a turbid mash. Fermented in a glass carboy with ECY Bug Farm, and left it on the yeast cake after it finished for the last 10 months. I've been a good boy and haven't touched it since last July, since I have several other sour brews I've been drinking I had no need to mess with it.

I pulled a sample of the lambic last week and I think it's ready to bottle. It has moderate levels of acidity and a big, complex barnyard brett flavor coming thru. I loved the sample, and I'd like to bottle it and age it for a few more months before starting to drink them.

What I'd like to know is what is the best method of re-using the cake for a re-brew of the lambic. I did not add any commercial dregs to the original ferment, I wanted to keep the cake pure ECY Bug Farm. I do know that the balance of bugs/brett has changed from the original blend, and I believe there's likely a higher percent of bugs vs brett than the original jar. I don't want the re-brew to get overly sour if the bug count is higher than before.

Here's some options I've been thinking of and would like some feedback on which would work best to get the same results as the first batch:

1. Re-brew the same recipe - mash high to keep some complex sugars, and ferment out with a Trappist yeast. Then rack it onto the Bug Farm cake with some added malto-dextrin to feed the brett. Age 1 year.

2. Re-brew/mash high, ferment with Trappist yeast, and then add some Brett B and age for a couple months to give the brett a head start. Then rack onto Bug Farm cake and age 1 year.

3. Re-brew/mash high, and rack fresh wort onto the Bug Farm cake along with a pitch of Trappist yeast and let everything go at it all at once. Age 1 year.

What do you think?

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Old 03-11-2013, 05:37 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigljd
I made a lambic style brew last April, using a traditional recipe of 8lbs Pils, 4lbs unmalted wheat and an ounce of aged Willamette hops, and did a turbid mash. Fermented in a glass carboy with ECY Bug Farm, and left it on the yeast cake after it finished for the last 10 months. I've been a good boy and haven't touched it since last July, since I have several other sour brews I've been drinking I had no need to mess with it.

I pulled a sample of the lambic last week and I think it's ready to bottle. It has moderate levels of acidity and a big, complex barnyard brett flavor coming thru. I loved the sample, and I'd like to bottle it and age it for a few more months before starting to drink them.

What I'd like to know is what is the best method of re-using the cake for a re-brew of the lambic. I did not add any commercial dregs to the original ferment, I wanted to keep the cake pure ECY Bug Farm. I do know that the balance of bugs/brett has changed from the original blend, and I believe there's likely a higher percent of bugs vs brett than the original jar. I don't want the re-brew to get overly sour if the bug count is higher than before.

Here's some options I've been thinking of and would like some feedback on which would work best to get the same results as the first batch:

1. Re-brew the same recipe - mash high to keep some complex sugars, and ferment out with a Trappist yeast. Then rack it onto the Bug Farm cake with some added malto-dextrin to feed the brett. Age 1 year.

2. Re-brew/mash high, ferment with Trappist yeast, and then add some Brett B and age for a couple months to give the brett a head start. Then rack onto Bug Farm cake and age 1 year.

3. Re-brew/mash high, and rack fresh wort onto the Bug Farm cake along with a pitch of Trappist yeast and let everything go at it all at once. Age 1 year.

What do you think?
Hmm.. Here's a better thought. Rack batch #1 off into a 5 gallon Carboy or Better Bottle, brew an identical batch, pour onto yeast cake. The bugs will change, and you'll get a bit more sourness. Forget malodextrin, if you do an all grain brew and mash high, you'll be fine.

In 9 months to a year, blend them together so you have more acidity (like 2-1) and bottle the rest as straight lambic
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Old 03-11-2013, 05:45 PM   #3
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4. Send a vial of the yeast to me and I'll let you know what I find out...

If you are afraid of it getting too sour(wait, is this even possible) Id rack off the cake, and jar some slurry. Make whatever batch you want, pitch a primary yeast, and add the jar at the start of fermentation or after the primary strain has done most of the work...whatever floats your boat.

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Old 03-11-2013, 07:41 PM   #4
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Joe at Princeton homebrew told me in an email to wait at least a year on bug county. He even mentioned that it would seem ready at 10 months, but get even better with at least 2 more months.

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Old 03-11-2013, 07:45 PM   #5
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bell - cool idea, and if it was lacking sourness I'd definitely think about brewing a more acidic batch and blending a gueze. I'm pretty happy with the balance of brett and acidity now, and would like bottle it soon, rather than a year from now. It's really balanced now, and more time may make it more acidic than I'd like.

Xpert - I like the idea of pitching part of the cake. I'm thinking now I might do a hybrid of the choices. Mash high, ferment with Trappist, and when fermentation is mostly finished I'll rack over to glass and pitch a small starter of Brett B and a pint or so of slurry from the original cake. Brett B is the barnyard brett, so I'd like to keep the big barnyard flavor in the next batch, and I think the bugs from the cake should give me enough acidity to end up with a balanced sour/funky lambic. Hopefully some of the other bretts will still be alive from the original ECY blend to add some additional complexity.

I don't usually over think my process this much, but when it takes a full year to make a batch of a lambic style brew, I want to do it in a way to give me the best chance of it coming out the way I want it to. I'm thinking of doing the lambic re-brew this weekend, so I'm trying to nail down a plan beforehand.

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Old 03-11-2013, 07:47 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TNGabe
Joe at Princeton homebrew told me in an email to wait at least a year on bug county. He even mentioned that it would seem ready at 10 months, but get even better with at least 2 more months.
Gabes right, I'm lucky, Princeton Homebrew is my LHBS. He's always telling people to wait, wait, wait on ECY. It apparently even gets better! He's down the road and I've still yet to score East Coast Yeast
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Old 03-11-2013, 07:49 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigljd
bell - cool idea, and if it was lacking sourness I'd definitely think about brewing a more acidic batch and blending a gueze. I'm pretty happy with the balance of brett and acidity now, and would like bottle it soon, rather than a year from now. It's really balanced now, and more time may make it more acidic than I'd like.

Xpert - I like the idea of pitching part of the cake. I'm thinking now I might do a hybrid of the choices. Mash high, ferment with Trappist, and when fermentation is mostly finished I'll rack over to glass and pitch a small starter of Brett B and a pint or so of slurry from the original cake. Brett B is the barnyard brett, so I'd like to keep the big barnyard flavor in the next batch, and I think the bugs from the cake should give me enough acidity to end up with a balanced sour/funky lambic. Hopefully some of the other bretts will still be alive from the original ECY blend to add some additional complexity.

I don't usually over think my process this much, but when it takes a full year to make a batch of a lambic style brew, I want to do it in a way to give me the best chance of it coming out the way I want it to. I'm thinking of doing the lambic re-brew this weekend, so I'm trying to nail down a plan beforehand.
Cool! I thought It didn't have enough acidity based on OP
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Old 03-11-2013, 07:56 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bellmtbbq View Post
Gabes right, I'm lucky, Princeton Homebrew is my LHBS. He's always telling people to wait, wait, wait on ECY. It apparently even gets better! He's down the road and I've still yet to score East Coast Yeast
I'm just going to bottle it - not planning to start drinking any of it for another 3 or 6 months after bottling. I've bottled some other sours previously and I know they will continue to improve in the bottle. I've got a sour cherry porter on tap right now, along with a Flanders red batch I bottled a while back, so I'm not in a hurry to drink the lambic. I'll bottle it, let it develop in the bottle, and get another batch underway with the bug cake.
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Old 03-11-2013, 07:58 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bellmtbbq

Gabes right, I'm lucky, Princeton Homebrew is my LHBS. He's always telling people to wait, wait, wait on ECY. It apparently even gets better! He's down the road and I've still yet to score East Coast Yeast
If you didn't suck at packing yeast to ship, maybe if send you some PM me.
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