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The Great Lambic Experiment

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Vindaloo

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Ok, I've decided that it's time to give lambic style brewing a go - and hey, if there are good wild yeasts in Belgium, then there's gotta be some more somewhere!

So.

How do people think I should go about this experiment? I was thinking, prepare the wort as per usual, and then try different locations around the house, outdoors, in the shed, friends' houses, parents' house, etc etc. Any guesses on how long it would take to start fermenting if there is wild yeast present?

Also, should I bother mixing up quality wort, or just by some crappy kits from the supermarket to try at first?

I know this sounds like gibberish, and I'll most certainly end up with a whole lot of beer that tastes like sewer water, but I'm prepared for that. All in the name of science! Or something.

So yeah... any thoughts?

Vinds.
 

Doc

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hahaha, have you been reading my post on Oz Craft Brewing ?

Earlier today I posted a new thread on Wild Yeasts.

Here it is:

I have read about Belgian Lambic brewing and the use of large flat open
fermenters in the roofs of building with shutters or skylights that can be
opened to allow wild yeasts into the beer. I am also aware that this process is
only done it specific regions of Belgium.
I have also had numerous Lamibc beers and have come to the conclusion they are
an aquired taste. Luckily I have aquired a taste for a few :)

Anyhow on Friday after making my 2nd AG beer, I left the hydrometer in it's
sample flask in the brew shed.
This morning (Sunday) when I went in their, oh the smell. Nice Krausen on top
of the sample flask with a thin brown layer on top.
The smell was of well used sport socks. Not to strong but detectable and
recognisable.
As I took the sample before pitching the yeast, I guess the sample was
impreganted with wild yeast or am I just dreaming of being in the Belgian
countryside?

Has anyone tried using Australian airborne wild yeasts to brew an Aussie Lambic?

Cheers,
Darren
Cheers,
Doc
 

PostModern

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Vinds, I was thinking about doing this some time ago... You'd really have to be keen and be prepared to wait for up to a year for your results, in fact you'd want a dedicated fermenter to age the beer for ages. I honestly don't think the wild yeast in AU will make the same sort of beer as the wild yeast inside a centuries' old Belgian brewery. I believe you can get liquid yeasts that have a blend of the most important yeast and bacteria used/found in Belgian lambics. If I find an e-tailer, I'll let you know. I'll definately be investing the $15 when I make mine. (Working on building up stock of less adventurous beers atm). I'll probably replace one or both of my fermenters and use one of the old ones for a lambic experimental. But don't let me deter you. If you find the light and the way, let us know ;)
 

PMyers

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Vinds - I really wouldn't try to spontaneously ferment a beer in Australia. It just won't work. It's a miracle of nature that it does work in the small (30 square miles, I believe) region of Payottenland in Belgium where they brew the lambics. It is the only region in the world that has the right combinations of natural micro-fauna needed to create the unique taste found in these beers. If you wish to try to re-create a lambic, then I would strongly suggest you purchase a packet of wyeast's lambic blend and pitch that. Also bear in mind that lambic is about 50 - 60% wheat, some of which is raw and unmalted with the rest being made up of either pale or pilsner malt (I can't remember which).

Also, as Post Modern already stated, you will want a seperate brew set-up that is dedicated to the fermentation of lambics only. Brettanomyces is a hedonistic bitch-goddess when it comes to infection of brewing equipment. Great for lambics ... bad for any other beer you can imagine.

One final note. You may wish to consider aging your lambic for eighteen months or more in an oak cask before bottling. Failing that you can easily subtitute the cask for a demijohn and a handful or two of toasted french oak chips. This will mean of course that you will need to re-innoculate the lambic with fresh yeast before you bottle it.

At any rate, making lambic is certainly an excercise in patience, and some may say futility. But if you are like me, you will be willing to give it a go regardless of the odds, just for the small chance of success.

Cheers,
Pete

:chug:

P.S. - Get yourself a copy of Lambic, by Jean-Xavier Guinard. It goes through the whole process of creating lambics. His recipes seem good enough, but ignore the timings - lambics take MUCH longer than the few weeks stated by Guinard.
 

Vindaloo

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Thanks for the responses guys.

I realise that the chance of me brewing anything remotely drinkable is a very small one, but that's ok. As some of you may know (through exploits on other websites etc) I like to push the envelope a bit, and do different things to what the norm dictates. Besides, why should the Belgians have all the fun? hehe :)

I'll see if I can track that publication down, cheers for the headsup PMyers.

Doc, nope, I don't read that list - I suppose I should start :)

I'm guessing that I would be better off using lots of smaller fermentation vessels (eg small plastic buckets or something) rather than doing massive batches. Anything wrong with splitting a 25L wort off into 10 or so 2.5L miniworts in buckets around the shop? Then play the waiting game. Primitive, I know, but I guess I'll have to start somewhere.

Lasters all!

Vinds.
 

Doc

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I'd be cafeful where you put them.
If they get infected rather that pick up wild yeasts the smell will be rather off putting.
You don't want to come home one day and be put off beer for a week :D

Cheers,
Doc
 

kook

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Vindaloo said:
I'm guessing that I would be better off using lots of smaller fermentation vessels (eg small plastic buckets or something) rather than doing massive batches. Anything wrong with splitting a 25L wort off into 10 or so 2.5L miniworts in buckets around the shop? Then play the waiting game. Primitive, I know, but I guess I'll have to start somewhere.
I think that your best bet would be picking up a couple 5L demijohns and using those. Mix your brew in the plastic fermenter then rack off 10L into a couple demijohns...

They've got a smaller opening too which I think would be more likely to get any results than an open bucket.

Maybe even empty small evian style bottles or something ..

The advantage of using a demijohn though would be you could use it for long-term aging as well.
 

Vindaloo

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Cheers for the tip Kook. Any ideas where I could get a 5L demijohn?
 

kook

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Vindaloo said:
Cheers for the tip Kook. Any ideas where I could get a 5L demijohn?
Westbrew, Malthouse, TWOC, should all have them.

TWOC has liquid yeast too! :) (Wyeast)
 

Vindaloo

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Cools - Westbrew it is. It's on the way to my girlfriend's house :)

V.
 

kook

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Vindaloo said:
Cools - Westbrew it is. It's on the way to my girlfriend's house :)

V.
5L demijohns (with airlock/bung) are $19.90 at westbrew.. at least according to the website

10L ones are $31.25 (no airlock/bung)..

Might be cheaper getting a 10L :)
 

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