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Old 02-11-2009, 03:50 PM   #1
cimirie
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Default Use of water cooler containers in lambic

So, I'm about to begin my first attempt at one of my favorite beer styles - lambic. I've found a great "cheater's" recipe which speeds up the painstakingly long lacto-bug taste build-up by souring the mash pre-boil. Sure it's not a "true" lambic for purists, but I've heard it sure tastes the same.

Anyways, my question is this. Normally, I wouldn't consider using something like this, but what about the use of 3 gallon water jugs (of the type used for water coolers) for secondary and tertiary? The typical obvious objection is that you may introduce air into the beer which may impart off flavors/bacteria.

Thing is, traditionally, those things aren't bad in a lambic considering it's fermented open air. Plus, with the potential contamination of my brew setup, I'd rather use equipment that's cheap ($5 apiece) and potentially throwaway.

Thoughts, comments? Thanks all.

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Old 02-11-2009, 04:22 PM   #2
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What it sounds like you are attempting to do to me is a "Sour Mash" which is a very valid option for brewing a Berliner Weisse, but I am not sure how the sourness would compare to a Lambic.

You can listen to more about sour mashing in this podcast: http://media.libsyn.com/media/basicbrewing/bbr09-18-08sourmash.mp3

However, I don't think that I would use those 3 gallon water just unless they were #1 or #2 plastic just because I am overly paranoid about the possibility of what chemicals may, or may not, be leached into the beer.

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Old 02-11-2009, 04:28 PM   #3
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Sour mash is all about lactobacillus while a typical lambic blend also contains a lot of Brettomyces which is pretty important in a Lambic.

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Old 02-11-2009, 05:09 PM   #4
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For everybody's reference, I grabbed the recipe here.

The Impatient Man's Lambic-ish Framboise - BrewBoard

The author and a few of the responders all claim it to taste just like a Lindeman's lambic. Strictly speaking I guess I know what I'll be making isn't a lambic (maybe a fruit Berliner Weisse), but my palate can't read. All it knows is taste. And if it tastes close, my taste buds will be happy!

I've been checking in to the #1 vs. #2 vs. #7 plastic type debates. I don't think it'll be a probelm to find a #1 plastic bottle. Thanks for the feedback.

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You guys joke around with this all you want, but let me tell you something: I tried making my own beer one time and wound up with herpes!


Primary: Billy Corrigan Ale, malted cider experiment, Optimator clone
Secondary: Sorachi Ace IPA
Bottled: Dark Lord Clone Imperial Stout, Winter 2010 Spiced Ale Ambassador Brown Ale, Michigan Berry pLambic
Kegged: Old Woodward ESB, Strawberry Blonde
On Deck: Honey brown ale, dry stout

Last edited by cimirie; 02-11-2009 at 08:33 PM.
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Old 02-28-2009, 05:48 PM   #5
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I am making a "cheater" lambic also, a Framboise. I am using my soudough stater to sour a pound of extra light DME + 1/4 cup honey in a gallon of water. I'll do a long boil this afternoon when it is really stinky with a teaspoon of "aged" hops, some lactose and then add some yeast. I'll do the raspberries in secondary. This is just an experiment to see how this works, I'll let ya'll know...

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Old 02-28-2009, 11:10 PM   #6
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FYI-

Lindemans is not a Lambic, even though it advertises itself as such.

Real lambics are dry, not sweet. Lindemans is actually a blend of a conventional (yeasted) beer, with a wild beer that is pasteurized prior to blending, and then sweetened with fruit.

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Old 03-01-2009, 05:12 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cimirie View Post
So, I'm about to begin my first attempt at one of my favorite beer styles - lambic. I've found a great "cheater's" recipe which speeds up the painstakingly long lacto-bug taste build-up by souring the mash pre-boil. Sure it's not a "true" lambic for purists, but I've heard it sure tastes the same.

Anyways, my question is this. Normally, I wouldn't consider using something like this, but what about the use of 3 gallon water jugs (of the type used for water coolers) for secondary and tertiary? The typical obvious objection is that you may introduce air into the beer which may impart off flavors/bacteria.

Thing is, traditionally, those things aren't bad in a lambic considering it's fermented open air. Plus, with the potential contamination of my brew setup, I'd rather use equipment that's cheap ($5 apiece) and potentially throwaway.

Thoughts, comments? Thanks all.
sour mashes imho do not taste nearly as good as a good lacto souring done with a lacto strain. the sour mashes I have done have tasted very one dimentional with no real character to them, you could get the same flavor by simply adding lactic acid to a batch of fermented beer. To my taste buds, this is kind of like microwaving a steak.

Lambics are not fermented "open air". they are exposed to the open air for a short period of time for the purposes of innoculation, and then most of tem sent to wooden barrels which provide a very slow, micro oxygenation. if you were to simply age a batch of any beer open to the air for an extended period of time, you would wind up with vinegar.
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Old 03-26-2009, 03:01 PM   #8
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I have brewed the above recipe. I let the wort spoil for roughly 24 hours near a heating vent in my boiling pot. It smelled terrible and I could taste the sour tang. I boiled it and it smelled a bit like Worcestershire as it was boiling. I have let it ferment and it was a monster. It fermented out in about 1 day and was extremely violent.

I took a taste today, and it tastes pretty awful. The sourness is there, though at this point I am not sure if its acetic or lactic acid that I am tasting. I am also getting a fairly strong cardboardy (oxidized) flavor from it. I am not sure that is the correct description if anyone has tried Ale Asylum's Gold Digger Blonde Ale, the same flavor comes through in that.

I am not going to pitch it, on principle mainly. Perhaps the flavors will improve. At this point I would say the best strategy for souring wort might be to incubate a starter with lacto and add this to the wort to be sure vinegar producing bacteria are kept at bay. I would also cover the surface of the wort with plastic wrap (I have heard that prevents acetobacter).

If anyone else has brewed a sour beer with this method I'd be curious to hear your thoughts on whether this beer is worth keeping.

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