Saturday, May 24, 2014

Lambic #2

As my first lambic approaches the one year mark, and with a plethora of recently brewed and bottled beers on hand, it seems like a good time to brew another sour beer that I can stash away for a while.  While I bottled half of the first lambic months ago, and it's tasting quite good, the other half is still churning along on some oak cubes and will likely be nice to blend with this Lambic #2 a year or two from now to make my first geuze.
Unlike the first lambic which used primarily malt extract and just a small amount of fresh, low alpha hops, this version is a bit more complex using 2-row, flaked wheat and a touch of oats and light crystal malt. While I am not going so far as to perform a turbid mash, the use of actual grains and aged hops should put this one closer to the traditional style.

Rather than use my Sour Blend #1, which was based off of the Roselare blend with dregs from Drie Fonteinen and Lindemans, I decided to start a new bug blend with Wyeast Pediococcus, American Ale II, and BKYeast C2 at initial pitch with the Wyeast Lambic Blend and bottle dregs planned to be added later.

Brewday notes:
Hops: the lambic blend hops are very interesting. Intensely dark in color with aromas of musk, herbs, light pine, decaying wood and some fruity sweet plum character. Somewhat similar to Styrian Goldings in smell they're like a grandmother's basement: perfume, plum and lots of must.

Oak: I boiled 1 oz of Hungarian medium toast oak. I believe this oak has been used at least once before but it was in an unmarked bag. Almost no oak aroma came off it before boiling so it might have lost almost all of its character in its previous uses. I can always add more later if I'm not getting enough flavor from this addition.

Fermentation still appears active though slowed from a week ago. This one has been putting out some vomit and sulfur smells. Took a tiny sample, smelled of lemon and grainy wheat. Taste was surprisingly bitter and lightly lemony. The bitterness should fade in time and there doesn't seem to be any detrimental off flavors. This beer is far from being complete but I have high hopes so far.

Gravity down to 1.003. Taste is lightly tart, lightly bitter and not very interesting otherwise. Still a long way to go.

I decided to add my spontaneous starter to give this some more complexity and sugars to work with.  Prior to pitching the starter gravity was down to 1.002.  Taste is dry, lightly bitter, and fairly fruity. The warm temperatures seem to have caused some ester formation, though the spontaneous starter was much fruitier.

Added Petrus Aged Ale dregs.

Coming up on a year and this beer is simply just slightly tart and fairly funky with a touch of butter.  I added .5 oz Lactic acid, 1 tsp balsamic vinegar, and .25 tsp acid blend hoping that some increased acidity will help the flavors.

This beer had been tasting very nice, fairly acidic but with a fruity apricot character. Unfortunately it seems to have gotten a little too much oxygen exposure recently and is now quite sour. I decided to hope for the best and added the 3 lbs each of apricot and peach Vintner's Harvest purees I had purchased for the beer to about 4 gallons of remaining beer.

After about a month on the apricot and peach purées the beer is a touch too sour and has developed a serious pellicle. At this point I've decided to blend it out with my less sour and fairly boring Lambic #3. While this will unfortunately reduce the fruit character, the sourness is simply too high as is.

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