Lambic Extract Homebrewing

Todays beer is both going to be very fast to brew, but also test the very limits of our patience. Today we are brewing an extract. When we started to look around what other people are doing with their lambic recipes it basically comes down to a very simple beer. It’s just some pilsner malt and some wheat malt.

When new to the world of homebrewing here is our step-by-step guide in brewing your first beer Home Brewing 101: How to brew beer at home.

A hand holding a glass of lambic beer.

The Recipe

There are different types of lambic beer. There is fruit lambic, perhaps the best-known style at least here in the US. We are going to brew a regular old dry lambic. this style of lambic is quite light-bodied. It’s sour and dry. To get that level of flavors you need to condition this beer for about a year.

In terms of recipe, this beer is going to have a gravity of 1,052. As for the extract ingredients, lambic is typically 30 to 40 % wheat and the rest is pilsner malt or barley. But wheat liquid malt extract isn’t just wheat. It turns out that 65% of ingredients are actually malted wheat and the rest is malted barley.

So in our recipe, we are using

  • 4 lbs Bavarian Wheat Liquid Malt Extract
  • 3 lbs Pilsner Liquid Malt Extract.

The Process

Pouring a liquid extract from an open container into a tank of boiling wort as part of beer brewing.

For extract brewing, we didn’t add any water salts because we don’t have a mash. There are also no grains. We don’t have to worry about any of that. Extract brewing doesn’t mean you can’t use specialty grains. And you steep those in warm water ahead of adding in the malt extract. A lot of people start with extract brewing and eventually move to all-grain.

You need to turn off the heat before adding the liquid malt extract to avoid scorching. This beer should have no bitterness at all. In fact, you can get a special type of hops. They are called debittered hops that you can add into a lambic to make sure that you get a bit of hop character without any hop bitterness.

if you want to create your own debittered hops you want to start with low alpha acid hops. We have gone for Sars and you want to treat your hops very badly. So we deliberately oxidized our hops a month ago. Just left them at room temperature in a paper bag. That should do a good job of debittering them.

A bottle and a glass of lambic beer on a table inside a pub.

The Secret Ingredient

We add 1 oz of Sars and maintain the boil for 30 minutes. With 5 minutes to go, we add one more ingredient, 8 oz of Maltodextrin, a non-fermentable sugar. So it’s not going to be consumed by the yeast. This will add a little bit more body and an improved mouthfeel to the beer.

We cooled down the wort and added it into a fermenter at 68 F. Then added the Wyeast 1007 German Ale. We will let it ferment for a week and then move to souring.

For souring we are using the Wild and sour series from Wyeast 5526 Brettanomyces Lambicus. It will give a sort of a pie cherry sourness to this beer.

If you have a glass fermentation vessel that probably going to be better. We will age this beer for a year before tasting it. Cheers.

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