Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Le Peste (Traditional Lambic) -- Brew Day

This is one that I've been waiting a long time to brew.  Lambic, and its more refined offspring gueuze, are two of my absolute favorite beer styles.  To this day, one of my favorite experiences has been having the opportunity to sample these beers at Brasserie Cantillon in Brussels.  The allure of these beers are complemented by the length and mystery of their mixed fermentations.

Lambics have been written about as nauseum by beer nerds the world over, so I won't pretend to replicate what they've written before.  Needless to say, given the quasi-rarity of these brews, and the cost once you can actually find them, homebrewing is almost a necessity for any devoted sour fan.

Historically, these have been brewed using unmalted wheat and a specialized mashing regime to arrest conversion of starches.  I had a hard time actually getting crushed unmalted wheat, so I went ahead and used flaked wheat instead.  Several other homebrewers had indicated that they've gone this route before with fantastic results, so I figured why the hell not?

The turbid mash on a lambic is very similar to a double decoction, except instead of pulling the thick part of the mash, you pull just the wort and heat to above sacc temps.  The mash took around 2 hours or so, but other than that it was fairly uneventful.

I acquired a full pound of 3 year old Williamette leaf hops from HopsDirect.  This comes in a package that looks IDENTICAL to a kilo of weed.  It luckily smells similar as well.  The two ounce of leaf hop additions is a decent amount of vegetal volume making me realize why we generally use pelletized hops.  It also makes for some interesting siphoning (it clogged the shit out of my auto-siphon, causing me to accidentally break it.

My plan for this one is to leave it for at least twelve months, adding oak cubes and dregs of various lambics and guezes as I see fit.  After it's developed character, half will be bottled straight and the other half will go on tart cherries for a few months to make a nice kriek.

Le Peste (Traditional Lambic)
5.5 gallon batch -- 120 minute boil
Est OG:  1.047
Est FG: 1.008
Est ABV: 5.0%
IBU: ~7
SRM: 4

7.50lb Belgian Pilsner Malt
4.00lb Flaked Wheat

2.0oz Aged Williamette Leaf @ FWH (7 IBU)

1pkg Wyeast Lambic Blend -- various lambic and gueuze dregs to be added later

Mash Schedule
Add 0.625 gallons of mash water for 20 minutes rest @ 113f
Add 1.000 gallons of mash wter for 5 minute rest @ 133f
Pull 0.250 gallons of wort and heat to 180f in side pot
Add 1.500 gallons of mast water for 30 minute rest @ 148f
Pull 1.000 gallons of wort and heat in 180f in side pot
Add 1.250 gallons of mash water for 20 minute rest @ 155f
Sparge as normal

9/14/2014 -- Brewed with Oscar.  Mash took a while and had some temp hitting issues.  Efficiency came in at 78%.  Gathered 5.5 gallons of 1.059 wort.  Fermenting away quicker than I would have thought at around 75f.

9/22/2014 -- Added dregs of Tilquin Gueuze.

10/11/2014 -- Added dregs of Brasserie Cantillon Classic Gueuze.  Pellicle has been starting.

12/3/2014 -- Added 1 ounce of medium toast oak cubes -- later than I had wanted but I kept forgetting to buy more oak cubes.


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