Trying out my first spontaneous inoculation via coolship tonight to test out a theory of mine. My hypothesis is that many primo Lambic producers have legion of good bugs living in their barrels that cleanup any bad funk from wild critters, so why not supplement with known good bugs? My goal is local flavor and a guarantee that it will turn out interesting (and not dumpworthy).
I made an extra dark golden sour base (I threw in a couple oz of Blackprinz to get closer to a darker shade of orange which I enjoy) and I will leave it out in my garden under some lime and kumquat trees and see what critters I can attract. After a day or two I will then pitch a large portion of dregs I recently harvested from a mixed ferment I had in turn pitched from the primo dregs of my clubs’ not-to-be-confused-with Lambic project.
Here goes nothing!
2015/12/30 – Moved wort inside at 7:30 AM (~15 hours later), temp was ~80ºF. Feeling pretty good it had a nice slow ramp between 120ºF-80ºF during the coldest part of the night. No debris in wort. Transferred to carboy (~5.75 gal) and placed in “cellar” under stairs. I’ll wait until I see some activity before pitching my dregs.
2015/12/31 – Saw increased turbidity (a sign of nascent spontaneous fermentation) on evening of 12/30 so I opted to pitch dregs and a packet of Belle Saison before bed. Woke up to slow, steady churn of active fermentation. Took a sniff: actually smells pretty good!
2016/01/03 – Fermentation has all but finished, brew smelled fruity with a dash of sulphur throughout. Now the long goodnight, see y’all in a few months!
2016/02/16 – Still mold free, great looking pellicle–“Moon Base Alpha” as I like to call it–covers the surface completely.
2016/04/08 – The moment of truth! Transferred the batch from the 6.5 gallon carboy into a 5 gallon carboy so I could harvest the dregs for my club’s annual big not-to-be-confused-with Lambic brew day. It is tasting real nice for such a young spontaneous-ish beer! 👌
Sample stats – pH: 3.31, gravity: 1.000.
Tasting notes – Dry and refreshingly tart. Moderate mineral character and the faintest whiffs of sulphur and enteric, I imagine they’ll be completely cleaned up by the next time I sample. Bitterness is a little high and there is a moderate tannic astringency, but I imagine that will also drop out by the next time I sample. Moderate-low funky/rubbery/leathery Brett character. It is shaping up really nicely and I can’t wait to try it again in a few months!
2016/11/19 – Transferred from 5 gallon carboy to 6.5 gallon carboy on 6 lbs of Organic Dark Sweet Cherries from Costco. Sadly, tart cherries do not seem to exist in San Diego any more, but after tasting a kriek my buddy made a few months ago with these same cherries I feel confident I will still get the flavor I am looking for.
Sample stats – pH: 3.21, did not check gravity.
Tasting notes – Surprisingly seems less dry than before, the flavors are more rounded and less sharp. Acidity is right in the sweet spot where it could go a little further, but is perfectly fine where it is right now. Sulphur and enteric have faded and there’s a nice bready/figgy fruit thing going on–I think this is going to be a superb base for the cherries!
2016/11/22 – Added 32 oz of Trader Joe’s 100% Tart Cherry Juice just so I would have some tart cherry in there.