Lambic (BOS, 3rd BOS and Two Golds)

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AmandaK

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Recipe Type
Extract
Yeast
Wyeast Lambic Blend
Yeast Starter
Nope
Additional Yeast or Yeast Starter
Bottle dregs
Batch Size (Gallons)
10
Original Gravity
1.044
Final Gravity
1.004
Boiling Time (Minutes)
60
Primary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp)
30 days, 68*
Secondary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp)
1+ years, 60*
Tasting Notes
Really improving with age, BOS Drunk Monk 2010, 3rd BOS Champion of the Pint 2012
This was my first sour ever, but it turned out so well that I figured I'd show everyone how easy it really is. This is based off the Steve Piatz method in BYO from a while back. When I started this recipe, I started with BCS and modified it - as it turns out one of the highest ranking judges had come up with the same thing previously, so I stuck with it!

RECIPE IS FOR 10 GALLONS but you'll want all of that as the years go by.

6 lb Briess Golden Light DME
6 lb Briess Wheat DME
8 oz Maltodextrin
----
4 oz. aged hops (I picked a pound up from freshhops.com ironically enough)
----
Wyeast Lambic Blend
Numerous bottle dregs, e.g. Cantillon, Avery Depuseluse, Jolly Pumpkin, etc

I put the 10 gallons in a large plastic food grade container (Vittles Vault with an airlock) for about a month at room temperature over the winter. I then transferred to two 5 gallon carboys and forgot about them for over a year. Bottled one of the carboys at 1.5 volumes of CO2 and it's been winning ever since.

Time table:
November 2010 - brewed
December 2010 - transferred to secondary in glass
February 2012 - bottled one carboy
March 2012 - Best of Show at the Drunk Monk Challenge, best of ~850 beers
April 2012 - Champion of the Pint Comp: Gold in Sours & 3rd Best of Show
May 2012 - NHC First Round - Chicago: Blue Ribbon in Sours
June 2012 - Went to the Mini-BOS in Sours at the final round of the NHC - Judges main critque: "Drinks a bit young, re-enter next year. Please."
November 2012 - 2nd in Sours at the Land of the Muddy Waters

It's really not that hard to make a GREAT lambic, so give it a go!

Cheers!

UPDATE NOVEMBER 2012
Notes on the aging process and recent tastings.

2010 version
  • 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

2011 version
  • 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

2012 version
  • 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.

lambic.jpg
 

JCrazy84

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So, you say the Wyeast with numerous dregs. Did you just drink it and throw it in at the time of pitching? Was it added just at random times throughout? I am thoroughly interested in making this. Would you suggest one being Brett based as the Depuseluse is?
 
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AmandaK

AmandaK

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I either drank them and threw it in or saved them in various sterile containers. My LHBS sells sterile vials that are quite helpful when saving yeast at a beer bar.

Some dregs were added at the initial pitch, some were added at transfer for bulk aging.

I would add the dregs of whatever you think tastes great. I just so happen to like all those beers I listed, so when I was done with them, I saved and pitched them into the wort.
 

JCrazy84

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Thanks for the clarification. Some day, I'll have some friends over for a good sour beer day, get 3-4 real good ones and brew this the next day. While it make take a long time, sour beer is always worth it.
 
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AmandaK

AmandaK

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While it make take a long time, sour beer is always worth it.
That's why I highly recommend brewing 10 gallons of this at a time. I now have 5 gallons of this still hanging out in a secondary, 5 more gallons or the same recipe that is a year younger and will make 5-10 more gallons soon so I can make a gueuze in the somewhat distant future.

Having a sour beer pipeline is not a quick task, but it sure is worth it! :mug:
 

djelemenohpee

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This looks great. Do you have a brew schedule for this? (i think thats what its called, im new to this)
a guide to how to boil everything?
thanks
 

joshrosborne

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Did you have to re-pitch any additional neutral yeast at bottling to make up for the long time in secondary? Also, I assume that since you won a trophy the month after bottling it, the carbonation level was sufficient after a month in the bottle? I have a beer utilizing the Wyeast blend you used right now in the carboy (about 5 months in), so I want to see how your experience went.
 
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AmandaK

AmandaK

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This looks great. Do you have a brew schedule for this? (i think thats what its called, im new to this)
a guide to how to boil everything?
thanks
The "brew schedule" is the same for every extract beer. This has no steeping grains, so just add the extract in at the beginning, add the hops once the boil begins and count to 60 minutes. Then chill.
 
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AmandaK

AmandaK

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Did you have to re-pitch any additional neutral yeast at bottling to make up for the long time in secondary? Also, I assume that since you won a trophy the month after bottling it, the carbonation level was sufficient after a month in the bottle? I have a beer utilizing the Wyeast blend you used right now in the carboy (about 5 months in), so I want to see how your experience went.
I actually did not pitch any fresh yeast when I bottled. I did, however, make sure to get some of the cake into my transfer to the bottling bucket.

Lambics are supposed to have a very low carbonation, so a month in the bottle was really all I needed to get to ~1 volume.
 

djelemenohpee

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Thanks for your help. I just have a few more questions.
If I wanted To make 5 gallons of this would I just cut you ingredients list in half?
And
What exactly are bottle dregs? (sorry, super new to brewing)
 
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AmandaK

AmandaK

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djelemenohpee said:
Thanks for your help. I just have a few more questions.
If I wanted To make 5 gallons of this would I just cut you ingredients list in half?
And
What exactly are bottle dregs? (sorry, super new to brewing)
Yeah, just cut everything in half. Hop utilization is not a concern in this beer.

And bottle dregs are the last little bits of beer and yeast cake in the bottom of a good bottle of beer. I just drink the beer, flame the lip of the bottle, and pour them in.

Cheers!
 

djelemenohpee

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I looked at freshhops.com and didn't see any ages hops. Though I did see lambic hops. Would these work just The same?
And what the temp you left this at for the year?
And final question......
How often and when would you throw in bottle dregs?

Sorry for all the questions. Just don't want to wait a year and have a gross beer ;-)
 
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AmandaK

AmandaK

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Lambic hops should be the same thing. You just want "debittered" or ones with close to 0%AA.

I left it in my parents' basement... so 65ish?

I threw the dregs in randomly, some at the beginning, some when I transferred to glass. But not after I transferred to glass.

Cheers!
Amanda
 

djelemenohpee

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Thank you so much Amanda. Going to give this one a shot. See how it goes. Adding The dregs makes me nervous but I'll figure it out.
 
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AmandaK

AmandaK

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Adding The dregs makes me nervous but I'll figure it out.
I'm sure there are plenty of tutorials on how to do it, but I just pour nearly all of the beer into a glass, swirl the rest to get the dregs off the bottom of the bottle, flame the lip (to sanitize) and pour it into the fermenter.

No big, really! :mug:
 

urbanmyth

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Brewing this sometime in the next week. It will be my first extract batch since going all grain in January. Thanks for the reassurance!
 

mmonacel

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I might be a little confused. Entering this into BeerSmith I get an OG of 1.054 compared to the 1.044 you list out. BS uses a 1.045 extract potential for DME. Not sure what is off here.
 
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AmandaK

AmandaK

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I might be a little confused. Entering this into BeerSmith I get an OG of 1.054 compared to the 1.044 you list out. BS uses a 1.045 extract potential for DME. Not sure what is off here.
I don't use BeerSmith, I just use my hydrometer. Perhaps I had a larger volume, it has been nearly two years. I forget things. Or perhaps it's a typo.

Either way, I wouldn't be too terribly worried about the OG of a lambic. You're not doing IBU calcs. And it's extract, not all grain, so you won't need to figure out the volume/sugar calcs.
 
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AmandaK

AmandaK

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I added a picture to the front post so you guys could see what color you can expect.

Mmonacel, did you end up making this?
 

mmonacel

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It was between this and Jamil's recipe and I went with JZ's since it matched some of the stock I had on hand better. I will be adding the maltodextrine to it though as you suggest to half the batch to see the impact across time. Yours is on deck for my next one. Also - thanks for the tip for freshhops.com! One of very few retailers to sell aged hops it seems.
 

Zippox

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I wish I had/new how to make 10 gallons of this at once with my 5 gallon equipment, but I think I might bite the bullet and just make two batches back to back. I'll probably start this around Christmas.
 
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Made 14 gal. of this but all grain fermenting in a sanke keg. I pitched dregs of cantillon and beatification and the lambic blend. It's been fermenting for two months I'm about to rack to carboys a brew again to put on this yeast/bacteria cake. Would you pitch new saccharomyces if so what strain?

Thanks for the recipe
 
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AmandaK

AmandaK

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I would just use the cake from the previous blend for this next batch. I wouldn't use it much more though, the ratios can get really out of whack really quick and you'll end up not producing the same product.

Cantillon & Beatification - two awesome beers! :mug:
 
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Yeah I was just going to use it one more time. I really want to get ECY bug country for the batch but won't believe it exits till I see it. #mythicalyeast
 
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AmandaK

AmandaK

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Haha. I hear ya on that one! ECY seems to be an elusive one.
 

bellmtbbq

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Something along these lines is next in a one gallon batch. Probably one pound of light DME and steep some raw wheat. Planning on then doing several of them every couple of months and then blending them in a year or two. Thanks for the ideas!
 

mklawz

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Amanda - Hi. I haven't posted on this forum in a long time, but decided to logon to do some reading on sours. Came across your thread here.

DARN YOU! Your Lambic beat out my Scottish for Best in Show at the DMC. lol. Congrats. Must have been a great beer to have done so well. Good luck at the 2013 DMC!

Matt K.
 
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AmandaK

AmandaK

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DARN YOU! Your Lambic beat out my Scottish for Best in Show at the DMC. lol. Congrats. Must have been a great beer to have done so well. Good luck at the 2013 DMC!

Matt K.
Matt, so sorry! :D Best of luck at the 2013 Drunk Monk, I'm going to have to go big in that one next year so I can have matching trophies. JK. JK.:p
 
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AmandaK

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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.

2010 version
  • 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

2011 version
  • 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

2012 version
  • 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.

Cheers!
 
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AmandaK

AmandaK

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I'm no expert on the issue, but I know some others have used oak dowels with success for a small amount of O2 pickup in glass carboys.
 
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Yeah that's what I'm going to do or get a plastic fermenter. Do you have a link for the kind of fermenter you use? I also finally got some ECY bug country that I'll be using on something like this recipe.

Cheers
 

Zippox

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I only have a 20 quart pot for boiling so I would most likely have to do two batches back to back and start them in different carboys, but I was wondering something. Would it work to use like 3 gallons of water and add all of the ingredients into that pot and add it to the vittles vault then top up to 10 gal (then later split them to two carboys)?

I have heard that for normal beer the IBU value would be different, but that shouldn't matter as we use aged hops for lambics. Other than that I haven't heard anything that would point at this not working. Any concerns?
 

Serialk1llr

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I am brewing this this weekend probably, 10 gallon batch. Going into glass carboys for a couple years :( too bad it won't be ready sooner.

Amanda, did you all all your malt extracts at the beginning, then tossed your hops in for a full 60min boil?
 
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