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11/19/07 12:53 PM  
Re: Ambient /Spontaneous Fermentation

Are you trying another batch this year?

11/19/07 01:27 PM  
Re: Ambient /Spontaneous Fermentation
Soon. If I'm careful my broken arm should be healed enough by the end of the month to get brewing again. I need to knock out the mild for the swap first, but before it gets too deep into December I do plan to go all natural again! You?
11/19/07 01:34 PM  
Re: Ambient /Spontaneous Fermentation
Wow, sorry to hear about your arm, that sucks.

Work and holiday festivities permitting, I am planning on trying one over the course of the next week or so.

Get well soon!

12/09/07 08:28 PM  
Ambient ale - off and running!
I made this years brew Friday night, turned off the boiler and went to bed. Poured it in the bucket to innoculate Saturday morning. Thought I'd share with you the progress so far...


12/10/07 02:31 PM  
Re: Ambient /Spontaneous Fermentation
And now I have managed to break my ankle in three places, so won't be brewing any time soon.

Could this be a curse?

12/10/07 03:49 PM  
Re: Ambient /Spontaneous Fermentation
Oh Jesus - sorry to hear that Mark. 3 places?? Suddenly I feel pretty healthy.
12/11/07 03:11 PM  
Re: Ambient /Spontaneous Fermentation
Yeah, I took a nasty spill down some icy steps. Hoping to get back on track with the brewing in mid January (or perhaps before that, if I can talk some "assistants" into doing some of the lifting around the brewery. I have a feeling that the hours and hours of turbid mashing might be a turn-off to some of my friends, though.

Stupid broken tibia and fibula! Oh well.

01/13/08 08:08 PM  
Re: Ambient /Spontaneous Fermentation
I tasted mine this week, and it's tasting very good. It's really suprising to me, but I tend to be on the pessimistic side. I'm not sure when to bottle it, but I assume I should wait a few more months at least. Its so good in fact that I'm brewing another one, which I'm thinking of adding the remaining Al's Bugfarm cubes to once the primary ambient fermentation is complete. Any clue on when I should bottle this, its drying out nicely and has a good sourness? I'll take a gravity reading this week to see where its at.
01/14/08 02:12 PM  
Re: Ambient /Spontaneous Fermentation
I checked the gravity, 1.002! The I checked the hydrometer with water, and its 1.000 with temp correction, so the hydrometer is reading correctly.
01/14/08 02:24 PM  
Re: Ambient /Spontaneous Fermentation

I think it really depends on what you want to do with it -- I think the soonest I have bottled one of these babies is 18 months after brewing (that is 12 months in the primary, then six months on fruit). But just before the ankle break on 12/1 I bottled a 3-year old that was blended with quantities of a 2-year old and a 1-year old, as a first attempt at a pGeueze. I am very curious to see how that turns out (after another year in the bottles).

This whole thing has, if nothing else, been a terrific exercise in patience. Can't wait to boil up some 2008 vintage in February, once my stupid cast is off.

Bear in mind, though, that I have no idea whether it's necessary to wait this long (I will never claim to be an expert in what is essentially, to my non-microbiologist mind at least, a "mystical" process!) -- you might get something terrific if you bottle now, a nice jonge pLambiek has its place.

01/14/08 02:27 PM  
Re: Ambient /Spontaneous Fermentation
A question, too:

Did a pellicle develop?

01/14/08 03:34 PM  
Re: Ambient /Spontaneous Fermentation
<<Did a pellicle develop?>>

There are some bubble islands on it now, isolated though, that are 'thick' bubbles that indicate a pellicle is/could form. Does that make sense? They're not 'normal' bubbles from fermentation, they're developing a 'skin'. I just wonder what the advantage of leaving it longer would be versus bottle aging it? How much lower could it go? If I carb low and bottle in heavy bottles is the gravity low enough that I would be safe from bottle bombs?

I REALLY hate to rush this, but circumstances(I won't elaborate here) are beggining to force my hand- if you know what I mean. In other words, it would be much easier for me now if I could bottle age these for 1 year vs. leaving it in the carboy for that long.

01/14/08 04:36 PM  
Re: Ambient /Spontaneous Fermentation
The only advantage I can think of to leaving it alone for a little while is that different bugs become active or inactive as conditions change in the environment (e.g., decreasing pH, seasonal temperature changes, increasing alcohol), so that flavors can develop more fully with time.

But if it tastes good now, and you're not building bottle bombs (and it sounds like there are no worries on that front, at the gravities you determined, but using heavy/punted glass bottles can still give you some peace of mind on that score), it will probably work out just fine.

I was just curious about your pellicle, because I am wondering about wild brettanomyces in North America (assuming that is where you are, as I am). I have gotten something that looks like brett only twice (the thick, "brainlike" pellicle), but once was in an oak barrel that probably had some resident brett. I'm not able to do any proper taxonomy on these yeasts, so I am just relying on speculation, of course.

The beers without the brett-like pellicles have worked out just as well, in my opinion (apart from the batches that had to be dumped, of course!).

Brian Richards
01/15/08 10:02 PM  
Re: Ambient /Spontaneous Fermentation
Hey all, I am interested in trying this myself. Can anyone provide some info as to temp ranges for me. From what I've gathered, ideally I would want to inocculate my starter after the first month of CDDs with the NH prefereably no higher the the mid 50s and the NL 40 or lower. I live in the U.P. of Michigan and it gets REALLY cold here. I am curious as to what would be TOO cold for a NH and also to cold for a NL. Is there mean temp that has worked well for any of you. I guess I can just start cranking out starters and figure it out for myself but I'm all ears if anyone has some info on that.
Brian Richards
01/15/08 10:16 PM  
Re: Ambient /Spontaneous Fermentation
I just talked to our local meteorologist at the TV Station I work at and he pointed me to a great link that has all my local climate info. It looks like Mid-October through maybe December are good for me. I guess that depends if there is Avg NH/NL that is too low.
02/25/08 07:54 PM  
Re: Ambient /Spontaneous Fermentation
Witsok: did you have good results with your plan to inoculate a small starter and then pitch it into a larger batch? Not having the good fortune to be situated near an orchard, I plan to make a weekend's trip to one with a flat pan and about a half-gallon pasteurised wort, make a starter of that, and bring it into the city to prepare a batch of lambic wort for it. Also: should I aerate this starter, or is that asking for an aceto infection?
02/25/08 08:28 PM  
Re: Ambient /Spontaneous Fermentation
Unfortunatley I wasn't able to set aside time in early Novemeber and by the time late November arrived it was well below freezing for serveral days. It was an abnormally cold start to the winter. So I put off the experiment for now. I hope to give it a try this up coming fall. Sorry, I wish I had more definative report to give.
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