Lambic

Unblended, naturally and spontaneously fermented lambic is intensely estery, sour and often, but not necessarily, acetic flavored. Low in carbon dioxide, these hazy beers are brewed with unmalted wheat and malted barley. Sweet malt characters are not perceived. They are very low in hop bitterness. Cloudiness is acceptable. These beers are quite dry and light-bodied. Characteristic "horsiness" (similar to wet horse blanket) from Brettanomyces yeast is often present at moderate levels. Versions of this beer made outside of the Brussels area of Belgium cannot be true lambics. These versions are said to be "lambic-style" and may be made to resemble many of the beers of true origin. Lambic is a distinct Belgian beer intentionally fermented with wild airborne yeast and bacteria that would typically ruin other styles of beer. True lambics are only brewed in certain places known to have the wild yeasts that will produce the distinct lambic style. Lambics are required by Belgian law to contain at least 30% wheat malt. They are light-bodied, cloudy yellow, very lightly hopped, slightly sour in taste and occasionally flavored with fruit - cherries (kriek), raspberries (framboise), peaches (peche), black currants (cassis) or other fruits - to create fruit lambics. Alternatively, un-fruited young and old lambics are blended to create "gueuze." The following is a simple recipe for a framboise. This beer is not a true lambic but it's as close as most homebrewers will ever get. NOTE: SOME EXPERTS SUGGEST THAT YOU NEVER USE YOUR LAMBIC BREWING EQUIPMENT TO BREW OTHER BEERS. THE BACTERIA PRESENT IN THESE BEERS IS EXTREMELY DIFFICULT TO GET RID OF AND WILL RUIN OTHER BEER STYLES.

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces Gambrinus honey malt

  • 2-1/2 pounds wheat DME

  • 1-1/2 pounds extra-light DME

  • 2 ounces two-year-old Saaz hops

  • 1 46-ounce can Oregon seedless raspberry concentrate

  • pectic enzyme

  • 12 ounces natural raspberry flavoring

  • 1 teaspoon Irish moss

  • Wyeast 3944 Belgian witbier yeast AND Wyeast 3278 lambic blend yeast

  • 1-1/4 cup wheat DME

Instructions:

  1. Place the crushed specialty grains in a nylon hop bag and steep them in 1 gallon of preheated 150 water for 30 minutes.

  2. Drain and discard the spent grains.

  3. Bring at least 3 gallons of liquor to a boil, remove the brew kettle from the heat source then stir in the extract and the hops.

  4. Return the brew kettle to the heat source and boil for 45 minutes, then add the Irish moss.

  5. Boil for an additional 15 minutes, then remove the brew kettle from the heat source, cover it and drop the temperature of the wort as quickly as possible to 77 F.

  6. Once the wort has cooled to below 77 F, take an original gravity reading, pour the wort into a primary fermenter through a funnel with a strainer and add enough cool water to create 5 gallons.

  7. Once the wort has been transferred to the primary fermenter, pitch the witbier yeast, stir the wort vigorously, seal the fermenter with an airlock and ferment at approximately 68-75 F for 2 weeks.

  8. Rack the beer to a secondary fermenter, add the raspberry concentrate and 20 drops of the pectic enzyme, pitch the lambic yeast and allow the beer to finish fermentation.

  9. Once fermentation is complete, rack the beer to a bottling bucket, prime with the wheat DME, add the raspberry flavoring and bottle and condition as usual.

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