My housemate is trying his hand at doing a lambic to open up on New Year's Eve. We were following a recipe out of "The Homebrewer's Recipe Guide" Higgins,Kilgore & Hertlein and had ordered it through G&G which had to be doctored because certain materials were no longer made. The recipe out of the book is as follows: 6# Ireks Wheat Malt Extract (100% wheat); 3.33# Light Malt Extract; 1.5oz Cascade Hops (bittering); .5oz Cascade Hops (aroma); 8# Cranberries; 1 bottle previous year's lambic; 1 cup corn sugar; Belgian White Yeast; Brettanomyces Bruxellensis Yeast; finally 3/4 cup priming sugar.
Dissolve Malt extracts in water and cool to 125F. Sour wort. Add wort to brew pot, add 1.5 hops and boil for 1 hour, adding .5oz hops for the last 10 min of boil. Cool wort and bitch belgian white yeast. Ferment 7-10 days. transfer to secondary and pitch Brettanomyces Bruxellensis Yeast culture. Ferment an additional 10 to 14 days. Place crushed cranberries in 2 cups water and add 1 cup corn sugar. steep at 150F for 20 min and add to secondary. Ferment for additional 5-7 days. Rack to Tertiary Fermenter and let sit for 2-3 days. Bottle using sugar that is boild/dissolved in previous year's lambic. OG: 1.051
Now, we let the wort sour for about one week and it had a nice film of mold on top and smelled something fierce! He then skimmed off the top and did the boil as described above which should have killed everything in the liquid. When it was done the OG was 1.062. During the primary (in sanitized 5 gallon bucket as everything else had been sanitized as well) the beer again got a film on top, only this time the film bubbled. It smells like beer but looks funked. But, we decided to put it in the secondary by syphoning off the stuff in between the film and the trub at the bottom. It has been in the secondary for about 10 days and has again produced a film but continues to bubble and smell like beer.
We're wondering if this is all part of the lambic process or if our beer has been lost and will just make everyone sick in the end. Thoughts and advice are greatly appreciated!
Jon Verock in Maryland