Cranberry pLambic Bottling

Racking to bottling bucket

Racking to bottling bucket

My very first post just happens to coincide with the bottling of my 16 month old pLambic, which is my first adventure in the world of sour beers.  I brewed this following a very similar recipe to the Lambicus Piatzii recipe from Jamil Zanisheff’s “Brewing Classic Styles“. The grain bill was nearly the same but I changed the yeast and bugs a bit, along with the process.

I brewed the beer on 10/31/2010. I attempted to do a multi-rest mash, but without being able to directly heat my mash tun I had issues hitting temperatures. It was also one of my first all-grain beers, so I was still learning the ins and outs of my new equipment. I didn’t have anywhere to purchase aged hops, and didn’t want to wait to age my own so I used just a .5 oz of Saaz at 90 minutes to give a small amount of IBUs(~7). My original gravity ended up being 1.062 which was about 9 points higher that the target in the recipe. I pitched White Labs WLP001 along with Wyeast 3278 Lambic Blend after cooling the beer after the 90 minute boil. Additionally I added dregs for a 375ml bottle of Russian River Supplication and Russian River Temptation.

On 5/14/2011 I took my first taste and hydrometer reading which came out to 1.009. In my notes I mentioned that the aroma reminded me of Russian River Temptation. It had a nice funk to it with some light tartness in the taste.

Cranberry pLambic bottled.
Cranberry pLambic bottled.

On 10/4/2011 I took another hydrometer reading and it still read 1.009. At this time I was getting ready to move from the east coast to the west coast. I consulted some online forums and determined my best bet was to transfer it to a corny keg and flush it with CO2. It still wasn’t tart/sour enough for my tastes so I decided to add 3 pounds of cranberries to the keg and rack the beer on top of it before flushing it with CO2. The keg traveled ~2600 miles across the country and made it safely to it’s destination.

Finally bottling time came. I bottled this batch on 1/7/2012. I decided to use Champagne yeast and shoot for around 3.75 volumes for carbonation. My original intent(before my move) was to save up heavy duty Belgian bottles and cage and cork the 5 gallons. With the move it ended up being too much of a pain to do, so I used normal 12oz and 22oz bottles. I had done a Berliner Weiss at 3.75 volumes in normal bottles before and had no issues with “bottle bombs”. I used entirely separate equipment during bottling (bottling bucket/lid, bottling wand, auto-siphon and tubing) in order to prevent infection in my non-sour beers. All said and done I ended up with 38 12oz bottles and 5 22oz bottles. Now for some more waiting while carbonation occurs! I’ll hopefully do a follow up tasting post in another month, so stay tuned!