From the HBD Archive
From: Martin A. Lodahl <pbmoss!mal@hplabs.HP.COM>
Subject: Re: Belgian beers
Date: 1989-11-20 21:11:19 GMT

In HOMEBREW Digest #301, Joe asked:

"I tried a few Belgian beers recently (orval & bios)
The taste is quite different from most other beer. Looking through
CJOH I gathered that there is a special type of fermentation process...
... Is a special yeast used (of course)
and can it be cultured from the bottle?"

In HOMEBREW Digest #302, Al replied:

" ... Traditionally, Trappist Monks made Belgian Lambics and
used wild yeasts (which apparently also carried in lactobaccillus).
They didn't pitch yeast - they just left the fermentation vessels
open to the air and waited for something to float in and take hold.
I wouldn't recommend this proceedure. "

And now, to add to the confusion, I'll toss in my $0.02. It's my
understanding that Trappist Ales and Lambics are two distinct styles. The
open-air "pitching" method applies to lambics, and only seems to work in a
very small geographic area blessed with the right blend of breeze-borne wild
yeasts and bacteria. The Trappist ales are pitched using methods more like
what we're accustomed to, but with very different yeasts, resulting in the
intense spiciness most seem to either love or hate. Dave Miller in CHBoHB
gives a recipe for Trappist ale that is utterly unremarkable, except for its
recommendation of pitching with yeast cultured from a Chimay bottle. I haven't
tried this yet (give me a break! I'm not finished fooling around with stouts
& porters, then there's the IPA in the spring, and the barleywine, and ...),
but there's definitely enough sludge in the bottom of the average Chimay
bottle to make this a plausible suggestion, if the yeast hasn't died in
transit & storage. Experimenting with this could be very pleasant indeed ...

= Martin A. Lodahl Pac*Bell Minicomputer Operations Support Staff =
= pacbell!pbmoss!mal -or- mal@pbmoss.Pacbell.COM 916.972.4821 =
= If it's good for ancient Druids, runnin' nekkid through the wuids, =
= Drinkin' strange fermented fluids, it's good enough for me! 8-) =

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