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Author Replies
levifunk
01/29/13 04:14 PM  
production method
I recall reading about a lambic producer who had "modernized" the production method by pumping ambient air through the wort instead of using a coolship. Something along those lines. I've been trying to find where I read that and cannot locate it....maybe I'm making that up?! Anyone know what I'm referring to?
derekA
01/29/13 05:41 PM  
Re: production method
There was a brewery in WA called Grey Parrot, they did a few spontaneously fermented beers where they would let the beer cool in the tanks and draw coastal air in to inoculate them.

I tried one of their spontaneous beers, it was aweful, tasted like low attenuated wort mixed with olive brine.

SteveG
01/30/13 08:26 AM  
Re: production method
Pumping air through wort ... you mean to cool it?
Al B
01/30/13 08:35 AM  
Re: production method
<<tasted like low attenuated wort mixed with olive brine>>

Uhg. No bugs in coastal air, except seagull farticles I suppose.

dankbrewer
01/30/13 09:40 AM  
Re: production method
Pretty sure that's how Jolly Pumpkin does it. I don't recall that they pump it through the wort though so I could be wrong.
levifunk
01/30/13 10:24 AM  
Re: production method
No, it was a Belgian producer. Belle-vue? I can't find any info on their production method.
SteveG
01/30/13 01:22 PM  
Re: production method
Seagull "farticles" - ha!!

It's hard for me to believe anyone is cooling wort by pumping ambient air through it, hot side aeration is not a good thing. If they wanted to fast track cooling, presumably to inoculate in a non-spontaneous manner, why not just use whatever means any brewer would to make a regular ole ale?

levifunk
01/30/13 01:53 PM  
Re: production method
For all I know I am making this up, but as I "recall" it, pumping air through the wort was to simulate the ambient yeast innoculation, not the cooling aspect (which was probably already done). Man, if noone in this group knows what I'm referring to, then I likely made it up.
B-Dub
01/30/13 09:58 PM  
Re: production method
I think I read that in Micheal Jackson's Belgian beer book. A Lambic producer cooled into a SS conical and pumped air through it for inoculation. When I get home Thursday I will take a look.

BW

SteveG
01/31/13 07:29 AM  
Re: production method
Ah - Dub - that makes way more sense. If it was already cooled then pumping air would be a great idea. It would both introduce local bugs and aerate the wort for healthier yeast development.
levifunk
01/31/13 12:46 PM  
Re: production method
B-Dub, thank you! I was beginning to think I was crazy. If you can find that info, I'd appreciate it. cheers.
B-Dub
01/31/13 06:39 PM  
Re: production method
Still looking through the Belgium Beer Book and 100 Belgian Beer to Try. Maybe Wildbrews? Might find it by tomorrow, but I know I read it somewhere. Nothing like a quest combined with a Triple and Quad; next a home made barrel aged sour. Hang tight or loose.

BW

Mike T
02/01/13 10:53 AM  
Re: production method
My recollection was that it is Mort Subite (although it may be Belle Vue as well). Google turned this up in an interview with their head brewer, although it is the interviewer speaking: "This means that yeast is not added when brewing, but is actually created by pumping air into the brew to induce fermentation."

I'll check Jef Van den Steen's Geuze & Kriek book tonight.

levifunk
02/01/13 02:20 PM  
Re: production method
I think I found that interview Mike. Here is the video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=yUhtz4CFDDE#!

In the write up, the author say Mort Subite pumps air into the beer, but in the video (@11:00) it seems like the brewer is describing a coolship, but the interviewer doesn't understand.

Its a pretty neat video. Its interesting to hear some of the little tidbits of their process from the head brewer.

@19:55 - he describes the fruiting process in detail for their kriek. If I hear him correctly, they use lambic brewed in Feb/March and fruit it with cherries in July. So....fruiting at 4-5 months...yikes. But at least they use whole fruits.

@23:50 - he says their Original Lambic is 50% old lambic and 50% young lambic.

@25:35 - he says "young" lambic is at maximum 2 months and "old" lambic is at minimum 1 year. They don't use any lambic of the age 3-11 months for blending. Also the oldest barrels are 4 years....after that "too much sherry flavor".

@27:35 - he says the "oude" on oude kriek signifies that it is only lambic and fruit. "no juice, nothing for the color, nothing for the flavor".....which I guess is an admission they add those things to the regular kriek? It sounds like Oude Kriek is all "old" lambic (>1yr) on cherries, and then blended with 5% young lambic for bottling.

@29:40 - Oude Kriek is made with 7,000 kilos of cherries and 25,000 liters of lambic....more than 30% cherries. (2.33 pounds per gallon)

@31:25 - Oude Geuze is 95% "old" lambic (again 5% young for bottling) with an average age of 3 years. Nice.

@32:10 - he has a bit of a rant on how he dislikes the category term "Sours" or describing lambic/geuze as "sour". Instead advocating the term "Brute" and using champagne terms to describe geuze.

levifunk
02/01/13 02:36 PM  
Re: production method
However, I found this written from a person who attended Mort Subite's open brewery day:

"Most of their output is syrupy sweet lambics like Kriek Xtreme where, if there even is any, the spontaneous fermentation comes from air pumped in rather than traditional open fermentation, any fruit flavor comes from syrup, and it is aged in steel."

http://aconsideredglass.blogspot.com/2010/05/open-breweries.html

There is a picture there of the stainless fermentation/aging vessels as well as the large oak barrels they use for their "Oude" products.

B-Dub
02/01/13 04:38 PM  
Re: production method
Writing about Mort Subite on page 100 of Micheal Jackson's Great Beer's of Belgium it states, "The brewery does not use an open cooler, but achieves wild yeast inoculation by pumping air into a closed vessel."

BW

levifunk
02/01/13 05:09 PM  
Re: production method
Thank you. Officially not crazy :)

You know, for all the apologizing americans do regarding this style, I think a closer look into the realities of some of these Belgian producers would be interesting.

Cheers all, thanks for helping me with my search.

Mike T
02/01/13 08:42 PM  
Re: production method
Gueuze and Kriek refers to it as the Lebeau method (page 125): "The wort was cooled using a plate cooler to a temperature of 30 C to prevent infection by thermobacteria. It was then racked into a stainless steel tank filled with environmental air rather than CO2 while air was also injected 'in line' into the pipes. Since the environmental air is not sterile but contains wild yeasts, this initiates fermentation. This makes it possible to brew both during the 'traditional' winter season and in summer."

However, on the next page the brewer says: "We've not used that (Lebeau) method for years, but we do use a method we've derived for ourselves. This allows us to increase the impact of nature (spontaneous fermentation) by eliminating negative influences... We use a closed tank which can be cleaned perfectly, we did not receive our ISO certification for nothing."

levifunk
02/03/13 03:38 PM  
Re: production method
Very interesting. I tried searching for some information on the "Lebeau method" but came up empty handed. All I found is Marcel Lebeau was the microbiologist at Mort Subite.

The ISO certification comment is especially interesting. I know for a while the government was trying to get all the lambic breweries to operate in a sterile environment (no wood beams, no coolship...). I wonder if this Lebeau method was developed in response (in fear/preparation) of that. Maybe the brewery wanted to make sure they could still operate should that law pass, and in doing so, they developed this method of fermentation? Then found out they could brew in summer and winter, and so stuck with it.

I'm really curious what their current method is. Although derived from this Lebeau method, it "eliminates negetive influences"? what could that mean?

B-Dub
02/03/13 05:11 PM  
Re: production method
Seems like if more souring bacterium are present in the Summer months it wouldn't matter HOW you got the inoculation; you would still have a very sour beer.

Interesting to note the elimination of negative influences. My interpretation would be a reduction of lacto and pedio while allowing the bretts to populate in possessive numbers.

Seems like something anyone could do to start down the wild beer road.

BW

levifunk
02/04/13 12:48 AM  
Re: production method
while reducing the level of lacto/pedio would be required, I also think you'd have to remove the mold and other microbes that are florishing in the summer and not in the winter. What kind of process would they do to weed out the bad and keep the good? And it would have to be a "in-line" process as they are continually pumping ambient air into the tanks.
Al B
02/04/13 07:58 AM  
Re: production method
The environmental air would contain many microbes - not just wild yeast. A reduction of negative influences may actually mean larger bugs - like insects from taking a dip in the wort. Insect will have alot of acetobacter on them.....
Mike T
02/04/13 09:13 AM  
Re: production method
I suspect a big issue with summer lambic brewing (in addition to the change in microflora) is the warmer temperatures. The slower the cooling, the longer the wort remains in the range between where unwanted thermobacteria thrive, and where yeast is active. Maybe just referring to forced chilling?
levifunk
02/04/13 10:32 AM  
Re: production method
@Al B - Yea, I'm sure they filter the air so bugs don't get in.

@Mike T - As you quoted earlier, they definitely chill the beer prior to pumping air through it.

However, both of these things were going on during the Lebeau method. What is interesting is the 2nd quote which describes a newer method and the changes made that are in contrast to the Lebeau method. While the changes are unknown, the results are:

"This allows us to increase the impact of nature (spontaneous fermentation) by eliminating negative influences"

So, above and beyond the Lebeau method, they are doing something now that increases desired microbes and decreases undesired microbes. What could that be?

Do they send the air through a chiller and drop it to a freezing cold temp?

Do they "filter" the air somehow? Would sending the air through water-filtration somehow do this?

Would low-level UV kill the undesired and let the desired live?

Remember, they are ISO certified, so it has to be something substantial like this.

Mike T
02/04/13 10:54 AM  
Re: production method
I was thinking that the temperature drop of the wort could account for that specific statement. Certainly could be other things that have changed since the old method was phased out. Maybe a starter is innoculated with air, and then pitched? I had good luck with that.
levifunk
02/04/13 11:12 AM  
Re: production method
Another good possibility.

From that video @11:20

"You do it today, and tomorrow morning you take a sample and look at it under the microscope and you see little yeast cells then they start to *motions multiply and ferment*"

So they could be pumping the air into smaller samples rather than the whole tank/batch. Then checking the small samples, making sure they are what they want under the microscope, or picking the best one, and pitching that sample into the batch?

Purely speculative. I am very curious what they are doing though.

Smokinghole
02/04/13 12:13 PM  
Re: production method
What if the thing they're speaking of is keeping bacterial and yeast cultures separate. Then adding them when they need them, in addition to pumping air through them. They aren't going to give all the details of their production method in an interview. Just like with leading edge molecular biology, the scientists often times leave out minute details that have a great impact on their research. That way they can publish or talk at conferences on the technology but not divulge anything that would compromise patent protections. Just saying it could be that easy....
Al B
02/04/13 12:37 PM  
Re: production method
I would forget about a filter. Yeast are about 4x larger than bacteria and most microbes get attached to non-viable particulates in the air so one would not be able to segragate microscopically.

For ISO of beverages, think sanitary in larger terms not in aseptic applications. Negative influences are more likely to be extraneous debris (spider webs, dirt, insects, vermin) - recall "We use a closed tank which can be cleaned perfectly, we did not receive our ISO certification for nothing." This implies Good Manufacturing Practices. Nothing technical.

smokinghole
02/04/13 02:51 PM  
Re: production method
Also most ISO certificates are heavily audit based. They are not likely getting spot checked by a governing body on their practices. So they presented a process that made the certification body happy and demonstrated its effectiveness. I wonder if their definition of spontaneous is different now.
Al B
02/04/13 04:07 PM  
Re: production method
True, its probably still spotaneous in a clean environment - if that makes any sense. Interesting.
 
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