Despite being outdated knowledge, access to ingredients, and home-brewing methods have improved sincethis is a wonderfully in-depth yet concise resource for understanding the history, traditions, and science behind producing, storing, and serving this unique style. Supporting members have ability to turn off most advertisements among other benefits, such as Supporting Member moniker, access to private forums, unlimited attachment and private message space. After studying this unusual, guinarv beer style extensively in Belgium and at the University of California-Davis Department of Fermemtation Studies, Jean-Xavier Guinard presents his findings with detail and historical intrigue. You must log in or sign up to reply here. If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support? Culture and Craftsmanship in the Belgian Tradition Paperback.
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October 19, Nothing is more suitable than to open a book about lambic beers with a personal story on how the author became acquainted with that most mysterious of beers. In the case of Jean-Xavier Guidard most people will recognize the experience. His friends offers to buy it, and the rest is history. Although the detailed technical discussion of brewing traditional lambics may be challenging to some readers, the complexities of this unique Belgian brew more than warrant the fascinating tour through the wonderful microbial flora that work together to create lambic.
Because there are many basic introductions available about traditional lambic brewing, I will focus here on some of the more interesting details that the author has collected during his research. The author starts off with a fascinating history of lambic beers and draws attention to the close similarities between traditional lambic and sikaru, a beer that was produced 5, years ago in Mesopotamia by Sumerians.
A Sumerian tablet revealed that the basic composition of sikaru was virtually identical to that of lambic. Sikaru did not include hops but rather spices like cinnamon to add flavor. Like lambic, the spontaneous fermentation of sikaru wort involved the local microflora like saccharomyces and schizo saccharomyces yeasts. Both lambic and sikaru have been considered high quality premium beers and were used to pay the salaries of farmers, the working class and managers. Some claim that it refers to the alambic, an old name for the mashing vessel that was used to brew lambic, while others point to the latin word lambere to sip.
Lambic may also have been derived from the village of Lembeek in Belgium. Similar mysteries surround the name Gueuze or Geuze. This is how the city has been drinking its own urine for centuries. A look of horror crossed his bearded face, No! At the beginning of the century there were about lambic breweries in the Brussels and the Senne Valley.
Today, only a small number of lambic breweries and Geuze blenders survive. Going forward, there is reason to be optimistic, as evidenced by the creation of organizations to preserve and promote traditional lambic beers, the increased respect that brewers such as Cantillon and Drie Fonteinen receive, and the experiments with wild ales by breweries such as Russian River in the United States. Traditional lambic brewing and the practice of spontaneous fermentation in general appears to be making a comeback.
After introducing the reader to the history of lambic brewing, the author briefly reviews the sensory properties of lambic beers using a table that includes appearance, aroma, taste and mouthfeel. These data, derived from technical publications on lambic brewing, also highlight the differences between traditional and modern lambics. The real degree of fermentation RDF can range from 63 to 82 percent in geuzes, exceeding the 50 to 68 percent in American lagers.
As such, calories in lambic beers come from ethanol and residual extract. One of the distinguishing characteristics of lambics is of course their acidity and sour taste. Total acidity of lambic beers are reported to be three to eight times as high as American lagers. Measured values for acetic acid and lactic acid in lambics are much higher than in other beers. The vinegarlike aroma of lambics results from acetic acid and ethyl acetate, with the latter disproportionately contributing to the smell because of its lower detection threshold.
Although lambics have roughly the same values in bitterness units as American lagers, the use of aged oxidized hops and high acidity of the beers imparts little or no bitter taste to the lambic beers. As expected, higher residual sugars and dextrins and a lower alcohol content are detected in the modern geuzes and fruit lambics.
The essential ingredients in lambic are malted barley, unmalted wheat, water, hops, and in the case of fruit lambics, whole fruits. Although lambic brewing is considered a highly local phenomenon, it is surprising to learn that the barley and hops often come from other regions such as the UK and central Europe. Although the Schaarbeekse cherries are considered the gold standard for traditional Kriek lambics, local supply is not sufficient to satisfy demand, requiring cherries to be imported from other countries.
Guinnard gives a fairly detailed description of the lambic brewing process which includes a lambic production diagram which seems to describe lambic brewing at the Cantillon brewery. One of the most fascinating features of lambic brewing is the use of a cooling tun or coolship bac refroidissor that is used to innoculate the wort.
Lambic cooling tuns are very wide and shallow, allowing good exposure of the surface area to the microorganisms that are introduced through the outside air through vented tiles and open louvers. The importance of not disturbing the local microflora is considered so important to traditional lambic brewers that Cantillon decided to keep the old tiles when replacing the roof.
It may come somewhat as a surprise to lambic connoisseurs that the old brewing process did not maximize the opportunity for the wort to pick up the local microflora. Over the years chemists and food scientists have done important work in documenting the microorganisms that are involved in lambic brewing.
During the first week the lambic wort is home to enteric bacteria and yeast of the Kloeckera apiculata strain. After two weeks K. After 3 to 4 months ethanol fermentation levels off to give way to lactic acid bacteria. These lactic acid bacteria contribute to the distinct sour taste of traditional lambics. After eight months yeasts of the Brettanomyces genus dominate. The Brettanomyces and other oxidative yeasts also contribute to the formation of a film that forms at the surface of the beer.
This film protects the aging brew against oxidation and great care is exercised not to break it. Killing a spider in their brewery is considered a crime. During bottle fermentation three distinct phases can be distinguished. First, aerobic yeasts such as Candida, Torulopsis, and Pichia proliferate probably as the result of air exposure during gueuze production , followed by the longest phase during which Pediococcus and Brettanomyces produce its carbonation, and ending with the drop and autolysis of the cells.
Real lambics can only be produced by spontaneous fermentation in areas that have the unique microbial flora for these brews such as the Payottenland in Belgium. Although attempts can be made to approach the aroma and taste of lambics by using malt, wheat, aged hops and and cultures of the most important yeasts, the author stresses that such beers should NOT be called lambics to avoid confusion and out of respect for those who brew the real thing.
Jean-Xavier Guinard’s “Lambic”