Note: These steps are general guidelines and assume you’re already familiar with the all-grain brewing process—refer to the instructions for your brew system, and adjust as needed based on experience with your own particular equipment.
Except where noted, the recipes in this book are formulated for 5-gallon (19-liter) all-grain batches, calculated at 75% mash efficiency.
Targets: OG: 1.049, IBU: <10, SRM: 3.0-5.0, ABV: <5.0%
- 6 lbs. Rahr Pilsner malt
- 3 lbs. flaked wheat
- 1 oz. low alpha and/or aged hops
- An all-in-one liquid blend for lambic-style ales—Wyeast 3278, White Labs 655, or equivalent.
- 2.5−3 lbs. fresh raspberries
KEY POINTS FOR KEY PINTS
Other fruit? Maybe raspberries aren’t in season, maybe you hate raspberries, maybe you have peaches, grapes, currants, apricots, or cherries at the ready. Adjust the quantity of fruit used based on the intensity of its flavor, acid, and tannin (for example, you’ll need a lot more peaches than you would currants), cut up big fruit as needed, and freeze before use.
Get low-alpha hops, ideally way past their peak: Brewers of traditional lambic use old hops that have had all aromatics and alpha acids aged out of them. We are not after IBUs, so hit up your LHBS for some old inventory. If that’s not an option, then choose a variety based on lowest AA% (like French Strisselspalt, German Hersbrucker, or Czech Saaz.)
Be patient: The microflora that shape the flavors and aromas of lambic are not on a 21st century schedule. Although the Sacch portion of the fermentation will be over in relatively short order, the acid bacteria and Brett will be slow but thorough and reward patience and non-intervention. Let the beer take a full trip around the sun in primary before adding fruit, then give it a bit longer for flavors to marry before packaging.
- Mill the grains, then heat strike water to approximately 168°F.
MASH & SPARGE:
- Mash rest: Add all grains to strike water, mix to 154−156°F, and rest for 60 minutes.
- Mashout: Heat it to 170°F for 5 minutes.
- Sparge and collect wort in boil kettle.
BOIL (60 minutes):
- T-60: 0.75 oz. aged hops.
- T-0: Cool the wort, transfer to a sanitized fermentor, aerate well, and pitch yeast.
FERMENTATION AND BEYOND
- Primary fermentation: 68−70°F for approximately 12−18 months. A few days before racking to secondary, wash and freeze the fruit.
- Secondary fermentation: Add frozen fruit to a sanitized carboy or bucket, and rack beer in on top of it. Leave beer on fruit for another 1−2 months before packaging.
- Nota bene: If bottle-conditioning, add a bit of fresh ale yeast along with priming sugar to ensure even carbonation.
- Serving: Chalice, summer twilight, crickets and/or tree frogs.