Sunday, 26 October 2014

2013 Lambic - Splitting Onto Fruit

This time last year, I brewed a traditional turbid mashed lambic-style beer. I pitched a starter that I made from the open air underneath a bird-cherry tree in my backyard. I took a sample recently, and it has some decent fruity funk, but not enough sourness for my tastes.

After a tasting, I decided that it would suit some brighter fruit flavors. I had a few pounds of crabapples from my trees that I had frozen, so I took 2.5 pounds and thawed them and refroze them a few times to break open the cell walls in the fruit to release the flavors. Initially, I was going to leave half of it unfruited, but while the funk was decent in this beer, it was lacking the lactic sour that I was craving, so I decided to age it all on fruits. With my other sour for this year currently on 10 pounds of wine grapes, I guess I'll be waiting for a pull from my solera before I get some plain unfruited sour! 

That being said, I decided to buy some dried apricots. I washed them with cold water because the label said that they had sulfites to preserve them, and sulfites are no good for my yeast and bacteria babies. I chopped them finely and rehydrated them with water to minimize beer absorption once I transfer. I had initially bought 1 kg of dried apricots, but since that would end up being a load of apricots in terms of fresh fruit, I ended up using only about 2/3rds of that amount.

 The crabapples smelled awesome after they were thawed, I crushed them in the bag before spooning them into the 2.5 gallon carboy. They smelled like overripe apples and cranberries, and reminded me of the crabapple jelly that my mom used to make in the fall. I'll give these beers a few months on the fruit, and bottle them sometime in the new year. Looks great!

Update Feb. 10 2015: Both beers have strong sulfur aromas, the base beer also had some nasty funk at a certain point in its aging, so I will let it sit longer to see if it improves. (Such is the game with sour beers!)

Update Mar. 12 2015: The sulfur aroma seemed to pass rather quickly, the crabapple portion is very clean and good whereas the apricot still tastes a little bit off. I'm thinking I'll bottle them both and see where that takes it.

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