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A keg of 6-year lambic

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Arrheinous

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So in 2014 I visited Russian River, got hyped, and then made 10 gallons each of red, brown, and lambic that summer. Sour beer didn’t catch on in my circles so by 2020 I still have a case each of red and brown bottles and a full keg of lambic. All 2014 vintage.

What’s the best way to use this 5 gallon keg of lambic to start a yearly lambic program?

I can dedicate two maybe three cornys to this so my first thought is cut the 6-year back to 1, 2, and 3 years average with young beer and keep a multi-keg solera going.

The 6-year lambic was done from dregs, Roselare blend, and that ‘bug farm’ sour blend. IIRC I used Roselare as the initial yeast pitch so the lambic is bracingly sour but still complex. It was sort of a fall beer so I added pumpkin spice back in the day which has held up beautifully over time.

Learning from these results I’m going to push up the ABV and add a few IBU to reign in the lacto more. My bugs will come from a local cider mill who does a spontaneously fermented hard cider. But I’m considering starting from a clean fermentation with Belle Saison first to favor funk over acid.

I’m going to avoid a turbid mash but mash warm and add a can of pumpkin to the boil early.
 

goodolarchie

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The 6-year lambic was done from dregs, Roselare blend, and that ‘bug farm’ sour blend. IIRC I used Roselare as the initial yeast pitch so the lambic is bracingly sour but still complex. It was sort of a fall beer so I added pumpkin spice back in the day which has held up beautifully over time.
And it was going along so well...

Anyway if the beer is good, then you just have to be patient and build up the young lambic. It's nice to try to emulate the same recipe and keep the culture diverse, bug farm will certainly do that. I wasn't 100% sure if you meant that you intended to blend in the young beer and make a gueuze (in which case your original 5 gallons could get cut 20% at first, and perhaps 20% after that), or if you're trying to solera in the original keg. If that's the case the rule of thumb is to draw off no more than half of it at a time, perhaps you could bottle that original batch. You might just keep that original keg around for blending small amounts to add complexity though.

If you want funk, use a fair amount of unmalted wheat, and plenty of (ideally aged) hops in the boil. Pitch your POF+ strain for about 3 days then add your spontaneous stuff, or set aside some to coolship/spontaneous inoculate on a cool night and the add it back in later. Pumpkin in lambic makes me think of the fatty acids I try to avoid... but who knows, I'm all for experimentation. Brett will eventually eat just about everything. Keep us posted on how it goes!
 
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