Posts Tagged ‘lambic’

first lambic solera pull, bottling

Monday, August 26th, 2013

Picture 323

in celebration of overcarbed’s fourth anniversary, I finally worked some magic with a good-sized pull from my (p)lambic solera barrel.

  • it had been seventeen months to the day since I initially filled the barrel (and seven months since my only tasting) and once I started up my autosiphon I knew the results were going to be worth the wait.  the beer has a bright acidity with a great funky complexity.  the gravity is approximately 1.005 for a current ABV of around 5.45%.
  • to mix it up a little, I racked six gallons of beer onto seven pounds of sour cherries in one of my carboys, which I am planning on forgetting about for at least six months.  I also primed and painstakingly filled eighty 12oz bottles with another seven and a half gallons, and was reminded why I usually bottle my specialty beers using bombers (it’s half the work).
  • to top it all off, I bottled my fermentors of dark house on persimmons and banning on apricots for a total of over 100 bottles (113 to be exact).  I then refilled my solera with fifteen gallons of fresh lambic base that I had brewed a couple weeks back using my old recipe.  the bottles will be used to support my homebrew club in competitions and will also be a good way to conduct tastings without running through large volumes of beer.  I’ll have tasting notes in a few months!

Picture 280               Picture 269

Picture 307

 

lambic brewday, teaser video

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

TPC

as you might have guessed, the majority of my available brew time over the last few months has been spent working on the phantom carriage project.

  • instead of filling this year’s sour beer pipeline in my basement, I have been starting another, more substantial pipeline by helping develop an ever-growing barrel collection over in torrance based on my own wild lineup.
  • the latest batch destined for the barrel racks was also the first one completed using the phantom carriage’s 3bbl nano system.  although a simple lambic-style recipe (60/40 pils/wheat, low alpha bittering) and a single infusion mash schedule promised a straightforward brew day, snags such as a missing mill, thermometer discrepancies, a wonky burner, and a flawed kettle whirlpool design resulted in long hours and headache for everyone involved.  on the positive side, the mash and sparge went down without a hitch, system efficiency was terrific, and all the other hiccups can easily be addressed during the next brew day.
  • on another note, the phantom carriage facebook page is live – check it out!  MS and I have been working on delivering a steady stream of content for the page, including details on upcoming releases and events.  for example, check out the teaser video I tossed up yesterday, featuring production and a soundtrack by yours truly.  more great developments are on the horizon – stay tuned!

sparge               rolling boil

 

lambic solera update

Monday, January 21st, 2013

sweet nectar

ten months have passed since I brewed and racked over sixty gallons of lambic into a neutral french oak barrel.  this weekend curiosity got the better of me and I decided to sneak a sample.

  • after contemplating multiple sampling techniques, I decided to avoid unnecessary oxygenation by pulling a my sample from a small hole drilled into the barrel head.  from what I have read, vinnie cilurzo of russian river pioneered this method, and his advice proved to be right on the money.  you can check out funk factory’s tutorial as well (however, I would drill the hole about halfway up to reduce the force of the sample stream).  also, be sure to be ready with a glass and stainless nail at hand before drilling (mise en place!).
  • my sample came in at a gravity of 1.005 (5.45% abv).  I took the following notes:
    • lambic solera
    • appearance: pale gold with sediment in suspension
    • aroma: assertive barnyard with lots of funk
    • taste: tannic with a complex funk up front and a lemony, acidic finish
    • overall: I’m very happy where this is headed at 10 months, and am excited to see further development (increased intensity in flavors/aroma?)
  •   It’s going to be hard to hold out for another couple of months with this one, but I have a good feeling it will be worth the wait… 

drilling

retrieving

plugging

tightening

ready for the next sample

apricot lambic shootout

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

pouring fou' foune

after a couple of months in the bottle, it was finally time to try out my apricot lambic.

 

  • cantillon fou’ foune 2008
  • appearance: great carbonation, turbid, white head that quickly fades to lacing
  • aroma: intense, complex, dirty barnyard funk
  • taste: bracing acidity, slight sticky stone fruit evident on finish
  • overall: enjoyable, but the high acid level made this beer far from sessionable.

 

  • house apricot lambic
  • appearance: light straw color, crystal clear, solid carbonation, quickly vanishing head
  • aroma: sweet ripe apricot, lingering funk
  • taste: assertive complex funk with tart apricot and a tangy, dry finish with a fresh, complex acidity.  very drinkable.
  • overall: I can’t think of a tastier beer I’ve made to date, really happy with this one.  I’m excited to take my first solera barrel pull soon to experiment with other local fruit.

 

my apricot lambic

 

another pour               best friends

bottling banning and apricot lambic

Friday, October 26th, 2012

I finally managed to set aside some time to bottle both banning (my wild blonde) as well as my turbid mash lambic that I had aged on local apricots.

  • for a wild beer aged for over 14 months with multiple varieties of lacto, brett, and pedio, banning finished surprisingly high at 1.01, for an abv of 7.08%.  it is deep gold in color with a complex funky aroma and an assertive farmhouse brett flavor with plenty of smooth acidity.
  • I kegged five gallons, bottled another five with rockpile yeast as per my earlier method, and racked another two onto the leftover apricots in my 2.5 gallon better bottle once I had racked and bottled my lambic (to see how much flavor and aroma can be extracted from second use fruit).
  • speaking of lambic – after six months on a pound and a half of apricots, two gallons of my original batch had dropped to a final gravity of 0.99(!) for an abv of 7.19%.  upon examining my gravity sample I was greeted with the most amazing aroma I have ever experienced in all of my brewing days – fresh, ripe, sweet apricot melded perfectly with a background of complex earthy funk.  the sample was a crystal clear pale gold with a clean acidity and subtle, complex funk and apricot.  I can’t wait for this one to carb up for a special occasion, and will definitely be aging more of my sours (and especially my lambic) on fruit in the future.

               

               

 

hop storage, pacific brewers cup, LA beer week

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

last weekend I weighed out and bagged this year’s hop harvest.

  • I ended up with 2.5 oz. of vojvodina, 2 oz. of cascade, and a paltry 0.5 oz of chinook.  my goal next year is to mulch with compost, maintain a regular fertilization schedule, and let all runners have at it up the vine.  hopefully that will increase yields, especially with my in-ground rhizomes.

I also received some good news from the pacific brewer’s cup, a local homebrew competition hosted by three homebrew clubs.

  • I was stoked to hear that my turbid mash lambic took second place in the cat. 17 sour ale category under straight (unblended) lambic.  a bunch of homebrewer buddies also cleaned house, which helped to cement an overall competition club win by my homebrew club, pacific gravity.  great job everybody!

I’ve also been busy participating in some festivities for LA beer week, which is going on all this week and weekend (check it out if you’re local!).

  • I kicked off beer week in style by heading over to the monthly pacific gravity meeting, and helped out during the weekend by pouring some of my homebrew (white and light house saison) over at monkish during a bus tour of four local breweries.

I also finally got around to taking a decent shot of my fermentation room for those who are curious (see below).  big things are in the works, so stay tuned for updates!

              

lambic solera prep, eagle rock, cabrillo tasting

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

last weekend marked the start of my most ambitious homebrew undertaking yet – the procurement and filling of a 60-gallon solera barrel.

  • since my usual batch size is around 10-13 gallons on a good day, cranking out over 60 gallons of wort appeared *challenging* at first.  however, after some significant research and planning, I decided to suck it up and commit to two 30 gallon brew days.  however, I couldn’t bring myself to engage in a full turbid mash for each session after remembering the significant amount of time associated with the procedure in previous brews.  luckily, I came across jim liddil’s lambic brew page, which proposed some promising turbid mash alternatives for extracting useful dextrins and starches from an unmalted wheat component of the grain bill.  after some number crunching, my final recipe and procedure included the following:
    • GRAIN BILL (15.5 gal wort, 80% efficiency)

16lb belgian pils malt
8 lb american wheat malt
2.5lb unmalted white wheat berries
6 oz aged organic saaz hops (75-90 min*)

    • PROCEDURE

-mash 15lbs, 9oz of the pils and the 8lbs of the malted wheat (change up the mash temp for each of the 4 batches – 152F, 153F, 154F, and 155F)
-mash 7oz of the pils and the 2.5 lbs of unmalted wheat at 150F for 30 mins, then add a gallon of boiling water and boil the mixture for 15 mins.
-add the unmalted wheat mash and liquid to the main mash, stir, and sparge with 180+F water (60-75 mins)
-end up with 18 gals of wort (13 in keggle, 5 in turkey fryer), boil for 60-90 mins until 3 gals boiled off (2 in keggle, 1 in fryer)
-chill and pitch yeast – do not aerate

  • some notes from my first of two brewdays – one gallon of water at 161F will result in a mash temp of 150 for the raw wheat and pils (I did the mash on the stovetop).  each of the four batches have a different mash temp to vary the sugar chains available to the yeast and bugs over the years.  adding the viscous unmalted mash to the main mash may result in a stuck sparge (it did for me) – pump hot water through the dip tube to help clear out the pickup and add plenty of rice hulls.
  • after my first mash stuck upon adding the unmalted malt mash, I decided to put just the wort from the unmalted mash into the main mash tun the second time around.  there was no stuck sparge as a result, but my OG took a small hit (batch 1 OG: 1.049/batch 2 OG: 1.046).  I’m debating whether to risk another stuck mash to get an improved efficiency for my last 2 batches, or to just dump the unmalted wort directly into the brew kettle and bypass the mash tun altogether.
  • after cooling the wort overnight, I pitched 2 vials of ECY bugfarm VI into the first batch and pitched a variety pack of roselare, lambic blend, and sour mix I into the second batch.  within 24 hours both batches were chugging away, and by this afternoon krausen had blown out the top of both fermenters.  I’m halfway there!

to celebrate the start of the solera project, AP and I headed over to eagle rock for some great food and killer beers.

I also managed to get in a review of my long-anticipated cuvee de cabrillo after a couple months in the bottle:

  • style: strong sour
  • appearance: good carbonation, healthy initial head that turns to light lacing, dark amber/maple syrup color, transparent when held to light
  • aroma: sour cherry with slight earthiness in back, belgian yeast notes evident upon swirling
  • taste: strong tongue-coating sourness with cherries close behind, sweet vanilla oak finish
  • comments: at 11% I am amazed that this is so sour and also drinks so well.  the medium toast french oak imparts a sweet vanilla note that was overwhelming when the beer was fresh in the bottle and not carbed (it tasted like buttered popcorn jellybeans), but this has faded into a pleasing vanilla finish with age and carbonation.  this one was a ton of work, but the results were worth it.

              

              

              

 

lambic brew session

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

at long last, I finally got around to brewing the lambic I had planned out weeks earlier.

  • aside from a few mash temp hiccups, everything went smoothly.  due to the constant attention demanded by the turbid mash, I only managed to snap pics after the boil started.
  • see below for my notes on the brew schedule and the results of the brewday (in bold):
    • LAMBIC TURBID MASH SCHEDULE (12-13 gal)
    • 15lb belgian pils (60%)
    • 10lb unmalted white wheat (40%) (+ a couple handfuls of rice hulls)
    • 1. 12lb/gal = (25lb total grist)/(2.1 gal. @143F) = 113F mash (overshot, hit 122F)
    • 2. hold 113F mash for 10 min
    • 3. add boiling water to get to 136.4F (hit 140->135 during this step)
    • 4. remove 0.57 gal. to kettle 2, heat to 176F at most
    • 5. add boiling water to get to 149F, hold for 15 min
    • 6. remove 2.27 gal. to kettle 2, keep at 176F at most
    • 7. add boiling water to get to 161.6F, hold for 20 min (hit 161)
    • 8. first runnings (2.83 gal) to boil kettle
    • 9. kettle 2 back into mash tun @ 176F = mash @~167F (kettle 2 was at 185(!), added cool water to bring it down to 173, mash at 159 when added)
    • 10. hold mash @167F for 20 min (only got up to 161, held for 20)
    • 11. vorlauf and sparge with 185F water (sparge water varied from 179->190 while backup boiling water was added)
    • 12. ~end up with 18.5 gal wort~ (ended with 19 gal)
    • 13. divide wort into keggle (13.5 gal) and turkey fryer (5 gal) (14 in keggle, 5 in fryer, added foam reducer)
    • 14. add 5.17 oz old/low AA hops to keggle @ start of boil (4.65 hops total – .5 willamette 4AA 4yr, 1.6 saaz 2.6AA 4 yr, 2.6 saaz 3.2AA 2 yr)
    • 15. boil down to ~12-13 gals* (boiled down to 12.8 gal in 2 hr 40 min)
  • as you can see, hitting some of the temps proved challenging, but the boil didn’t take long at all – with the garage door closed, my system managed to boil off over 2 gallons an hour, without using the bucket heater.  I stopped the boil when I hit an OG of 12.9 brix = 1.05.
  • as for bugs, I pitched a smack pack of wyeast’s roselare blend and a vial of white labs’ sour mix 1, and added dregs from a 375ml bottle of drie fonteinen oude geuze (i believe it was bottled in 2009).  I pitched at 74F.
  • it took a couple of days to see some airlock activity, and the brew is chugging along nicely at the moment at around 66-68F.  expect updates in about a year…

lambic prep and some housekeeping

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

last friday I finally took some time to develop a lambic mash schedule.

  • lambics/lambic-based beers rate as some of my all-time favorites.  ever since AP and I visited jean van roy over at cantillon, I have been fascinated by these traditional beers and their methods of production.
  • creating these beers at home seemed daunting however, and I put the idea on the back burner until I was better equipped to handle such a task.  with the advent of my new brew setup and the completion of some successful brew sessions, I feel that I am ready to tackle my first (p)lambic.
  • after reviewing wild brews and some great lambic resources, and checking the mad fermentationist’s site to double-check some figures, I came up with this schedule based on a scaled-down version of mike sharp’s description of cantillon’s turbid mash:
    • LAMBIC TURBID MASH SCHEDULE (12-13 gal)
    • 15lb belgian pils (60%)
    • 10lb unmalted white wheat (40%)
    • 1. 12lb/gal = (25lb total grist)/(2.1 gal. @143F) = 113F mash
    • 2. hold 113F mash for 10 min
    • 3. add boiling water to get to 136.4F
    • 4. remove 0.57 gal. to kettle 2, heat to 176F at most
    • 5. add boiling water to get to 149F, hold for 15 min
    • 6. remove 2.27 gal. to kettle 2, keep at 176F at most
    • 7. add boiling water to get to 161.6F, hold for 20 min
    • 8. first runnings (2.83 gal) to boil kettle
    • 9. kettle 2 back into mash tun @ 176F = mash @~167F
    • 10. hold mash @167F for 20 min
    • 11. vorlauf and sparge with 185F water
    • 12. ~end up with 18.5 gal wort~
    • 13. divide wort into keggle (13.5 gal) and turkey fryer (5 gal)
    • 14. add 5.17 oz old/low AA hops to keggle @ start of boil
    • 15. boil down to ~12-13 gals*
    • 16. blend keggle and fryer and cool overnight
    • *take reading @ ~15 gals, see if near desired 1.05 OG (shouldn’t be), then boil down to 12-13 (should be around 1.05).  originally had 12,8lbs of grain, but would have to boil off 8 gallons to get near desired OG (not factoring in lower efficiency here either).
  • I plan on aging the beer for a year, then kegging 5 gallons and bottling the rest.  if all goes well, after doing this for 3 years I will have a 3 year flight of bottles and enough 1, 2, and 3 year lambic in kegs to blend up a tasty geuze.

I also managed to tie up some loose ends around the home brewery.