Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Anno Domini 2011

Since the beginning of the year I've been anxious to brew a batch of lambic. Actually, I've been anxious to brew a batch of lambic every year so that I can blend gueuze down the road, but I'm just going to take it one year at a time. However, because I'm an apartment dweller in Texas, undertaking a project like that wouldn't quite work. Luckily, about once or twice a year I tend to make it home to Illinois with a basement that stays under 70 degrees and an understanding and patient family. The plan is to brew a batch of lambic whenever I come home, and hopefully after two or three years I can blend gueuze.

Short of fermenting spontaneously and aging in a barrel (both of which I'd like to do in the future), I tried to stay as close to traditional techniques as I could. I used a grist of 66% pilsner malt and 34% raw white winter wheat and employed a turbid mash (thanks to The Mad Fermentationist, Biohazard Lambic, and Wild Brews for helping me understand the how's and why's of the process). It went much smoother and was more enjoyable than I thought it would be at the onset. All together, it only took about two hours longer than a normal brew day.

I mostly followed the instructions for the turbid mash on Mad Fermentationist and Biohazard Lambic to the letter. The only change I made was increasing the grist and water volumes by 25%. In the end, I'm glad I did because my preboil gravity was 1.034, which meant I only needed to boil for ~2 hours. By my estimation, if I didn't adjust the grist I would have ended up with a preboil gravity of 1.025 and had to boil for ~5 hours. I'll take a few more dollars in grain over a few hours of boil time any day. I used spring water for lack of a better option. I didn't bring my carbon filter home with me and I didn't want to have a little bit of chlorine ruin a lot of hard work.

Anno Domini 2011

OG 1.047 FG ???? ABV ???? IBU ~10.8 SRM 3.0

Assumed Efficiency: ??%
Target Volume: ??
Target PBG: ??
Target OG: 1.048
Total Grain: 10.0 lbs.

66.0% - 6.6 lbs. Castle Pilsener
34.0% - 3.4 lbs. Raw White Winter Wheat

0.75 oz. Willamette (5.2% AA) @ 30 min.

0.25 tsp Wyeast Yeast Nutrient @ 10 min.
1.00 oz Medium Toast French Oak Cubes

Wyeast 3278 - Belgian Lambic Blend
Wyeast 3763 - Roeselare Ale Blend
Various bottle dregs (See notes)

100% Spring Water

Turbid Mash

29 July 2011 - Made .5 l starter wort with some yeast nutrient to dump dregs into (Jolly Pumpkin Bam Biere, Cantillon Gueuze, Drie Fonteinen Oude Geuze, Girardin Gueuze 1882, Boon Oude Gueuze).

01 August 2011 - Brewed by myself. Ran unmalted wheat through grain mill twice. Followed turbid mash from Biohazard pretty closely. Missed a few temperatures, notably the first 113 degree rest. Overshot by ~7 degrees.

Collected 8 gallons of 1.034 wort. Boiled for two hours yielding 5.76 gal of 1.047 wort (Evaporation rate 14%).

Chilled to 67 degrees, shook for aeration, and pitched both smack packs. Moved to basement with high 60s ambient temperature. Visible fermentation within 8 hours.

02 August 2011 - Boiled oak cubes in water for five minutes and added to fermenter.

03 August 2011 - Pitched .5 l of dregs.

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