Eureka, its time for another recipe from the past. All started with a tasting of a lambic made by Timmerman’s back in 2007. It was the Blanche Lambicus with an ABV of 4.5%. I was so surprised about the complexity and sweetness of this brew that I wanted to give this style a go. Easier said than done. It turned out to be pretty hard to find some information about how to brew a lambic back then. However, I found a recipe in a book and went for it.
|Recipe:||Sambic the First
|Numbers:||Volume [L]||20 (5.3 gal)|
|Color||Around 9 EBC|
|Grains:||Pilsner malt (4 EBC)||3.6 kg|
|Wheat flakes (0 EBC)||1.5 kg|
|Hops:||Old hops (?% AA)||51 g and boil for 90 min|
|Yeast:||#3278 Lambic blend|
|Water:||Burgdorf||Mash: 15 L (4 gal), sparge: 12 L (3.2 gal) @88°C (190°F)|
|Rest:||Mash in @55°C (131°F), 30 min @ 55°C (131°F), 45 min @ 68°C (154°F), 10 min @ 78°C (172°F)|
|Boil:||Total 90 min|
|Fermentation:||Primary||365 days @ 20°C (68°F) in plastic fermenter|
|Maturation:||Carbonation (CO2 vol)||3|
08/11/07: Brew day. Prepared all the malts and begun with the resting steps as described above. Did a pretty easy infusion mash, no typical turbid mash or decoction. Then sparged with 88°C (190°F) hot water and added the hops to the boiling wort. Concerning the hops. The hops aged for maybe a year or so. Can’t remember which variety it was. Then cooled the wort down, transfered the wort into a plastic fermenter and pitched a package of Wyeast’s #3278 Lambic blend.
I then left the fermenter in my basement for a whole year. After a year, a first tasting: It was extremely sour! Even more sour than any vinegar I know. I though about how to rescue this batch but in the end I dumped the whole batch down the drain… Pretty disappointing!
Well, this is just sad. I can’t really remember what kind of sourness it was. It is therefore pretty hard to investigate the source of the sourness. Maybe it has something to do with the fermenter I used. It seems possible that the fermenter (plastic) is not suitable to make sour beers because of the high oxygen permeability of the plastic itself. I already made a new batch of a Flanders Ale to test if the plastic fermenter I have leads indeed to a more sour pronounced beer (due to the higher oxygen permeability). One part of the Flanders Ale matures in a plastic fermenter and others maturate in glass carboys. A sensory evaluation of the different beers will tell me if there is a difference.
Looking back and having tasted a lot of different Lambics and Gueuzes since, the Timmermann’s Lambic is not a very typical Lambic in my opinion. A typical Lambic should be rather dry, sour and without any sweetness if you talk about the style. However, I have to admit, I really like the sweet Krieks from Lindemann’s as well. The process to get yourself a sweet Lambic is yet another story. If you just dump a package of Wyeasts Lambic Blend in your wort, you will get a dry beer. To get it sweet you could add some sugars or fruits and either drink it fresh or pasteurize it.
To summarize, I can’t tell what happened here exactly but further years of experiments might lead to an explanation. One thing is for sure: If you ferment a beer with a Lambic Blend, you get yourself a dry (maybe sour beer) one, no sweet one. No surprise here, right?
I already planned another pLambic brew with a typical turbid mash. Will post about the recipe soon. Stay tuned!