December 21, 2012

Lambic Solera Update #13 -- One Week into Year Three

I know a week is fairly early to provide an update into an annual brew process but with it being the supposed end of the universe, it may be my last opportunity (true story, I have actually spoken to somebody who genuinely believes 12/21/12 is the end date). Actually, the reason I wanted to go ahead and post is because there's a pretty interesting event already taking place and something I wanted to note.

As far as the note, I realized after filling up the fermentor that I have a bit more headspace than I did before I cleaned out the better bottle. Of course, the obvious explanation is that three to four inches of trub takes up a lot of room. At first I thought I had brewed too little fresh wort but looking back at the first year it seems about right. Next year I should consider brewing an extra quarter gallon or so to try to squeeze in a little extra beer since I don't get a really violent primary fermentation to need the extra headspace. The first year I had tremendous krausen but neither last year nor this year produced the same vigorous krausen.

Early pellicle

The primary fermentation this time produced about an inch of krausen and lots of airlock bubbling, but as usual nothing spectacular occurred. What is surprising is that after just days following primary fermentation a pellicle has already formed and the beer is already starting to get funked up. It's surprising to see the pellicle form so quickly, especially since the headspace should be full of CO2 so that protective biofilm should be less relevant. I didn't open the fermentor or move it around, so I'm somewhat surprised but happy to see it survived the cleaning process and seems to be content providing more fantastic lambic. I would have snapped up more pictures to show the progress but I've been struck down with the flu the past week so I wasn't very functional.







So far, neither the year two reserve nor the blackberry lambic show any sign of pellicle. Also not a problem, but here are pictures of each of the reserve jugs and the blackberry:

Year One Reserve -- Lots of Pellicle
Year Two Reserve -- No Pellicle












































Blackberry Lambic -- No Pellicle






Last Friday I broke open a bottle of lambic from last December's bottling and a bottle of the raspberry lambic bottled over the summer. Both are very good. I like the brighter acidity of the raspberry but I feel like the fruit overpowers the more subtle flavors of the straight lambic that just can't be beat. The acidity in both is much softer which is nice, although I did also enjoy the more bracing acidity after it was freshly bottled about 13 months after the initial brew. Looking forward to tasting a year two bottle against a year one bottle in a few weeks.

I'll probably update the project again in a few weeks as I taste. Hopefully the pellicle will develop some more so I'll have another interesting picture to post.

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