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Sadcheese
05-29-2016, 07:49 PM
Hi everyone!

Last September I made my first solo mead and I decided stupidly to make a raspberry melomel. At my local homebrew shop I was yeast shopping and saw the Wyeast lambic mix and thought "What the hell" and gave it a try. Long story short, I had to save it with EC 1118 but the brett and bugs somehow survived and it's now a really excellent dry mead. A total screw up, but luckily it worked out.

So now I'd like to try one now that I sort of know what I'm doing. I've done a nice orange blossom traditional with SNA and I've gotten the basic techniques down with about a dozen 1-gallon batches and four 6-gallon batches.

I am going to a nearby pick-your-own farm tomorrow and plan on coming back with a ton of blueberries to use. I was thinking I would do some up front (fresh) and some in secondary (frozen). I'd like to do another lambic and I was wondering what people thought in terms of
a) Should I use the Wyeast lambic that I used before? And if so, should I just make a typical starter for the large batch and try to go it alone or should I supplement with a wine yeast?
b) Would it be better to primarily ferment with D47 and add the lambic later or even at the time of secondary? I figured the alcohol shock would probably be a rough place to start out a new fermentation..

Any guidance would be appreciated.

zpeckler
05-29-2016, 11:01 PM
I've used WY3278 for my "Oude Honing" (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php/25556-quot-Oude-Honing-quot-Lambic-Mead) lambic mead, but it's still in the early stages of what I'm anticipating to be a prolonged aging process. It's coming along ok, but I've got some kinks to work out with my next batch. Here's another post (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php/25545-Lambic-Mead-Proposed-recipe-Comments) where I give something of a bibliography for the research I did before I started the batch.

The wild/sour blends are meant to be pitched "as is." In order to preserve the balance of microbes, neither Wyeast or White Labs recommends a starter. If you use 3278 again just smack the pack and pitch after a few hours. You shouldn't need to supplement with wine yeast as that sour blend has sherry yeast in it, and Brettanomyces has a very high alcohol tolerance and with time will ferment most things bone dry.

Adding the sour blend at the end might be a bad idea, but I can only speculate. The lactobacillus and pediococcus have relatively low alcohol tolerances, so pitching the blend at secondary might kill them off. The trappist brewery Orval pitches Brett after primary fermentation to bottle condition, and it clears does all right.

FWIW, traditional lambics add fruit to secondary. But hey, this is mead we're talking about! Experiment! Go nuts!

With batches containing lacto or pedio, I would take care to minimize oxygen exposure. These bugs are anaerobic, and do not do well in oxygenated environments. Brett will make acetic acid that can make your beverage taste like vinegar in the presence of excessive oxygen.

Out of curiosity, what was your OG with this batch?

Sadcheese
05-30-2016, 03:40 AM
Thanks for the tips!

Per newbie guidelines I didn't yet have a hydrometer. Actually, that's not true--I bought the hydrometer, but I didn't yet have a wine thief with which to pull fluid out of the 6 gallon carboy. I estimated about 1.100 based on honey poundage but I didn't include fruit sugars.

I did notice some vinegar in my first batch.. that makes sense now in retrospect. Interestingly, it's completely gone from the finished mead. I had left the airlock empty for the first week and I thought it ruined the batch.. but then found out it was common practice. Seems to me that lambics are a totally different beast than other ferments...

The reason why I was thinking a starter might be helpful is that I've done a few BOMMs and the Wyeast instructions for 1388 stating that the smack pack is good for a 5 gallon batch is basically not true and a starter is needed... and I've had a lot more success doing starters with everything. I get that it will mess up the balance of bugs in a lambic, but I just worry it wouldn't be adequate to get a safe/quick ferment. And it's expensive and I don't feel like buying three smack packs....


I've used WY3278 for my "Oude Honing" (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php/25556-quot-Oude-Honing-quot-Lambic-Mead) lambic mead, but it's still in the early stages of what I'm anticipating to be a prolonged aging process. It's coming along ok, but I've got some kinks to work out with my next batch. Here's another post (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php/25545-Lambic-Mead-Proposed-recipe-Comments) where I give something of a bibliography for the research I did before I started the batch.

The wild/sour blends are meant to be pitched "as is." In order to preserve the balance of microbes, neither Wyeast or White Labs recommends a starter. If you use 3278 again just smack the pack and pitch after a few hours. You shouldn't need to supplement with wine yeast as that sour blend has sherry yeast in it, and Brettanomyces has a very high alcohol tolerance and with time will ferment most things bone dry.

Adding the sour blend at the end might be a bad idea, but I can only speculate. The lactobacillus and pediococcus have relatively low alcohol tolerances, so pitching the blend at secondary might kill them off. The trappist brewery Orval pitches Brett after primary fermentation to bottle condition, and it clears does all right.

FWIW, traditional lambics add fruit to secondary. But hey, this is mead we're talking about! Experiment! Go nuts!

With batches containing lacto or pedio, I would take care to minimize oxygen exposure. These bugs are anaerobic, and do not do well in oxygenated environments. Brett will make acetic acid that can make your beverage taste like vinegar in the presence of excessive oxygen.

Out of curiosity, what was your OG with this batch?

zpeckler
05-30-2016, 07:18 AM
For my Oude Honing I used 1 smackpack in 3 gallons, plus the lees from a bottle of lambic beer and it took off just fine. With the wild microbes in the lambic blends, a long lag phase lasting a few days is typical. Remember, these organisms haven't had the evolutionary selection pressure for fast ferments like Saccharomyces has.

1.100 is a little high to get a really sour mead. It varies by strain, but lacto and pedio only have an ABV tolerance of around 4-8%. At higher gravity the alcohol will kill off the bacteria midway through fermentation, and the batch won't sour very much. Traditional lambic beers top out at 1.060-1.065.