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Inspired by traditional lambic brewing, here is homebrewer Kevin Foster’s recipe for his turbid-mashed base beer, meant for aging and blending. Evolving variations on this recipe are key components of his award-winning annual blends.
For more on his yearlong process and brewing and blending those blends, see “Brewing Gueuze-Inspired Beer at Home: A Pragmatic Approach.” To learn more about the turbid mash, see “Turbid Mashing.”
Batch size: 5 gallons (19 liters)
Brewhouse efficiency: 72%
4 lb (1.8 kg) Weyermann pilsner
2.9 lb (1.3 kg) Rahr unmalted wheat
1.6 lb (726 g) Castle pilsner
10 oz (283 g) rice hulls
8 oz (227 g) Castle pale ale
HOPS AND ADDITIONS SCHEDULE
1.4 oz (40 g) aged hops [1% AA] at 4 hours
1 capsule Servomyces at 10 minutes
East Coast Yeast ECY01 BugFarm, or other mixed lambic culture
Mill the grains and follow these steps, meant to simulate a traditional turbid mash. It begins very thick, with a water-to-grist ratio as low as 0.25 quarts (236 ml) per pound (454 g). Hit the temperature steps by adding boiling water; various online tools are available to help calculate water amounts.
- Mash in to 113°F (45°C). Hold for 20 minutes.
- Add enough boiling water to raise the temperature to 136°F (58°C). Hold for 10 minutes.
- Pull about 1 quart (946 ml) of thin mash (“turbid draw”). Heat to 185°F (85°C) and keep separate, holding at that temperature.
- Add enough boiling water to raise the mash temperature to 150°F (66°C). Hold for 30 minutes.
- Pull about 1 gallon (3.8 liters) of thin mash and add to first turbid draw. Heat to 185°F (85°C) and hold.
- Raise the main mash temperature to 162°F (72°C). Hold for 30 minutes.
- Return the turbid wort to the main mash, which should increase the temperature to 168°F (76°C). Add more boiling water if necessary. Hold for 10 minutes.
- Lauter and sparge using 190°F (88°C) water.
Aim for a pre-boil volume of about 8.2 gallons (31 liters) of wort—or more, depending on your evaporation rate. Boil for 4 hours, following the hops and additions schedule. After the boil, chill the wort to about 65°F (18°C). Do not aerate the wort. Pitch the yeast. Ferment and store on neutral oak, aging with great patience at about 65°F (18°C) or your ambient cellar temperature.