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How much to aerate a pLambic wort?
10/12/10 10:26 PM  
need help!
Hello everyone. I'm new to this forum, & have never attempted brewing pLambic before. I've managed to twist my buddy's arm far enough to join me in this endeavor, and together we've put in a fair bit of time doing extensive web research, only to find a mish-mash of conflicting ideas. Our approach is to be as authentic as possible (Aim for perfect- & you'll end up close enough, as they say). Although, I couldn't convince him that we should leave the lid off the fermenter for the first 12 hours to pick up some enteric bacteria- oh well.

We WILL be doing a turbid mash of approx 65% Pilsner malt and 35% raw wheat.

We WONT be doing a primary "saccharomyces-only" fermentation.

We WILL be pitching Wyeast Lambic blend along with the dregs from a bottle of Cantillon Gueze into a 40 liter batch (10 US gallons).

We WILL be using a whole bunch of home grown hops that have been in the freezer for 7 years. If they've retained any freshness after all this time, we'll cheese 'em up in a nice warm dehydrator until well- staled.

Now that you know what we're up to, can you tell me how well this wort needs to be aerated? Do any of you know if the wort in a Lambic brewery is allowed to splash when it is being transferred from the cool ship to the casks, or is it done quietly? If you could also explain why it is done one way or another, that would be really helpful too.

As far as I understand it, some oxygen is needed so the saccharomyces can get up to a population large enough to ferment properly. Then again, this conflicts with some of the stuff I've read, so that brings me here... Any help, insight, tips, & shared experiences are greatly appreciated!

Josh O.
10/13/10 12:02 PM  
Re: need help!
I can't speak (from experience) to most of your process, but i can state that in Cantillon's set-up the wort is allowed to splash as it is pumped into the coolship; the piping outlet also has a slight flare to it that seems designed to fan out the stream and increase aeration a bit more.

For the pLambic I recently brewed (my first) I strained the wort into the carboy allowing it to splash, but did no additional aeration.

10/13/10 07:42 PM  
Re: need help!
You are correct in that both saccharomyces and brettanomyces will benefit from the initial aeration simply to decrease lag times in population growth and hence fermentation. Unfortunately, lactobacillus strains and pediococcus do not enjoy the oxygen introduced into the wort. Although both will survive the oxygenation process, they will take much longer to rebound as their populations will be hit hard.

For a 10 gallon batch, how much WY lambic blend will you be using? If you get fairly fresh packs, these should take off pretty quickly. I personally, would not over oxygenate, but would also be sure to splash a bit into the fermenter just to get some oxygen introduced for the sacch. and brett strains to start fermenting your wort. As for the souring bacteria, they will take a long time to impart their character into the beer and patience is key.

10/14/10 06:06 PM  
Re: need help!
<<I can't speak (from experience) to most of your process, but i can state that in Cantillon's set-up the wort is allowed to splash as it is pumped into the coolship; the piping outlet also has a slight flare to it that seems designed to fan out the stream and increase aeration a bit more.>>

This is true, but that is going INTO the coolship. By the time the wort is cooled and pumped into barrels that O2 is long gone.

For the record, I don't know if they add any more.

Guy who started this thread
10/14/10 08:33 PM  
Re: need help!
OK, thanks folks. I'm not surprised to hear of the turbulent transfer into the coolships (HSA, anyone?), it seems that to make a Lambic, one must simply DO all of DON'Ts, and DON'T any of the DOs of contemporary brewing... As tankdeer said, HSA will provide neglegible O2 (like zero) in the cooled wort. Dissolved gases will not remain dissolved for long in a hot liquid.

To answer brewinhard's question, we've only got one smack pack coming to us, I think (I didn't make the order), which we'll throw into a small starter, possibly along with the Cantillon dregs, and a pinch of wheat flour, unless someone can explain why this would be ill-advised.

10/14/10 09:03 PM  
Re: need help!
What kind of pLambic are you brewing? Also how did you introduce the hops...in the boil, in the mash?
Guy who started this thread
10/15/10 09:07 AM  
Re: need help!
Were making a Cassis using local fruit, and hopping the last 90 minutes of the 4 or 5 hour long boil.
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