I wanted to update this thread (and the front post) with tasting notes 2 years after I started brewing these.
As for my timetable: brewed the first November 2010, the second November 2011 and another in June 2012 - all to blend for a gueuze. Notes on the aging process and recent tastings.
- Brewed 10 gallons 11/10
- Began ferment in 10 gallon plastic container
- Transferred to two 5 gallon glass carboys one month later
- Bottled one carboy 2/12 - results were great. Only criticism was that it needed to be older.
- Tasted second carboy 11/12
- Aroma/flavor has shifted from a bright acidity to a more funky leather/sweaty aroma and flavor
- Color has darkened significantly from aging, light brown or copper
- Really, really getting amazing at this point
- Brewed 5 gallons
- Began ferment in 5 gallon glass carboy
- Never transferred or disturbed
- Tasted carboy 11/12
- Aroma was slightly tart - mostly lactic, no acetic
- Flavor was lifeless, some amount of tart, some funk
- Color is still very light, light amber, mostly clear
- Body was very thin - same gravity reading as the others, but with no interesting flavors/prickly acidity to help the mouthfeel
- Brewed June 2012 - 10 gallons
- Fermented exactly as the 2010 version, 10 gallon in plastic then split to 5 gallon carboys
- Tasted carboys 11/12
- Extremely bright acidity, nice mix of lactic/acetic
- Some background notes of funk
- Still very light in color - straw colored & brilliant
Based on yesterday's tastings, I will probably be blending the 2010 and 2012 and a 60/40 ratio for my gueuze and will definitely leave the 2011 out of the gueuze. I may transfer the 2011 to another carboy and add some maltodextrin to see what happens. I hope to also bottle some of the remaining 2010 for another straight lambic.
All that being said, I would like to propose a theory on why the 2011 is so boring and lifeless. I think it is my 10 gallon plastic fermenter that holds the key - and it is the only variable changed in the three trials. I think a small amount of O2 is important to achieve a wonderful lambic. So from now on, I will only brew these if my 10 gallon plastic fermenter is available.
I'll keep updating as time marches on.