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Old 07-16-2011, 10:48 PM   #1
dougdecinces
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Jan 2011
Indianapolis, Indiana
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I have got my first real good taste of sour ales and I am hooked. My girlfriend loves the Lindemann's (I know, where have we heard that before.), but I think I can get her on board with something that's a bit more true to style. I just want to make sure my recipe and methods are sound. I have a skeleton plan and a recipe that I am going to work with, but lots of questions and I am hoping I could be shepherded in the right direction.

Recipe (assume 65% efficiency):
5.5 gal
1.058 OG
5 lb Belgian 2-row
3.25 Flaked wheat
3 lb Wheat DME

1 oz of whatever low A.A. hop I can stale.
Triple decoction mash
Ferment with Wyeast 3278

Here is my plan:
1) In August or September, I will brew a basic version of my recipe and transfer to a bucket. I will add the yeast and French oak cubes.

2) After a 4-6 month primary, I will transfer the beer to a carboy for bulk aging. At the same time I will brew a 2nd batch of the beer and pitch it straight on to the existing yeast cake (with a fresh collection of oak cubes).

3) After another 4-6 months, I will combine the two batches. Half will go in to the carboy for more aging, the other half will go on top of a gallon or two of apple cider and will age another 2-3 months. I timed this out so that I'll be ready to do this when my local farmers market first releases apple cider, so it will be a nice seasonal thing to do.

4) Then I will brew a third batch of this and pitch it on the same cake. When that batch is ready, I will mix it with a combination of batches 1 and 2 and store half of it and transfer the other half to a vessel with several pounds of sour cherries.

5) I'll repeat this process using different fruits and infinite blendings until I die or get bored.

I like this method because it only has me using one fermentation bucket, carboy and bottling bucket ad infinitum. That way I can mark these clearly and don't have to worry about cross contamination.

Here are some of the big questions I have:
*Can I keep pitching on to the 3278 or will I have to eventually replace it? The description of the yeast on my LHBS' website says that I shouldn't use it for multiple generations, but it's expensive and I'm lazy, so I am hoping I could get at least 2-3 generations out of it. I don't mind if I have to also pitch an inexpensive dry yeast with it, too. I just don't know what kind of shelf life the buggies have.
*Can I add 0.5 lb honey malt to finish with a sweeter product to please the SWMBO? Or will the triple decoction mash be enough to get a desirable level of sweetness?
*I am going to be doing BiaB. I usually mash without a sparge. Will I need to do a sparge with boiling water just for this recipe, or am I fine doing without?
*Is two-three months on the fruit fine? I plan on bottling the Pomme in early to mid-november. If I do, will it be ready in Christmas? That would make it 15 months old and 1.5 months in bottle.
*Does anyone in the Indianapolis area want to help me???

I'm sure I will have more questions going forward, but I think that's enough for you all to marinate on for now.



 
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Old 07-17-2011, 12:01 AM   #2
ryane
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Nov 2008
Washington
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dougdecinces View Post
Here is my plan:
1) In August or September, I will brew a basic version of my recipe and transfer to a bucket. I will add the yeast and French oak cubes.
No need to add oak unless you want the flavor profile to be oaky

Quote:
Originally Posted by dougdecinces View Post
I like this method because it only has me using one fermentation bucket, carboy and bottling bucket ad infinitum. That way I can mark these clearly and don't have to worry about cross contamination.
Unless Im missing something how do you plan on having 3 full batches fermented out using only a bucket and a carboy? Also, 8-12mos is still fairly young for a lambic, especially if you end up blending batch 1 and 2 at 10mos, there will be lots of food for the bugs to continue to eat up

Quote:
Originally Posted by dougdecinces View Post
Here are some of the big questions I have:
*Can I keep pitching on to the 3278 or will I have to eventually replace it? The description of the yeast on my LHBS' website says that I shouldn't use it for multiple generations, but it's expensive and I'm lazy, so I am hoping I could get at least 2-3 generations out of it. I don't mind if I have to also pitch an inexpensive dry yeast with it, too. I just don't know what kind of shelf life the buggies have.
Go ahead, each successive generation will become more and more sour, as the bugs out compete the yeast due to their increasing numbers

Quote:
Originally Posted by dougdecinces View Post
*Can I add 0.5 lb honey malt to finish with a sweeter product to please the SWMBO? Or will the triple decoction mash be enough to get a desirable level of sweetness?
NO, adding honey will only make the beer drier and more alcoholic - honey will completely ferment out. There really isnt a way to make a sweet lambic beer without pasteurization. Anything you make will be very sour, if you have kegging capabilities you can add k-sorbate + campden and then sweeten, or you could just do it in the glass when you serve. The nice thing about doing this in the glass is that you can add any number of fruit syrups and have a very different beer each time

Quote:
Originally Posted by dougdecinces View Post
*I am going to be doing BiaB. I usually mash without a sparge. Will I need to do a sparge with boiling water just for this recipe, or am I fine doing without?
So long as you hit your #'s it shouldnt matter, I would suggest mashing very very high to ensure food for the bugs

Quote:
Originally Posted by dougdecinces View Post
*Is two-three months on the fruit fine? I plan on bottling the Pomme in early to mid-november. If I do, will it be ready in Christmas? That would make it 15 months old and 1.5 months in bottle.
It could, but will it be really good then? IMO thats unlikely 1.5mos is doable for carbonation but could be cutting it very close, as Ive had sours that took months to carb up. Also in my experience theres a strange grainy-like flavor that takes some time to dissipate in the bottle, tasting it is unpleasant and is indicative of a sour thats too young



 
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Old 07-17-2011, 01:25 AM   #3
dougdecinces
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Jan 2011
Indianapolis, Indiana
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Unless Im missing something how do you plan on having 3 full batches fermented out using only a bucket and a carboy? Also, 8-12mos is still fairly young for a lambic, especially if you end up blending batch 1 and 2 at 10mos, there will be lots of food for the bugs to continue to eat up

The bucket would be for each new batch. The 5 or 6 gallon carboy would be for the leftover beer. I will always have 10 gallons on hand no matter what. It's just that each successive generation will be in the carboy. So, for example, by generation 10 there would be the previous 9 generations of lambic in that carboy. This way I could minimize space.


Go ahead, each successive generation will become more and more sour, as the bugs out compete the yeast due to their increasing numbers

This is what I figured. I'll probably just taste is I go, and when a batch passes a sour threshold, I'll pitch new bugs.

NO, adding honey will only make the beer drier and more alcoholic - honey will completely ferment out. There really isnt a way to make a sweet lambic beer without pasteurization. Anything you make will be very sour, if you have kegging capabilities you can add k-sorbate + campden and then sweeten, or you could just do it in the glass when you serve. The nice thing about doing this in the glass is that you can add any number of fruit syrups and have a very different beer each time

I meant honey malt. It's a Canadian crystal malt that makes the resulting beer very sweet. If I was going to make a lambic that tasted sweet, this would be how I would have to do it.

It could, but will it be really good then? IMO thats unlikely 1.5mos is doable for carbonation but could be cutting it very close, as Ive had sours that took months to carb up. Also in my experience theres a strange grainy-like flavor that takes some time to dissipate in the bottle, tasting it is unpleasant and is indicative of a sour thats too young

It's not mandatory I get it done by Christmas, it would have just been icing on the cake. I figured I was looking at 18 months, minimum, but I was being hopeful.

 
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Old 07-17-2011, 02:00 AM   #4
Calder
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Mar 2010
Ohio
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dougdecinces View Post
I meant honey malt. It's a Canadian crystal malt that makes the resulting beer very sweet. If I was going to make a lambic that tasted sweet, this would be how I would have to do it.
I have used Honey Malt in a cider and it was sweet tasting although it fermented out dry (0.996). I was very surprised by the sweetness of it.

I suspect the sweetness is from some complex sugar. If that is the case, the bugs may be able to work their way through that too. Worth a try; the worst that could happen is the Lambic ends up dry.

 
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Old 07-17-2011, 02:08 AM   #5
dougdecinces
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Jan 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Calder View Post
I have used Honey Malt in a cider and it was sweet tasting although it fermented out dry (0.996). I was very surprised by the sweetness of it.

I suspect the sweetness is from some complex sugar. If that is the case, the bugs may be able to work their way through that too. Worth a try; the worst that could happen is the Lambic ends up dry.
That's the plan. I don't mind a dry final product, but SWMBO is more in tune with Lindemann's. As Kissinger says (or Kissinger's head in Futurama, I can't remember), compromise is the essence of diplomacy.

 
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Old 07-17-2011, 03:42 AM   #6
twigboy2000
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Jun 2009
Atlanta, Ga
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If you want anything near Lindeman's, you'll need to either pasteurize and back sweeten or you'll need to sweeten with artificial sweetener's such as saccharine. Some of the Belgian lambic maker's do that.

The 3278 blend will make a sour beer. Even the first gen will end up sour given enough time. Have you tried any lambics from Cantillion or Dries Fonteien? Those will give you a better example of lambic.

-chuck
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Old 07-17-2011, 04:33 AM   #7
ryane
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Nov 2008
Washington
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dougdecinces View Post
I meant honey malt. It's a Canadian crystal malt that makes the resulting beer very sweet. If I was going to make a lambic that tasted sweet, this would be how I would have to do it.
Ah, Ive actually tried something like this myself, I havent tasted it in quite a while though, if youd like I can pull a sample and let you know if it seems to be working on my batch

 
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Old 07-17-2011, 01:01 PM   #8
Bobby_M
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Bugs will destroy the dextrines in any caramalt. If you want Lindemins style lambic, the easy way to do that is to dose your serving glass with some cherry concentrate right before pouring. Personally I wouldn't bother with a decoction mash. The traditional method is a turbid mash but the benefits there are even questionable to me.
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Old 07-17-2011, 08:07 PM   #9
jtakacs
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Feb 2011
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well said... spin the knife around buddy, better avatar.

 
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Old 07-17-2011, 08:46 PM   #10
dougdecinces
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Jan 2011
Indianapolis, Indiana
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I ran in to another problem. Neither of the LHBS stores in my town carry 3278. The closest I can get is Roselare (3763). Would that be fine for a lambic, or should I get the individual Brett and Lactobacillus smack packs (my LHBS has both) and use those with an inexpensive dry yeast?



 
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