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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
Solera PhilLambic Recipe
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
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