Brew Haven, my local home brew club, decided that as a club we were going to start a long term lambic project this spring. Essentially, members of the club would independently brew a batch of lambic that we will age a year. Sometime next spring, we will get together as a group to sample and blend and see what kind of awesomeness we could create.
The plan was to due a traditional turbid mash and let the batch cool naturally overnight to be inoculated with local wild yeast. In the morning, it goes into a carboy and stashed away for a year. I love lambics and other sours, so I was really excited for this project.
Personally, I have never performed a turbid mash so I spent quite a bit of time researching the method and preparing ahead of time. I found an awesome article on Brew United that I decided to follow in terms of recipe and process to make my life as easy as possible for my first go at this. Here are all the details:
|Batch Size||Boil Time||IBU||SRM||Est. OG||Est. FG||ABV|
|5 gal||180 min||8.8 IBUs||3.1 SRM||1.046||1.010||4.6 %|
|Pilsen (BestMälz)||5.5 lbs||61.11|
|Wheat, Unmalted (GWM)||3.5 lbs||38.89|
|Nugget (Aged)||1 oz||180 min||Boil||Leaf||2|
|Mash Step||113°F||10 min|
|Mash Step||136°F||5 min|
|Remove 1.25 Quart||136°F||0 min|
|Mash Step||150°F||30 min|
|Remove 4.5 Quart||150°F||0 min|
|Mash Step||162°F||20 min|
|Return wort||167°F||20 min|
I started bright and early, bringing 5 gallons of strike water to 144F. I’m using my old setup for this brew as using a 20 gallon pot and kettle seemed like a bit of overkill.
I took 2.7 quarts of the 144F water and added it to my 9 pounds of grain and mixed essentially what resembled oatmeal at this point. This step was right at 113 like the recipe called for and I let it sit here for 20 minutes. While at this rest, I brought the rest of the strike water to a boil.
At the end of 20 minutes, I added 4.5 quarts more water to the mash which raised the temperature to 136. After 5 minutes, I drained 1.25 quarts from the mash.
I immediately added 6.5 quarts of water and brought the mash up to 150. I took the runnings I had just drained and put them in a small pot on my camp stove to keep around 180F.
After 30 minutes at 150, I drained another 4.5 quarts and added it to the small pot on the camp stove to sit at 180.
I added another 5.5 quarts of simmering water and brought the mash to 162 for 20 minutes. At the end of the 20 minutes, I returned the 5.75 quarts of 180 wort back to the mash to raise it to it’s final rest of 167 for another 20 minutes.
After a volrauf, I started draining the wort from the mash tun. I did a batch sparge using 190F water . After doing that, I ended up with about 8.25 gallons in my boil kettle. When that reached a boil, I added an ounce of aged nugget hops I had picked up a while back. These hops remained in the kettle for the entire 3 hour boil.
Since it was an extremely long boil, I figured I would be productive during that time and mashed in a 10 gallon batch of my house gose just after the 3 hour boil began. More about that in a later post.
At the end of the boil, I transferred the wort back into my mash tun. I have read that a lot of brewers will typically just leave the wort in the kettle to cool overnight. I decided to take advantage of the cooler’s insulation hoping cooling the wort at a slightly slower rate.
The next morning, I transferred the wort into a sanitized fermenter to begin it’s year long journey. One big observation that I did not take into account was the amount of extra evaporation that occurred during the cooling window. When I refilled the mash tun, I thought I had 4.75 gallons. In the morning I only had 4. I’m guessing there was some extra evaporation when the wort was still at a very warm temperature. I also won’t discount the fact that I could have misread the mark when I observed that 4.75 gallons.
All was not lost though as I did end up with a gravity of 1.055 when it went into the carboy. This was .009 higher than calculated by Beersmith when I did the 5 gallon recipe. That puts me right around a 75% efficiency, which I was very happy with for my first time with this process.
After 72 hours, I already had some visible activity.
Now we wait. I tucked the carboy into the back corner of my brewing closet and I’ll keep an eye on it. It’s going to be a long year. Hopefully it all turns into a great beer.