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11/02/09 07:50 PM  
American sours vs. Lambics
Any one care to differentiate American sours (RR, Lost Abbey, Cascade Brewing) from lambic beers?

So far after reading Wild Brews, Lambic and hosts of online surfing about the subject, I can say they BOTH seem very close.


11/03/09 07:24 AM  
Re: American sours vs. Lambics
B-Dub, they are clearly cut from the same cloth. This question though is really more suited for the other board.
Matt S
11/03/09 08:11 AM  
Re: American sours vs. Lambics
Well a true Lambic comes from Belgium and it spontaneously fermented with wild yeast that is in the air. I don't believe that RR does any spontaneous fermentation.
Mike T
11/03/09 10:24 AM  
Re: American sours vs. Lambics
RR Beatification (Batches 2 on) is spontaneously fermented. Other places that have played with spontansous fermentation in America include Jolly Pumpkin, New Glarus, Boston Beer, Allagash, and Grey Parrot to name a few.

In general American sours are cleaner, and often have a more complex malt character (though not always). In terms of production most American sours are made with a pretty simple brew process (no aged hops, turbid mash etc..)

11/03/09 11:38 AM  
Re: American sours vs. Lambics
many american sours seems to use less blending of multiple years as well.

To keep it on the homebrew side, I'm serving a american sour made in january 2008 right now (no blending though). Its been in the keg for a few months now and fermented in glass for a month and then in a bucket for maybe 16 months. wyeast lambic blend. its plenty tart. Its sister, the other 1/2 of teh 10 gal batch, continues to sit in the plastic and age. this portion had several commercial dregs added as well as additional fermentables and some oak cubes.

cheers, petec

11/03/09 06:47 PM  
Re: American sours vs. Lambics

Did you get any noticeable acetic character from fermenting so long in a plastic bucket? I have always read that a plastic bucket can lead to a lot of acetobacter growth due to the increased amount of oxygen permeating the plastic. Just curious....?

11/04/09 11:40 AM  
Re: American sours vs. Lambics
Interestingly, Cascade brewing does not really use funk in their beers, at least according to the brewer. He only uses lactobacillus to sour and makes an effort to keep other organisms out of the brewery. He's making some great beers that way, so I guess whatever works right?
11/04/09 11:51 AM  
Re: American sours vs. Lambics

Last year we did a flemish red tasting. One person (I forget who) submitted a beer aged for one year in plastic. IMO, this was the one beer of the asting that had proper acetic character for a flemish red. Unfortunately, the beer was not too sour otherwise, though that had more to do with the generation of the bugs. It prompted me to brew a big 'ol flemish red and ferment in a plastic bucket just to see what happens. Also I thought it'd be nice to have an infected bucket, kinda like an infecte barrel. Anyway that was loooooooooong time ago. Haven't tasted it in months so have no clue what it's like right now.

11/04/09 02:48 PM  
Re: American sours vs. Lambics
ive got about 10 or 12 sour beers in buckets now. i usually start in glass then move to a bucket and taste every few moths. if its starting to turn too acetic ill put it back in glass.

i seem to get thicker looking pellicles in buckets. maybe thats helping keep the acetic in control?

11/04/09 03:05 PM  
Re: American sours vs. Lambics
No massive acetic character in the buckets. They are stored in Sanfrancisco so don't see much extreme summer heat which probably helps somewhat.

additionally, I've noticed that the buckets have a distinct slimy layer that builds up on the bucket walls probably due to higher O2 levels at that point. perhaps this helps to protect them as well.

The buckets aren't disturbed much either and I really don't sample more than 2-3x per year.

I think the acetic thing may be a bit of a homebrew legend that is somewhat anecdotal and somewhat true.

much of those stories were developed in teh days before people had tons of experience in homebrewland with the various funks. maybe our advances have pushed us to this point.


11/04/09 04:41 PM  
Re: American sours vs. Lambics
John - The thicker pellicle is due to the higher 02 content in the environment in your bucket. It forms to protect from oxidation. I'd think the same goes for the slimy walls the petec mentions.

And, technically, I think the 02 promotes growth of acetobacter already in the beer, not the other way around. The slow 02 transfer only provides "food" for what's already there.

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