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GrahamB

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My first Lambic has been in the fermenter now for nearly 14months, the gravity is approx 1.001, for a first attempt I'm pretty happy with the taste.
I was looking into bottling it but theres still a nice thick white pellicle floating on top and I wondered if it was worth waiting longer to see if it eventually drops out.

A friend of mine has mentioned brewing another beer (wheat, aged hops and Champagne yeast), bottle half of the Lambic and put the other half on top of the new brew and let sit for another year, sounds good to me, would this work or would I need to throw in another Lambic blend yeast pack?


Another question for you Lambic brewers, my Lambic tasted as it should but how the hell would I know if my Lambic is infected in a bad way :)
 

Charst

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Ive not brewed a lambic but my understanding is that you wait until the pellicle falls back into the beer.
Belgian Brewers describe the beer as going through a process of being Sick before becoming well again.
 

brewtas

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I haven't gotten to lambics yet (soon hopefully!), but here's a couple of paragraphs from The Mad Fermentationist's article on brewing sours.

A pellicle is a sign that there is oxygen in the head-space more than anything else. I have had fantastically sour/funky beers that never grew more than a light skin, and terrible beers that grew huge pellicles because too much oxygen was getting in. In general it is not something I would worry about too much either way (unless you are trying to brew a clean beer).
Before bottling I wait until airlock activity has ceased, the gravity has not changed in at least a month, and the flavor is where I want it. I have never had an issue bottling while my beers still have a pellicle, but it can be an indication that something is going on. I would also be cautious bottling any sour beer with a gravity over 1.010 (unless it has a high ABV, or had other extenuating circumstances).
Sounds like you're fine to bottle.

Your friend's suggestion sounds good. I wouldn't think you'd need to pitch any extra yeast.
 

raven19

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If its down to 1001, certainly safe to bottle. Pellicle still in place does not necessarily mean its still fermenting though.

I would be inclined to add a little dry yeast in your bottling bucket along with your priming sugar to ensure good carbonation.

Definately ok to repitch yeast cake, I certainly plan on repitching my roselare yeast cake - its meant to get better with subsequent repitches from my readings to date.
 

GrahamB

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Thanks guys,
I have just aquired a 60L fermenter and plan to make this the Lambic vessel and keep replentishing annually with fresh neutral beer, I wonder if theres a limit to this, 3 years, 5 years even 10 years??

My plan is to:
  • Make beer from 2 cans of coopers wheat, 80g dryed hops, Champange yeast, let ferment for 1 week and syphon to secondary
  • Bottle 10L of Lambic from current batch
  • Transfer remaining on top of new beer discarding yeast cake and pellicle
Or should I:

  • Transfer the whole thing Pellicle and yeast cake included
  • Transfer just the beer with a ladle full of yeast cake (Rinse yeast cake??)
  • Transfer just the beer with a new smack pack of Wyeast Lambic blend
 

manticle

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You know your beer is infected in a bad way if it tastes bad. When playing with bugs, only you can determine that. Some infections never improve, lambics and other funky type bugs change significantly over time.

As Raven said - pellicle doesn't matter - if the flavour is there and the gravity is reasonably low, you can be confident. There's no hard and fast rule, it goes mainly on flavour and not blowing yourself up with shards of glass.

As for re-use of the yeastcake - same thing. I've re-used a few (not lambis but sour/funk) and it definitely changes character. Re-use until you are no longer happy with the character. With most sour/funk yeasts, there will be several microflora at play, each bringing different things to the party. Sometimes one will dominate and it may be one you don't like (eg acetobacter). If it gets to that point, think about pitching fresh.

Finally - try babblebelt forum and the mad fermentationist blogspot for heaps more info on sours, funks and lambics (and download jim liddil's lambic lesson for far better info than I can give you)

http://brewery.org/library/LmbicJL0696.html

Just don't buy into the whole 'p-lambic' naming crap.
 

DUANNE

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Thanks guys,
I have just aquired a 60L fermenter and plan to make this the Lambic vessel and keep replentishing annually with fresh neutral beer, I wonder if theres a limit to this, 3 years, 5 years even 10 years??

My plan is to:
  • Make beer from 2 cans of coopers wheat, 80g dryed hops, Champange yeast, let ferment for 1 week and syphon to secondary
  • Bottle 10L of Lambic from current batch
  • Transfer remaining on top of new beer discarding yeast cake and pellicle
Or should I:

  • Transfer the whole thing Pellicle and yeast cake included
  • Transfer just the beer with a ladle full of yeast cake (Rinse yeast cake??)
  • Transfer just the beer with a new smack pack of Wyeast Lambic blend
my only two concerns would be that a plastic fermenter will allow excess oxidation over time,if using glass completely disregard this and the recipe will not allow pedio or lacto to work efficiantly if at all. these two critical bugs tend to die off above the 5-7 ibu range which is why traditional lambics use old hops that have next to no aa's left but have still got other anti microbial properties. this is of course if you want a sour lambic type beer. if all you want is a funky brett beer it shouldnt be a problem though.
 

GrahamB

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Thanks heaps guys,
The original has been in plastic for over a year, though not ideal it seems to taste fine.

You have re-installed confidence in my investment :)
 

manticle

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I've always aged my sours in glass but recently bottled a coconut porter that has been sitting in a plastic cube for 12+ months (long story, detailed elsewhere).

Tastes great so oxidation is not a given. It is, however, like many things in brewing, a risk. Calculate at your own pace for your own beer.
 

ekul

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Did you squeeze all the air out?

ONe of my favourite beers is a lambic but i don't want to buy a glass fermenter for something that i might not even like. However buying a cube and tucking it away for a rainy day is a different story.

I've always aged my sours in glass but recently bottled a coconut porter that has been sitting in a plastic cube for 12+ months (long story, detailed elsewhere).

Tastes great so oxidation is not a given. It is, however, like many things in brewing, a risk. Calculate at your own pace for your own beer.
 

manticle

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Pretty much no air left in there. I usually squeeze until wort dribbles out the top, then tighten. This remained concaved until it was bottled.

Glass is useful for beers other than lambic - I have a rochefort 10 tribute in a glass demijohn right now as well as two sour/funks. No different to dedicating a cube or fermenter solely to sours as the glass is emore easily cleaned and disinfected and reused for normal sacch beers.
 
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