Sunday, April 6, 2014

Getting Closer to Gueuze

18 months ago I had grand ambitions about a series of lambics, brewed at one year intervals and then blended to make gueuze and fruit lambic.  In October 2012 I brewed the first in the series, decoction mashing for the first time, and naming it Surranes Lambic.  A year-and-a-half have passed since then, and I'm a little behind schedule.  Earlier this week I brewed the second version of Surranes Lambic and suddenly I'm all excited about gueuze and blending and sour funkiness again.

A few small things have changed since the plan was hatched back in 2012.  Besides the extended timeline, I originally planned to use the remaining 20 pounds of cabernet grapes from my friend Steve's family grapevines in some way.  Instead they've been utilized in the making of a Cabernet Pyment (along with an Oaked version).  I also thought I might alter the recipes of each of the three batches to provide more variety of flavor and enhance complexity when blending.  This has worked well in the past when brewing and blending Flanders Reds.  You can use different ingredients in a variety of combinations and different fermentation techniques and processes to get to a proper version of a Flanders Red.  That variation makes blending them together all the more enjoyable as the final product can take from a lot of different flavors and the result can be all the more complex and interesting.  Instead of altering the base recipe, I decided instead to change up the yeast.  With so many different yeast products available (even in the last 18 months) it seemed like an interesting idea to change just that one single variable and get variety from the most important ingredient in any beer.

So, I brewed Surranes Lambic 2 and followed the same process as before.  I relied on a decoction mash to enhance the fermentability of the wort.  After much deliberation I decided to pitch a portion of a a culture I built up from HaandBryggeriet HaandBic Lambic.  My hope is that I'll get to taste a beer that retains many of the characteristics I associate with HaandBic even without the barrel aging: floral, tart, fruit forward (berries), light vanilla, plenty of yeast character.  This version will likely get the fruit, but I'm not sure what I'll use.

Surranes Lambic (Year 2)*
Brew Date:April 4, 2014
Yield:5 gallons
Color (SRM/EBC):
Bitterness (Calc):10.2 IBU (Daniels)
Batch No:138
Target OG:1.047
General Information
Method:All Grain
The second in a series of three lambics (brewed at roughly one year intervals), meant to be blended into gueuze and also used in conjunction with fruit.  Perle hops have been aged over five years.
Malts and Grains
6.00 pounds 61.5% of grist
3.75 pounds 38.5% of grist
9.75 pounds
Total Grain Weight (Water Amounts)
100% of grist
2.00 ounces .5% Pellets @ 240 minutes 
Type: Bittering
Use: First Wort
1 AAUs
2.00 ouncesTotal Hop Weight1 AAUs


  1. I really need to get on this Lambic train....Since the last one you brewed I've been saying that I need to brew one, and now 2 years later I'm still in the same boat.

    Well at least I can have some of yours, right?

  2. When and how many blends are you going going to use?

    1. I'm planning on three beers altogether and a couple of different blends. I want a gueuze made with a combination of all three lambics. I also want to do something with fruit (kriek and framboise) but I'm not sure which beer will be the best for that. I'll also likely bottle some of all three straight. It should be interesting to try them all in context with one another.


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