|Aging lambic from the P brewing season.
This follow up to my first post of the Cantillon brew day will be mostly a list of things that came up throughout the day from conversations with Jean, trying different Cantillon beers, and anything else that came up on brewday but didn't fit well into the description of Cantillon's brewing process. And some more pictures. It's a lot less brewing information but I think it is some interesting stuff for approaching new ideas with non-standard lambics and fruit lambics.
It seems that Jean must be constantly thinking of new experiments/blends/lambic treatments because he mentioned at least 5 ideas to me that he's working on or planning. Here are some of those experiments/ideas. Hopefully this gives some ideas to lambic homebrewers for new things to do with a lambic base. I know they definitely got me thinking.
|Spiderwebs on the Cantillon grain mill belt-drive.
blending similar beers at bottling to smooth out rougher characteristics and gain complexity. And I certainly would not have thought of blending lambic in the glass. But I have to say I will certainly do it in the future. Jean produced what he called his favorite blend for a fellow homebrewer/lambic enthusiast I met at the brew day named Ben to keep Ben refreshed while he shoveled out the mash tun. The blend was equal parts Fou Foune and Rose de Gambrinus. Man was it good. So good that I later made my own with Fou Foune and a pour from a bottle of Lou Pepe Framboise. The soft floral character of the apricot and the more acidic bright fruityness of the raspberry work really well together, and the balance of the two was great. I definitely think the blend was better than either of the component beers on their own. And if/when I start adding fruit to my lambic based beers, I definitely intend to blend different fruit treatments at bottling so I can have a pseudo half en half without opening two bottles at once.
|The main boil kettle (left) and secondary kettle (right) with belt-driven mixers
|Mash rest after adding back the pulled runnings.
Side note - The part of Germany where I'm currently living, Rhineland Palatinate, is the country's leading region for wine production. During harvest season there is a popular partially fermented wine called federweisser, which has a slight carbonation due to the active fermentation. You can find it in varying degrees of sweetness, from something that is hard to differentiate from grape juice to almost finished wine. I didn't know what it was the first time I saw people drinking it at little kiosks which are all over town, and it looked kind of creepy. It is hazy from the still active yeast and is a pale green color. Bottles have only a loose cover (no seal) because they are fermenting when you buy them. Anyway, I think it is reasonably pleasant and shares some major common ground with the current state of the Cantillon riesling lambic experiment.
|The signs of a past active fermentation.
Amphora update - In January 2012 Cantillon started experimenting with aging lambic in amphoras (and another link). The first lambic batch started in the amphoras and was aged 14 months. Jean said that he felt this batch spent too long in the amphora and became too rough and minerally. He is planning a second batch to be aged in the amphoras, but this time he plans to take 1 year old lambic from barrels and transfer it into the amphoras with a bit of fresh lambic wort to kick start an active fermentation to protect the wort from oxygen in the transfer and amphora environment. Then the lambic will age in the amphoras for something on the order of 5-7 months. This seems to be a good compromise of getting character from longer aging without the roughness Jean was getting from extended amphora aging.
Other miscellaneous info
|The boil kettles
|The Cantillon hop filter, complete with the magic sock.
"There is one secret to lambic... Love. Love and passion."
And from watching him brew, you can feel the serious passion he has for the making quality lambic. I enjoyed Cantillon lambics before and respect what they do and what they have done for lambic. But after seeing the process I have a whole new respect for everything that goes on there. It takes a lot to open up your brewery to hundreds of people so they can watch you brew for a day. And to brew the same base wort (nearly) every brew session while still coming up with new great ideas for the final product definitely takes passion.
|More pictures of the coolship in action.
So thanks to Jean, and to all you for reading this (and the previous) post about the Cantillon brewday.