Lambics are some of my favorite beers and I've always wanted to brew one, however I never even gave it a thought because of the challenges presented. Today for a thought experiment I decided to plan out a yearly pipeline.
A true Lambic is a blend of 3 different aged batches:
#2 Aged Hops
Hops for a Lambic should be aged 1-3 years in order to remove any of their bittering characteristics. You are really only looking for their preservative properties to aide in the long haul ahead. Most recipes I've seen call for 3 oz of aged hops.
#3 The Pipeline
I would want a yearly pipeline. This entails having 3 different vintages every year. In order to make this work, 3 batches would need to be brewed every year and stored for their respective uses (1yr,2yr,3yr).
In order to step into the pipeline 1 batch would be brewed the first year and 2 batches the 2nd year. All years after would follow the 3 batch plan.
When aging so many batches, storage would become an issue. Following the 3 brews a year plan, 6 batches would need to be stored at any given time. 3 three year batches, 2 two year batches and 1 one year batch. This is a fair amount of static carboys to be holding, but not out of the question.
So what would the yearly schedule look like to get things going?
- Acquire 3oz hops
- 6oz hops, Brew first batch
- 9oz hops, 2 batches
- 9oz hops, 3 batches
- Blend 3 Batches and bottle, 9oz hops, 3 Batches (repeat indefinitely)
In theory this would give you one 15 gallon batch of Lambic each year.
It seems like a lot to get into, but for me a system like this is what it would take to regularly brew a beer that requires upwards of 4 years from rhizome to bottle.