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Old 01-11-2009, 12:40 AM   #1
kendalljd7
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Default Lambic question

I just got my first lambic into primary about 2 days ago, and I noticed that there's not much activity going on.

I'm using a blend of Brettanomyces bruxellensis from Wyeast and Lactobacillus Delbrueckii from White Labs. A friend of mine has made successful lambic-style beers with these two.

My question: Is there an extended lag time from when the bugs are added to when noticeable activity begins?

The recipe that I'm following-ish uses the same blend, but also has a California Ale yeast in the mix as well. I did buy the Cali yeast, but didn't pitch it. Kinda sounded odd to me.

Any thoughts/suggestions are welcome!

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Old 01-11-2009, 11:44 PM   #2
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Im only speculating, but I think you want to pitch the ale yeast as well, a beer fermented solely with brett and lacto is likely to be unpalateable, and i like the funk.

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Old 01-12-2009, 12:11 AM   #3
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Exactly, it's the reason why Jamil/Palmer recommend prefermenting for a while with neutral ale yeast before letting the bugs get their whack at it. It's going to be WAY funky to the point where you might have to brew another plain batch to blend with.

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Old 01-12-2009, 12:13 AM   #4
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So at this point, if I pitch the ale yeast, would it still be salvageable?

Also, I am going to rack this onto cranberries in secondary, so perhaps that will help as well?

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Old 01-12-2009, 01:05 AM   #5
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It certainly wouldn't hurt because beer yeasts act MUCH faster than lambic bugs.

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Old 01-12-2009, 01:08 AM   #6
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forgive my noob lambic status, but what are these lambic bugs? purpose?

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Old 01-12-2009, 02:19 AM   #7
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All kinds of nasties that contribute funk. Brettanomyces, Saccharomyces, Lactobacillus and Pediococcus, etc. They lend sourness and other complexity.

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Old 01-12-2009, 02:20 AM   #8
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The "bugs" are Brettanomyces bruxellensis (yeast) and Lactobacillus Delbrueckii (lactic bacteria). The brett yeasts give a lambic it's characteristic "horse blanket" aroma, while the lactic bacteria give it brew it's soured flavor.

Several of the major yeast manufacturers have a premixed blend of some of these little guys, but there are other species that give different characteristics. From what I understand, these two are the most common in hombrewing lambic-style beers.

Here's a link to White Labs' own strains and varieties of lambic bugs. The descriptions leave something to be desired, but it will give you a better idea of what the different strains do.

White Labs

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Old 01-12-2009, 05:11 PM   #9
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If you just pitched the brett and lacto pure cultures, you also need to pitch some regular brewers yeast. I dont think a beer fermented completely with brett would taste that good.

As far as purpose, kendallijd7 is pretty much right. You have to remember that true lambics are spontaneously fermented. The traditional breweries cool the wort in a large shallow pan called a coolship. The coolship usually takes up the entire upper story of the brewery. Along with cooling, it allows the wort to become inocculated with the wild yeasts present in the brewery. Hundreds have been identified. The Bretanomyces bruxellensis is a mixed culture from Wyeast that approximates a lot of the wild yeasts found in a Belgian brewery. Lactobacillus also plays a big role in producing lactic acid. Along with these, brewers yeast also exists. It plays the biggest role in fermenting any beer, even lambics. The Brettanomyces is considered a superattenuative yeast. After the bulk of fermentation has completed, Brett works on the less fermentable sugars and starches. This is why a lot of lambic recipes call for unmalted wheat. Along with a distinciive barnyard funk, brett dries out the beer and makes it have a light body.

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