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Managing My Lambic For Geuze

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white.grant

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Nearly two years ago I ventured into making a lambic. I created some lambic wort (40% wheat and 60% barley plus aged hops, turned out to be about 19l) and commenced the fermentation in an ex-water cooler bottle in my cellar with the wyeast lambic blend.

The ferment has gone well, had a nice pellicle (still do in fact :) ) though the flavour profile is getting pretty close to absolutely delicious (my taste today was awesome) and I reckon with its second anniversary coming up soon it's time I did something with it. Also I brewed another lambic yesterday so am wanting to have a plan for the future.

My problem is what exactly do I do with the first lot so I can access it for future use?

I want to have some bottled (easy enough) so I can taste it from time to time as a pure lambic, secondly I want to retain some (say 14l or so) to blend with future batches to make some gueuze and/or kriek. So what can I rack them into for longer term development (and in quite small quantities)?

Should I use glass demijohns, a small wooden cask or a 9l stainless keg? Or am I thinking about it wrong? Any tips will be greatly appreciated.

cheers

grant
 

neonmeate

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ive had success blending from bottles. in practice the small amounts make it quite feasible and at least you know the CO2 is stopping it from oxidising or getting acetic.
not sure what some of the other more experienced blenders of lambic round here do.
 

white.grant

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Thanks Neonmate.

Bottles would certainly be the most straightforward (and cheapest) solution.

Cheers

Grant
 

neonmeate

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or you could get involved in the funky beer swap... we were talking about blending up some gueuzes out of each other's lambics sometime. somehow....

you should pose your question to the babblebelt homebrew page, or the madfermentationist blog to get expert advice on this stuff
 

white.grant

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Ahh, babbelbelt it had slipped my mind.
 

GrahamB

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Hi Grant,
Im in a similar predicament, I have a now 18month old

I was going to bottle half of it and transfer the other half to a glass carboy and blend with a fresh lambic and some sour cherries back up to 25L and let it sit again after refining the details.
 

white.grant

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Yes, someone mentioned to me, possibly Manticle, (it was a while ago) that you can do that. Judging from what I've been reading over at babbelbelt, I may have been overthinking it. Anything (within reason) will work OK as long as you're not carbonating it. I'm thinking that I will divide it into 3 equal portions, bottle a third and rack the other two thirds off into some 5l demijohns for blending (or fruiting) at a later stage.
 

white.grant

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Its just about the carbonated pressure and subsequent ease of handling for blending. As straight lambics are generally uncarbonated
you can age and store them in anything that you have handy and that satisfies your desired level of oxygen permeability and your relative volumes etc.
So you can use glass bottles, demijohns carboys, hdpe or pla plastic bottles, fermenters, cubes, or wooden casks of a variety of sizes.

But once you start your blending and fruiting and then carbonate it for consumption, the usual rules of bottle conditioning/kegging apply.

Of course you can carbonate a straight lambic too if you want, but subsequent blendings would be a pita.
 

neonmeate

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Its just about the carbonated pressure and subsequent ease of handling for blending. As straight lambics are generally uncarbonated
you can age and store them in anything that you have handy and that satisfies your desired level of oxygen permeability and your relative volumes etc.
So you can use glass bottles, demijohns carboys, hdpe or pla plastic bottles, fermenters, cubes, or wooden casks of a variety of sizes.

But once you start your blending and fruiting and then carbonate it for consumption, the usual rules of bottle conditioning/kegging apply.

Of course you can carbonate a straight lambic too if you want, but subsequent blendings would be a pita.
sure on a practicality of blending front, and i know it's not traditional, but i wouldve thought the CO2 would be good insurance against oxygen and acetobacter, or acetic production by brett. that is the main enemy of a good lambic. chacun a son gueuze
 

white.grant

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Yes I'm a bit nervous about that, once I've taken it from under the pellicle there's nothing between it and the world. I guess providing I've got a minimum of headspace and a relatively good seal on my vessels it should be alright. Time will tell!
 

barls

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i keg mine
 

barls

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dedicated kegs. got 5 of them. completely different style to the normal corny. metal handles on them and some are 23L.
 

hsb

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Are you all using spaces without temp control for Lambics, like cupboards?
Been contemplating dedicating an inside storage room for some but would just be ambient temp.

You could blend with commercial Lambic or quicker HB sours to make them go further/acquire new flavours too.
 

white.grant

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Dedicated keg? Would love it though. kind of like a dregs or bitsa keg
A solera ?

Are you all using spaces without temp control for Lambics, like cupboards?
Been contemplating dedicating an inside storage room for some but would just be ambient temp.

You could blend with commercial Lambic or quicker HB sours to make them go further/acquire new flavours too.
I have a reasonably stable "cellar" environment under the house and just let them sit in that. it's a bit cool at this time of the year though.
 

Kranky

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I like making Lambics. I just store them at ambient temperatures in my shed (temperture rarely gets above 22C). I haven't had any issues to date. I have a straight Lambic on tap in my Kegmate. For fun I put strawberrys in my hop rocket and ran it through as a randal. At first the strawberry flavour was intense, it's starting to fade a bit now so I am beginning to wish I put more in.

The idea of using demi-johns is a great idea for experimenting with new beers to determine what you like. I have one sitting at the moment with Lambic and quongdongs.
 

hsb

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Anyone use cornie kegs to age their lambics?

With the relative costs of alternatives, such as glass demijohns, it doesn't seem too unreasonable to use a cornie as secondary?

From what I can see:

Pros:
Non-permeability to Oxygen
Easy to open/close the Release Valve to control O2/acidity
Ready made transfer vessel or just scoop out the pellicle/serve in situ
Easy to move

Cons:
No visual impact
Cost - but I'm struggling to find a 20L glass secondary for under $60 anyway. Barrels are a total non-starter. Plastics don't appeal given times involved.
Can also bottle as is to save for later blending/liberate a keg.
Plus two or three purchases of funky beers can easily cost more than 3 or 4 kegs do (The SWMBO defence)
Contamination - but since I would serve funk in them anyway, no loss to me

I'm happy to dedicate a few kegs to the funky cause, anyone else go that route?
 

barls

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dedicated kegs. got 5 of them. completely different style to the normal corny. metal handles on them and some are 23L.
ummm not sure maybe hsb.
 

hsb

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Thanks. I read that as kegs for serving, not secondary but appreciate your confirmation complete with a touch of horse blanket. :)
 

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