Lambic (BOS, 3rd BOS and Two Golds)

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EmeraldSours

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First off, thanks to the OP Amanda! :mug: I only recently found out that I friggin' love sour beer but good 12-oz bottles go for $12 and good 750ml bottles go for $15-$30 and that's an expensive habit for someone that likes a few beers every day after work. My girlfriend also has never liked a beer until she tried a sour, so I end up sharing them a lot. Started reading up on homebrewing sours since it seemed like a good investment, primarily the mad fermentationist blog/book and this thread. I had a decent brewing kit that had been gathering dust for over a year after many years of brewing mostly IPAs, hefeweizens, and stouts. With so many great beers available at almost every corner in Seattle, I just found it easier to buy beer versus brew, plus, I never brewed an IPA that can compete with commercial examples. Needless to say, I'm glad I kept my gear!

I started brewing 5-gal recipes of this recipe (mostly with Wyeast Lambic but also Roselare) in early December 2015. Instead of aged hops I use low AA hops (saaz, hallertau, and Liberty) calculated to 5-9 IBUs, so only a 15-30 min boil with around an ounce per 5 gal batch. I drink lots of sours so dregs have been added generously, mostly to Primary. Dregs have included my favorite sours: Almanac, Holy Mountain, Rare Barrel, and The Bruery. Holy Mtn is newish but definitely my favorite brewery in Seattle and their sour dregs have been the most abundant in my brews so far. I know they referment in the bottle with Brett.

I currently have 2 batches in buckets (re-pitched on the original cakes) and three batches in secondary PET carboys. I previously had just a simple bucket and glass carboy setup but have since added another Bucket and 6 PET carboys for aging. Also have some 3-gallon carboys to split batches up and add fruit down the line. Soaked a med toast French oak brewstix sick in some Malbec for 2 days then added it to the first batch...added a splash of Malbec for character, adding other boozes is one of the advantages that we home brewers have! Only time will tell what I do with the other batches...fruit...oak...or nothing. Only one batch has a serious pellicle so far (a gorgeous one if there is such a thing). According to what I've read pellicles don't have a direct correlation to beer quality.

So far, all batches taste really good! Gives me lots of hope that they will be even better with age since they are still so young. My two batches in primary that were repitched on old cakes a month ago are exceptional so far...one is clean and tart and the other is quite funky. I'll prob repitch again on those cakes this weekend.

One question I have is my Gravity is still pretty high even on the 2.5 month old batch, like 1.024 (OG 1.048)...is that pretty normal? There's still airlock activity and a long time to go, so I have no doubt it will get down, just wondering if this seems on pace.
 

beer_blogger

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It sounds like your fermentation may have stalled out. Im not an expert by any means, but it should be ok, the Brett tends to clean up and cover up a lot of stuff and the brett might complete the fermentation the rest of the way.

It sounds like you and I brewed very similar beers, my first batch I used Wyeast Lambic yeast and then moved that to secondary and then brewed a new batch on top of that used cake with spectacular results. I'm planning on brewing my next batch with Roesalare and starting a mini solera in my 6 gallon carboy and develop my own house yeast strain over time with the commercial yeast strains and the bottle dregs. Isn't sour brewing exciting?!

Why such a short boil time? Did you use any maltodextrin for the bugs to munch on?
 

EmeraldSours

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Yeah, I used 4 oz of maltodextrin per 5 gal batch per the recipe. I figured that might be a partial reason for the high gravity since it's only 5 percent fermentable by sacc and Brett might take a while to convert it. I'm not too worried about it, still plenty of fermentation activity in secondary. I may try to leave these current batches in buckets for 6 weeks instead of 4 like I've been doing and see if that speeds things along and also try add some dregs to secondary after pulling a sample.
The reason for the short hop boil is that I'm not using aged hops and just wanted a few IBUs, used an IBU calc and 30 min with a low AA hop in a 3 gal boil with extract. The early sourness is there, which I assume is lacto so I think IBUs are around where they should be.
 

bg1414

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What's a typical lag time from pitching 3278 and start of fermentation? I pitched Saturday and this morning before work there was still no activity. I have read that this can be normal with this yeast packet so I'm just curious. Thanks
 

Yeroc

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What's a typical lag time from pitching 3278 and start of fermentation? I pitched Saturday and this morning before work there was still no activity. I have read that this can be normal with this yeast packet so I'm just curious. Thanks
Checked my notes and didn't reference anything unusual about fermentation so I must have seen activity the day after I brewed. Was your pack old? Do you know the temp of the wort when you pitched the yeast?
 

bg1414

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Checked my notes and didn't reference anything unusual about fermentation so I must have seen activity the day after I brewed. Was your pack old? Do you know the temp of the wort when you pitched the yeast?
I forgot to look at the date. My store usually doesn't have older stuff but you never know. The temp was 68 and is sitting at room temperature now.
 

Dantas

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Thank you very much for the recipe, Amanda! I got inspired to start a homebrew youtube channel thanks to this recipe. Excited to see how it turns out!

 
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Northerngal

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What size vittles vault? Did you install the airlock with a drill & grommet? Thanks :)
 

Northerngal

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I have stale Fuggles, looseleaf/dried. Pretty new to "adjusting"--any suggestions on how many oz's to add?

Thanks; Jenn
 

TriggerFingers

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How stale? I would guess....

1/2 to 3/4 oz at 60 min depending on the IBU's. Anything that can get you at 10 ibus or under.
 

rhoadsrage

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I used this exact recipe but for yeast I used dregs from 4 fresh bottles of Jolly Pumpkin beers. The first batch was pretty tasty but then I did another batch on the same yeast cake and got some great depth of flavors and had it in the bottle in less than a month. It doesn't have the depth of a lambic but you like JP beers and need a quick wild ale, I recommend it.
 

Physics202

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Just brewed this as my first go at a sour. Made an 11gal batch and ended with a 1.064 OG as our efficiency was higher than usual. Just transferred to a couple glass secondaries and it was already tasting deliciously tart. Gravity reading at transfer was 1.021, and I'm sure it will drop down quite a bit more over the year. Here's the dregs we used to suppliment the 3278:
0505162320 by Michael Aiken, on Flickr
 

TriggerFingers

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UPDATE:

My entry in the California State fair scored a 37/50 and made the Mini-BOS. Can't wait to see the notes to see what the judges thought.

Just got some fresh Bugfarm. Going to have to brew this up again.
 

TriggerFingers

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Yeroc,

Thanks, it was the straight batch. Both that batch and the cherry juice batch were nearly identical. The juice imparted a little color (maybe 2-3 SRM) and maybe some flavor? The lambicus in the Bugfarm was cherry dominant for both batches.
 

danbme

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I'm going to brew this and make a little addition to it.

'With the Homies. For the Homies.'

Once this gets to the point of splitting into 2 5gallon batches I will invite some brew nerd friends of mine and have each bring a bottle of their favorite sour or other with live bugs. We will enjoy said bottles and then toss the dregs into the carboys. Should be cool to see how the flavor changes depending on which dregs go into which carboy.

I'll be back with a brew update.

*keeping old posts relevant since late 2016*
 

Yeroc

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I'm going to brew this and make a little addition to it.

'With the Homies. For the Homies.'

Once this gets to the point of splitting into 2 5gallon batches I will invite some brew nerd friends of mine and have each bring a bottle of their favorite sour or other with live bugs. We will enjoy said bottles and then toss the dregs into the carboys. Should be cool to see how the flavor changes depending on which dregs go into which carboy.

I'll be back with a brew update.
That sounds like a great idea!

I moved one of my 8 month old lambics onto used sour cherries a few weeks ago (bugs are WLP Sour 1 and dregs from Jolly Pumpkin Bam Biere & Biere De Mars). The cherries were sitting on a sour scotch ale for about 7 months. Not sure what they have left to impart. The lambic was nice and sour but a little one note.

I also started a new AmandaK lambic yesterday with 1.65 oz of aged backyard hops from a friend and Yeast Bay's Sour House Blend. No dregs yet but I do have a Jolly Pumpkin Bam Bière in the fridge.
 

Ztup

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I made this in September of 2015. I waited a while to transfer it out of the Vittles Vault, probably until January of 2016. Transferred it into two 5 gallon cornies with airlocks to age. Added Black and Red Raspberries to one of the cornies in September 2016, leaving the other pure. Transferred into fresh/clean cornies last week (November 2016) to start carbing up. Both came out quite excellent. I would highly recommend this recipe to anyone looking to make a good, easy sour, the hardest part is waiting the year+ for it to be ready.

I plan to do a couple more batches of this in the coming months to get a pipeline of it going for the future.
 

deere322

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I'm about ready in an hour or so to pitch a slurry of Cascade Blueberry dregs, 2010 Mariage Parfait dregs and Wyeast 3278 on a 5 gallon batch started with US-05, then wait a year.
 

cuda6pak

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Is there any reason to rack this to a secondary if you’re pitching Brett, sach, pedio, and lacto all initially? Was planning on just keeping this in my better bottle for a year or so straight from primary with a pitch of ECY20. I know brett will feed off dead sach and basically no need to worry about autolysis – is that the same case with lacto and pedio added straight to the mix from the get go?
 

burninator

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Is there any reason to rack this to a secondary if you’re pitching Brett, sach, pedio, and lacto all initially? Was planning on just keeping this in my better bottle for a year or so straight from primary with a pitch of ECY20. I know brett will feed off dead sach and basically no need to worry about autolysis – is that the same case with lacto and pedio added straight to the mix from the get go?
The main reason for racking a beer like this to secondary (for me, anyway), is to reduce headspace (and thus potential oxygen exposure), since you'll likely be fermenting in a carboy that's a gallon or two larger than the final volume of beer.
 

Ztup

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The main reason for racking a beer like this to secondary (for me, anyway), is to reduce headspace (and thus potential oxygen exposure), since you'll likely be fermenting in a carboy that's a gallon or two larger than the final volume of beer.
Another reason is that the plastic is more prone to allow oxygen permeation over time through the material itself. AmandaK originally recommended glass, I found that a Cornie works well also. Reducing the headspace is also a good reason.
 

cuda6pak

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Another reason is that the plastic is more prone to allow oxygen permeation over time through the material itself. AmandaK originally recommended glass, I found that a Cornie works well also. Reducing the headspace is also a good reason.
Didn't Amadak recommend the plastic over the glass after subsequent tastings from 3 years, the worst of which being glass? And aren't barrels pretty permeable to oxygen?
 

burninator

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Another reason is that the plastic is more prone to allow oxygen permeation over time through the material itself. AmandaK originally recommended glass, I found that a Cornie works well also. Reducing the headspace is also a good reason.
I haven't experienced any problems with my better bottles and long-aged sours. I wouldn't put one in a bucket for a year or two, though.
 

Ztup

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Didn't Amadak recommend the plastic over the glass after subsequent tastings from 3 years, the worst of which being glass? And aren't barrels pretty permeable to oxygen?
Highly possible that she recommended plastic in the end. I certainly left mine in plastic much longer than her original recipe. Barrels certainly do allow some Oxygen permeation also, it definitely makes sense. Next time I make this, maybe I'll leave it in the Vittle's Vault the whole time until it's ready to keg/bottle.
 

dignifiedb

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Is there an all-grain version of this? I'd like to give it a go as my first sour brew!
 

danbme

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I'm going to brew this and make a little addition to it.

'With the Homies. For the Homies.'

Once this gets to the point of splitting into 2 5gallon batches I will invite some brew nerd friends of mine and have each bring a bottle of their favorite sour or other with live bugs. We will enjoy said bottles and then toss the dregs into the carboys. Should be cool to see how the flavor changes depending on which dregs go into which carboy.

I'll be back with a brew update.

*keeping old posts relevant since late 2016*


I am drinking the first batch off this recipe and IT IS AMAZING. At first I was cautious due to the ease but what I found is that the malt extract gives a plain base for the amazing yeast blend. That is where it is at. I might want to do a partial mash next time as I think some grain flavor would give it more depth...

So I bottled 5 gallons and put the other 5 gallons on dregs from Beachwood Blendery and Cantillon. The bottled stuff is perfectly sour with a hint of funk that is a true lambic. I can't wait to try the dregs one.

I also want to use this for a base and add fruits as I think it would work well.

Also...a few bottles had some gnarly growth on them but all tasted fine...

Yummy!!
 

Andrew Hodgson

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Back from the dead ye thread, I will be brewing this this weekend or next if my 3278 and aged dops don't get here in time. Will be doing a cut in half 5 gallon version for my first lambic. I love lambics it is about time I start brewing/blending them! Plus you can stove-top it instead of having to get all the gear out, love it.
 

Andrew Hodgson

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Got a batch of this in the can last night, yeast hasn't started kicking up yet but I imagine when I get back from work there will be activity. Smack pack swelled up pretty good.

The plan is to let it ferment in the bucket 2-3 weeks then transfer into a glass carboy (topped off to reduce headspace) for the winter, maybe add fruit later on or maybe keep some straight and put some on fruit. Now, the waiting game begins.
 

TEWNCfarms

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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.

View attachment 76259
Congratulations and thanks for the recipe! I really want to make these! How did you keep it at 60F for a year?
 

RPh_Guy

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That link goes to the 25 pound size, just want to confirm that is the correct size to hold 10 gallons. Thanks
You need the 50lb size to hold 10 gal.

Instead, I would suggest using PET plastic fermenters (FerMonster, Better Bottle, etc) for the entirety of fermentation.

You could also use bucket fermenters instead of the vittles vault for primary.
 

TEWNCfarms

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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.

View attachment 76259
How long did you boil this? I was reading American Sour Beers and his recipe says 330 Minutes!!!
 

RPh_Guy

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Tap/click on her name to see her profile, and when she was last active on here ... Probably not going to get a response.
Recipe says: Boiling Time (Minutes): 60

Extract brewing is different than all grain brewing. The extract has already been boiled/heated a lot.
Whether a long boil is beneficial for all grain brewing is debated.
 

TEWNCfarms

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Tap/click on her name to see her profile, and when she was last active on here ... Probably not going to get a response.
Recipe says: Boiling Time (Minutes): 60

Extract brewing is different than all grain brewing. The extract has already been boiled/heated a lot.
Whether a long boil is beneficial for all grain brewing is debated.
Haha oh...

Well I’m talking about AG Lambic style... like turbin(right) mash? And that makes sense on the Extract part, thanks
 

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