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PhiLambic Solera: Brew Day

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With my Solera Plan in place I prepped for the brew day, normally I will crush my grains a day in advance but I didn’t have the time leading up to brew day With everything weighed out, I filled the hopper in my mill and… the drill was dead, no worries I have a spare battery on the charger, the charger was unplugged…ugh…Not a good start here. Luckily I have a homebrewer as a neighbor and he saved the day only a few moments later with a corded drill, I really should have one. Back on track.

As I documented in the previous post, I will be using wort only decoctions to reach all of my mash rests. I have done this before only with a Berliner Weisse but I think it will work well. I doughed in at 113f Acid Rest for 10 minutes then pulled 8.5 quarts of wort via the ball valve from the mash and brought it to a boil. I stirred a bit while the decoction reached a boil, then added it back to the main mash and stirred. I took a temperature reading and was 4 degrees low on my Protein Rest, my target was 134, I decided to just run with it and not mess with it too much.

thermapen reading 130F

After the 25-minute Protein Rest, I pulled 10 quarts of wort from the mash and boiled the decoction. Since I was 4 degrees low on the Protein Rest I decided to decoct an extra 2 quarts above what Beersmith suggested. It almost worked as I reached 149f, my target was 150f, for the 45-minute Saccharification rest. One final wort only decoction of 7.5 quarts to reach another Saccharification rest of 162, rest for 20 minutes then I was ready to sparge with 180f water and begin heating the runnings in the kettle.

I am hoping the hot sparge water, as is tradition with Lambic, would help raise the mash temp to 168f for mash out if not the runnings started being heated once I had 1 gallon in the kettle. But it should also help in the Sparge process to keep from getting a stuck sparge with all of this wheat in the mash.

First runnings.
Early starchy runnings.

After a 60 minute sparge I had 17 gallons of 1.040 wort already reaching a boil since we were heating the kettle the entire time. My efficiency was much better than expected, with stronger runnings and more wort pre-boil but nothing I am concerned about. The wort going into the kettle looked very starchy, there was a lot of protein floating around in there so either my mash process worked or the addition of the flaked wheat helped. Probably a little of both.

cheesy aged hops

I boiled for 90 minutes, adding my old cheesy hops with 60 minutes remaining in the boil. I then pumped the boiling hot wort directly into the Sanke keg to let it cool outside overnight with tin foil covering the top, with a rubber band holding it down. If it catches something wild so be it, if not, that’s ok too but I doubt it will. Overnight the wort cooled to 107f, at which point I carried it into my basement where the ambient temps were around 66f. By that evening things had cooled to 69f and I pitched 2 vials of ECY01 Bugfarm (1 vial was 1 month old and the other about 6 months old).

keg transfer

After about 48 hours from pitching, I had not had any activity, so I rehydrated some Belle Saison and gave the fermenter a little swirl. In about 4 hours active fermentation began, I knew I was under pitching with the 2 vials but I had expected fermentation to get going a little quicker. Obviously I would have had a more active start to fermentation had I chilled, aerated, etc but I wanted to somewhat stick with Lambic tradition by under pitching to stress the saccharomyces a little bit for more ester production for the Brett and Bacteria to metabolize.

About a month in and fermentation has really slowed, there was active fermentation for up to 3 weeks at 72f wort temp. I can still see some action but the majority of the fermentation is finished. I likely will not take a gravity reading until the 4-month mark at which point I may top it off a bit to get rid of the 1 gallon of headspace. But for now, it will sit in my utility closet where the current ambient temps at 68f.

East Coast Yeast Bugfarm
East Coast Yeast Bugfarm.
Pitching East Coast Yeast Bugfarm
Pitching East Coast Yeast Bugfarm.
airlock on a sanke keg

Solera PhilLambic Recipe

Recipe Specifications


Style: Straight (Unblended) Lambic
Boil Size: 17.00 gal
Post Boil Volume: 14.50 gal
Batch Size (fermenter): 13.75 gal
Estimated OG: 1.050 SG
Estimated Color: 3.5 SRM
Estimated IBU: 8.75 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 84.72%
Boil Time: 75 Minutes


66.0% – 15 lbs 8 oz Viking 2-Row Pale Malt
21.3% – 5 lbs Viking Wheat Malt
12.7% – 3 lbs Flaked Wheat


Boil: 75 min – 1.00 oz Ahtanum [3.00 %] – 5.0 IBUs
Boil: 75 min – 0.50 oz Saaz [2.20 %] – 1.8 IBUs
Boil: 75 min – 0.50 oz Strisslespalt [2.21 %] – 1.9 IBUs


ECY01 Bugfarm 06

Belle Saison


Acid Rest – 10 min @ 113F
Protein Rest – 15 min @ 134F
Sacch Rest – 45 min @ 150 F
Sacch Rest – 20 min @ 162 F


Fly Sparge 180F


  • Mash pH 5.20
  • Lactic acid was used to lower the mash pH, your water profile may vary

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