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Old 08-25-2011, 01:05 AM   #1
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Default Safe to bottle Lambic Blend after 5 months?

So I made a Belgian Sour Dubbel on 3/15/11 using a pack of Wyeast Lambic Blend which I mistakenly made a starter of. I also added some Orval dregs in the secondary. Here's the grains:

8lb Pilsner
3lb Munich
.5lb Special B
.5lb Flaked Barley
2oz Carafa III Special

Mash was at 151F.

By 6/1/11 the beer was down to 1.005. Readings on 7/14 and 8/24 show virtually the same gravity (1.004 - could have been a slight over-reading on 6/1), and the beer has tasted basically the same since 6/1/11. It's tart, without a lot of funk (to me), with some bright cherry pie and fruit punch kind of flavors.

Given that the beer is 5 months old now, and hasn't changed gravity for a while, am I safe to bottle it now? I know it will continue to improve and I don't plan on starting to drink much if it until later in the year, but it would really help my pipeline to free up the carboy and use up some bottles.

This is my first sour, so I really want to get it put away into the books as a success.

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Old 08-25-2011, 02:54 AM   #2
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When I made my lambics, I didn't bottle them until at least 1 to 1.5 years. Give it time to form a pellicle and get plenty funky.

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Old 08-25-2011, 05:39 AM   #3
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Safe to bottle? probably. You should not wind up with bottle bombs.

I would hide these form yourself though so that you don't drink them before their prime. Or at a minimum drink them over several years.

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Old 08-25-2011, 02:19 PM   #4
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I have a lambic at work on the same lambic blend with some dregs from a bottle of cuvee rene. I noticed around month six or seven the pellicle changed from tight bubbles (which I've normally seen with brett b) to a powdery pellicle. Since then, it has developed considerably more cherry pie and tartness. I suspect this is another strain of brett taking over to do more fermentation.

Slight exposure to oxygen will help develop the flavor of a lambic. I would not bottle it yet because you stand a good chance of missing out on really great flavor development, even if you let the bottles sit for months.

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Old 08-25-2011, 05:04 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ReverseApacheMaster View Post
I have a lambic at work on the same lambic blend with some dregs from a bottle of cuvee rene. I noticed around month six or seven the pellicle changed from tight bubbles (which I've normally seen with brett b) to a powdery pellicle. Since then, it has developed considerably more cherry pie and tartness. I suspect this is another strain of brett taking over to do more fermentation.

Slight exposure to oxygen will help develop the flavor of a lambic. I would not bottle it yet because you stand a good chance of missing out on really great flavor development, even if you let the bottles sit for months.
ditto this.

Is it safe to bottle now? Probably. Should you bottle it now? Probably not, wait.

It's quite possible that the sherry yeast in that blend has played a role in dropping your gravity down to 1.005 without much contribution from either of the Brett strains, the lacto or the pedio. Without overstating the obvious, the consensus for lambic aging is generally 1-3 yrs for proper contribution from all the yeast/bugs. IMO, this is the perfect excuse to buy an additional fermenter
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Old 08-26-2011, 12:23 AM   #6
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Alrighty you guys have convinced me. I'll buy another 5 gallon Better Bottle and let this one age in the carboy for a bit longer. Its just now starting to form a skin on top, I had it sitting by my washing machine and dryer for the first 4 months and didn't realize until recently that the vibration from the machines was probably blocking the pelicle from starting. Its moved now.

Should I feed it some fresh wort and/or malto dextrine and/or lactose now? As mentioned, it had some bright tartness but not a lot of what I call "funk." I had initially planned on adding dried cherries to it, but now I'm not so sure.

Something cool to do would be to keep a lambic like this one going, and start drawing off .5 - 1 gal at a time to add to straight Belgian beers to get a Three Philosophers Clone

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Old 08-26-2011, 12:31 AM   #7
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You're going to share this when it's done, right?

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Old 08-26-2011, 02:40 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ghpeel View Post
Should I feed it some fresh wort and/or malto dextrine and/or lactose now? As mentioned, it had some bright tartness but not a lot of what I call "funk." I had initially planned on adding dried cherries to it, but now I'm not so sure.

Something cool to do would be to keep a lambic like this one going, and start drawing off .5 - 1 gal at a time to add to straight Belgian beers to get a Three Philosophers Clone
Brett will create funk by fermenting sugar, putting esters and acids together into new shapes, breaking down esters, etc. Personally I wouldn't feed it more sugar. I would be concerned that it would make the beer too funky for the amount of sourness. Plus if you feed it more sugar you will definitely be waiting a long time for it to reach final gravity. Brett is slow.
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Old 08-27-2011, 01:29 AM   #9
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I'd wait on bottling. Got a batch going here. Yours won't get as funky as it would if you had done a turbid mash or a similar less efficient mash to leave food for the brett and bugs.

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Old 02-14-2012, 01:32 AM   #10
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Ok update time. I have restrained myself from bottling it so far, although I did fill 1 bottle up and used carb-tabs to see how it was progressing. The act of syphoning off 1 bottle's worth introduced more oxygen, and now the pelicle has thickened up a bit. Its still pretty small compared to the ones in the "Pelicle Showoff" thread here, but the smell has been consistently fantastic for a long time. Bright cherry pie, and the sample bottle I pulled had a nice sourness too. That bottle was a little one-dimensional, but I think I'll bottle this beer as-is soon, and experiment with oak/fruit/other bugs on my next batch.

If this thing tastes like it smells, its gonna be great!!

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