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10/01/11 04:15 PM  
blending/ bottling our 1st Lambic
Hi folks.

My friend & I will be brewing up our second lambic in about a months' time. We did our research before starting the first, & followed through with the painful turbid mash procedure. We took no shortcuts, & so far the effort has seem to have paid off. We pitched Wyeast lambic blend to start things off, and on a couple of occasions since then, the carboys received a dose of dregs from bottles of Cantillon and Boon. 6 months later we checked the SG (which was around 1.010- I think) had a taste, (plenty of Brett character, and real sour too) and added a heap of blackcurrants to 2 of the 3 carboys.

It's 11 months old now. The non-fruited carboy has a nice, solid pellicle, while the fruited ones have some spottiness, if any semblance to a pellicle at all.

Our intentions are to brew another soon, and use some of it after 6 months to blend with the first for bottling. Do any of you folks happen to know what the SG of a young lambic should be when bottling 70% old to 30% young (like Cantillon)? Or perhaps you could simply tell me how many points of gravity I should be looking to increase the old lambic by before bottling to hit around 2.5 volumes of CO2? Does anybody know what the SG of Cantillon's 6 month old lambics are? Or should I just forget this whole blending nonsense and simply prime with fresh champagne yeast and dextrose?

Thanks for your input and sharing your experiences!


10/02/11 12:54 PM  
Re: blending/ bottling our 1st Lambic
My advice is to blend by taste. Not be a predetermined percentage. What works for Cantillon is not necessarily going to work for you.
10/03/11 01:20 AM  
Re: blending/ bottling our 1st Lambic
Thanks tankdeer, but my concern is with carbonation- I'd hate to make bottle bombs because my 6 month lambic was sluggish or something.

But since you've brought up the topic of taste anyhow, what are your thoughts on blending a finished witbier (or something) with a particularly sour/ funky lambic in order to mellow it out a little? And again, how to do this ensuring adequate carbonation without making bombs?

10/03/11 02:07 PM  
Re: blending/ bottling our 1st Lambic
I couldn't say. I've never tried to bottle condition based on residual fermentation. Too many variables to know exactly how much it's going to carbonate. For me it's just easier to blend finished products and prime for carbonation
10/04/11 06:59 AM  
Re: blending/ bottling our 1st Lambic
The first thing you have to take into consideration is the blended gravity. If it is higher than 9 gravity points I would not use this method. I believe that over time your beer will continue to ferment ever so slowly. With that said say you bottled at closer to 9 gravity points of residual extract. That will give you a potential for 4.5 volumes of C02 according to the brau kaiser speise figures. Additionally if you do bottle using this method I would bottle in champagne weight bottles that can take this type of pressure. Considering you want 2.5 volumes you'll have to aim for 1.005. I just wouldn't trust adding priming sugar to that beer for 2.5 volumes with the last recorded gravity at 1.010.

10/06/11 07:09 PM  
Re: blending/ bottling our 1st Lambic
Thanks Smokinghole. Your mention of braukaiser speise figures led me to this:

For metric units:



VK: Kräusen volume in liter

Vpb: volume of the primed beer in liters. The volume of the primed beer includes the Kräusen volume. See text for further explanation

ck: the carbonation that needs to be provided by the Kräusen in g/l CO2

AEk: the current apparent extract of the Kräusen in Plato. This is taken from a hydrometer reading

AEb: the current apparent extract of the beer. This is taken from a hydrometer reading and assumes that the beer has completed fermentation. I.e. this is the final extract of both the beer and the Kräusen.

I understand your concern for bottling a wild beer at such a high gravity, but bear in mind that reading was taken at just 6 months into fermentation, and that was 6 months ago, and we'll probably not bottle for another 3-6 months.

I understand that to use the above krausening formula for typical ales, one should assume that the beer to be krausened already contains roughly 1 volume of CO2... But what about an 18 month old lambic? Surely, most of this residual CO2 has gassed off by now, no? If I intend to use the above formula for a lambic, should I assume there is perhaps only 0.2 volumes CO2 in it? 0.5 maybe? Any thoughts on that?

10/23/11 10:32 PM  
Re: blending/ bottling our 1st Lambic
I have seen mentioned on The Mad Fermentationist's site that they figure for .4 volumes residual I think.

So all you have to do is say you want 3.5 volumes. It's 3.5 -.4(residual co2) x 4grams (1vol sugar in 1 liter)x liters of beer = 260grams of sugar. Of course you have to figure in potential residual extract in your case.

Mike T
10/24/11 04:25 PM  
Re: blending/ bottling our 1st Lambic
I'll say the .4 volumes number is just what has worked for us with our barrels, it was not actually measured in any way. For my carboy and better bottle fermented sours I just use whatever the priming calculator estimates given the temperature.

Allagash is playing with carbonating their coolship beers (although they also add sugar when too much younger beer would be required), but it seems harder to do at home where our wort production is often not as precisely controlled and consistent to know exactly where the fermentation will end. They use the standard formulas, so no worries about the sugar being consumed by a process other than standard alcohol and CO2 producing fermentation.

01/10/13 12:37 AM  
Re: blending/ bottling our 1st Lambic
Just wondering, for the sake of simply knowing, has anyone heard what those cantillon (or other gueuze) gravity numbers are of the various ages? I'm curious to see how similar or different they may be to our lambics.
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