A couple of months ago I decided to have a go at Lambic. If I’d known a bit more about it I would have planned it differently. I decided on Cherry Lambic which was the worst decision given the availability of Cherries at the time. I was able to get 6kg by going to 3 different shops. Also the cultures involved in Lambic beer will infect plastic fermenting bins, so I now have a dedicated Lambic bin.
The home-brewing method is more involved than a normal ale. One makes a Lambic beer, leaves it to ferment for two weeks and then racks it onto fruit and adds other cultures.The process takes 6 weeks in total to ferment the beer and then 4 weeks for it to condition. The process is a little different to how it is made in Belgium where I suspect they leave the lid off the fermenter to get natural yeast in there.
Just to be careful, I decided not to use a plastic barrel in case it got contaminated. Barrels are more expensive than fermentation bins and I’m not going to be making that much Lambic. This means that I had to bottle it. What a tedious job bottling beer is!
I have been fairly lucky to date with the brewing. The results have been drinkable with the best so far being the lager. This Lambic is not right. A friend informs me that it isn’t dreadful but it doesn’t have much in the way of cherry flavour. It is very gassy and the head just disappears. I’m marking this one as a fail and I suspect this weekend five litres of Cherry Lambic will be hurtling down the Chafford Hundred sewer system.
The recipe I was following in Hughes suggests putting the fruit in at the beginning of the first fermentation. As my fellow taster and I were discussed the impending doom of Britain yesterday, we started brewing another Lambic and I will rack it onto Raspberries in about 2 weeks time. I’m not sure that I can face bottling it.
(BTW – Hughes’s book is excellent book and probably the best introduction to homebrewing that I have seen.)