Saturday, August 17, 2013

Michigan Lambic

When  I started brewing I only made the basic, stouts, porters, IPA's and wheat beers. Then as I became bored with those styles I started added things to the basic beer's, 'Hazelnut Brown', 'Chocolate Stout' and so on.  But what do you do once you become bored brewing those styles?  Take a shot at sour/wild beer.

My first attempt was a Berliner Weiss.  I fermented it with the mixed culture from Wyeast (WY 3191) that contained sacc, brett and lacto, for 1 year before sampling.  While it was good, it never got tart enough for my liking.  I ended up adding 1 tbls of lactic acid and then it was quite good. The brett in the mix made it finish very dry and gave it a unique aroma but waiting a year was too long for a beer that was just OK.

My second attempt was an Old Ale fermented with a mixed culture from Wyeast ( WY 9097 ). Again I let it ferment for a year before kegging and sampling.  This beer was much more of a success than the berliner.  The aroma was pure pie cherries and it tasted slightly malty and tannic from the oak cubes that I aged it on.  After this beer I was hooked on wild/sour beers and started collecting and capturing wild yeasts (more on this later).

In May of 2012 I took a shot at my first lambic style beer.  I had a grist of 60% pilsner malt and 40% unmalted wheat.  I conducted a turbid mash, boiled for 2 hours with 2 oz of old hops and pitched Wyeast Lambic Blend (WY 3278).  I added 2oz of oak cubes and let it roll till May 2013, in my basement where while the temps are quite steady it can get down to 58F in the winter and up to 68F in the summer.  During the year it formed a slight pellicle but otherwise resembled most of my other ferments.  At this time I sampled it and was pleased with the taste.  Brett dominated with a slight lactic finish, no noticeable acetic acid or other undesirable flavors.  I transferred 2gallons of the year old lambic onto 5lbs of raspberries, 2gallons onto 5lbs of sour cherries and then saved the final gallon to hopefully blend into a gueuze in a few years.

2 gallons of year old lambic on raspberries, 2 gallons on sour cherries and 1 gallon saved 
to blend into a gueuze.

5-15-13 - Transferred 2 gallons onto 5lbs raspberries, 2 gallons on 5lbs sour cherries and saved one gallon plain for use in a gueuze blend.

10-8-13 - Bottled raspberry version, ,tasted great.  Added sugar to achieve 3 vols of carbonation.

10-15-13 - Bottled cherry version with 2.3oz of table sugar.

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