News Lambic Beer Could Become a Casualty of Climate Change

Discussion in 'Beer News & Releases' started by thebeers, Sep 13, 2018.

  1. thebeers

    thebeers Poo-Bah (2,127) Sep 10, 2014 Pennsylvania
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  2. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Champion (800) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    Yup, when I went to Cantillon they said extended summers push back their brewing schedule.

    I think we were talking about that year actually. It was late September and it was in the 70s/80s still.
     
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  3. bbtkd

    bbtkd Poo-Bah (2,001) Sep 20, 2015 South Dakota
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  4. needMIbeer

    needMIbeer Champion (871) Feb 5, 2014 Tennessee
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    I’d think it would be possible to let natural air and the micro flora that comes along with it in to a building while maintaining climate control.

    Is this terribly different from a curing chamber for salumi?
     
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  5. chrismattlin

    chrismattlin Defender (632) May 10, 2014 Ohio

    Is this a serious question? Seriously.
     
  6. FatBoyGotSwagger

    FatBoyGotSwagger Meyvn (1,076) Apr 4, 2009 Pennsylvania

    Two years ago it was 75 degrees on Christmas Day here in Pennsylvania.
     
  7. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,541) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Sounded serious and worth exploring to me, especially given that spontaneous fermentation relies as much or more on the organisms in the brew house, barrels and equipment as it does on those carried in by the night breezes whose primary function seems to be cooling.
     
  8. bbtkd

    bbtkd Poo-Bah (2,001) Sep 20, 2015 South Dakota
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    Yes. I understand the need to expose the beer to organisms brought in by air. Just thinking that a warehouse could be automated to monitor outside temperatures, directly allow in outside air when possible, but when too hot, cool it slightly as it is brought in. Granted - not cheap - but could work. Earth berming and/or geothermal cooling could decrease the cost.
     
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  9. thebeers

    thebeers Poo-Bah (2,127) Sep 10, 2014 Pennsylvania
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    Maybe an American Wild Ale -- but a traditional Lambeek? :scream:
     
  10. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,541) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Might be a different possibility.

    Imagine retrofitting the Cantillon coolschip with an outside nearby "coating" of lots and lots of small pipes around the outside of the copper and through which pre-chilled water could be pumped. Sort of the opposite of a radiator for heat, a radiator for cold.
     
  11. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,541) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    One problem with this idea could be any change in the population of yeast and bacteria that comes with summer.
     
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  12. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Crusader (780) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
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    No.

    Yes. Inoculating a beer is different than curing meat.

    It is, indeed, a question worth exploring.

    It really doesn't. It relies mostly on the organisms "caught" by the wort in the coolship when the beer is cooling.

    Microbial populations inside a building are VASTLY different than those outside in nature.

    Why the shock?

    This is, actually, not a bad idea. You could use glycol, like fermenters do, to ensure that the cooling of the wort occurs at a controlled rate. That's really what you're looking for. A certain amount of time, especially when the wort is between the temperatures of approximately 120F and 80F.

    This is also a concern, as enterobacteriaceae tend to be more prevalent during warmer temperatures. However, the main issue with warmer temperatures is that the wort spends too much time in the main inoculation window, which favors certain microbes over others.
     
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  13. pat61

    pat61 Poo-Bah (5,037) Dec 29, 2010 Minnesota
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  14. rgordon

    rgordon Champion (837) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    I was in South Australia in 1999 on a wine buying journey and vacation combined. One of my suppliers was Chapel Hill Winery up above Adelaide in the hills leading north towards the Clare Valley. The winemaker was also a climate scientist and we spent a few days traveling the area. She was keenly aware of climate change then and showed me proof throughout the boundary areas between the last arable land and the encroaching outback. We visited dusty and completely arid ghost towns where grapes and other crops grew not long before. It was like a fire was burning from the center of the continent towards the sea. She was deeply alarmed nearly 20 years ago. I wonder if the big red kangaroos in the area have been able to survive. They were rare then.
     
    #14 rgordon, Sep 13, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2018
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  15. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,541) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    I used to believe that as well until after I had visited and seen the Cantillon brewery and then later had someone on this site point me toward a set of research findings that pretty strongly support the conclusion the brewhouse has a resident microbiota that does play a role in the microbial succession over time even in the absence of innoculation.

    It helped also that I'd seen Cantillon and spent a lot of time wandering the place and looking closely at both their self-guided tour booklet and the physical facilities. For example, while there I had this strong recognition of a fairly good reason for why they don't make a point of cleaning out the cobwebs in the rafters, etc.
     
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  16. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Crusader (780) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
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    Undoubtedly. It's just not the main inoculant. Buildings tend to be very poor sources of suitable microbes, due, mostly, to the microbes that reside in and around humans.

    Ehh . . . that's more romance than anything else. Cobwebs and dust are not needed to properly make lambic.
     
  17. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,541) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Who said the cobwebs were needed to make Lambic?
     
  18. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Crusader (780) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
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  19. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,541) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Right, but that doesn't say the cobwebs are necessary to making Lambic. It says I learned from that visit that there's a good reason for leaving the cobwebs in place.
     
  20. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Crusader (780) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
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    And that reason was?
     
  21. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Crusader (780) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
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    FWIW, this is Cantillon's koelschip room:

    [​IMG]

    Looks pretty clean to me.
     
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  22. thebeers

    thebeers Poo-Bah (2,127) Sep 10, 2014 Pennsylvania
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    What's the difference between a tasty lambic from Cantillon and a tasty wild ale from Jester King or Cascade? The romance! The tradition! The terroir! Cobwebs are part of the magic, are they not?

    Craft beer is more than just science and the liquid in the glass. Delicious liquid should be a requirement, but it's also about storytelling and atmosphere and fraternity. They can all be legitimate parts of a pleasurable experience for the drinker.
     
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  23. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Crusader (780) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
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    Although I wouldn't mention Cascade in the same sentence with Cantillon or Jester King, I understand your sentiment. Classic lambic producers and nouveau Methode Traditionelle producers should certainly be put on the same pedestal for their efforts to follow tradition and bottle that romance and magic.

    Agreed. It's always nice to have a story behind what you're drinking, isn't it?
     
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  24. thebeers

    thebeers Poo-Bah (2,127) Sep 10, 2014 Pennsylvania
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    I used to drink occasionally at the Racoon Lodge. Somewhat less magical a name than Cascade. Romance aside, I agree what I've tasted from them isn't as good as what I've tried from Cantillon or Jester King.
     
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  25. eppCOS

    eppCOS Defender (674) Jun 27, 2015 Colorado
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    Thanks to @thebeers for posting this; saw it the other day, but hesitated to post it. These are the kinds of stories that appeal to me, but I'm so tired of dealing with the skeptics on climate-related issues. Data are data, experience is experience, and it's interesting to see these pragmatic stories about how actual producers of X are dealing with actually occurring climate change. Thanks... safe to say that tomorrow's Lambic will not be produced in exactly the same way as today's Lambics (or yesterday's, I should say). Same production shifts and strategies are happening in wine vineyards too.
     
  26. grilledsquid

    grilledsquid Devotee (462) Jul 10, 2009 California
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    I visited the brewery last month. While the room itself is clean, it's still a pretty dank and musty place. Nothing about it gave me the impression of a sterile environment.
     
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  27. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Crusader (780) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
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    Oh no, definitely not sterile, but certainly not dirty/dusty for the sake of being that way.
     
  28. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,541) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Nope, not dirty/dusty for the sake of being that way.
     
  29. Snowcrash000

    Snowcrash000 Champion (804) Oct 4, 2017 Germany
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  30. Snowcrash000

    Snowcrash000 Champion (804) Oct 4, 2017 Germany
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    Funny coincidence: I recently took this picture of the "Lambic section" of one of my local bottle shops. While it may not be strictly appropriate there, I still thought it was kinda cool/funny.

    [​IMG]
     
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  31. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Crusader (780) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
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    If you visit a traditional lambic brewery in Belgium, you’ll see spiders spinning webs among the casks. They are not a nuisance, and brewers don’t swat them away. The spiders are there by design to protect the fruity beer from fruit flies.

    Unlike mouse-chasing cats, spiders can’t be trained to hunt down every last fly. Instead, their webs are a symbol of a fermentation process that wouldn’t work if nature were kept outdoors.

    Certainly a romantic notion, but that doesn't make it any less horseshit. Spiderwebs happen because they don't move the barrels and fruit flies can't get into sealed barrelage, so there's no need for spiders to get rid of them. Putting out a plate of sour beer or vinegar in the barrel room will do a MUCH better job than the spiders will.
     
  32. thebeers

    thebeers Poo-Bah (2,127) Sep 10, 2014 Pennsylvania
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    Waste a plateful of beer on catching flies? :scream:
     
  33. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Champion (800) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    This was my experience as well. The entire brewery is actually pretty dusty and unclean.

    I also remember them saying they don't even kill spiders in there for what it's worth.

    Cool story, Jean Van Roy flew to Allagash to help them set up their coolship. He actually brought bottles of Cantillon and sprayed them all over the walls to help move things along.

    I don't know if that actually does anything, but I still found it to be a pretty cool story.
     
  34. tbadiuk

    tbadiuk Aspirant (218) Feb 9, 2009 Manitoba (Canada)

    It definitely did something, as the first time I had Resurgam a few years back I could have sworn I was drinking a really good batch of Classic Gueuze. Actually, that Resurgam could have come out of a Classic Gueuze bottle and I wouldn't have even blinked, the match was that close.
     
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  35. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Crusader (780) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
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    Cool as it may be, which do you think made the beer good? Time tested recipe formulation and fermentation technique and blending or . . . beer sprayed on the walls and spiders?
     
  36. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Champion (800) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    The latter, simply for the fact that it cost a lot of money to spray Cantillon all over the place.
     
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  37. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,541) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Especially when the spiders will already do most or all of the work for you for free and without you having to waste the beer or remember to empty and then refill the plate(s) once in a while. :slight_smile:
     
    #37 drtth, Sep 16, 2018 at 12:58 PM
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2018 at 1:08 PM
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  38. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,541) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    For sure!

    Also, just as it's traditional not to disturb the cobwebs and spider webs at Cantillon, it seems to be quite normal (or traditional) that there will be some "spilled" beer in the traditional lambic brewhouse barrel rooms (e.g., at least the ones I saw during my tours/visits to Cantillon).
     
    #38 drtth, Sep 16, 2018 at 1:10 PM
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2018 at 1:19 PM
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  39. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,371) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    I have seen barrels undergoing a secondary there after fruit addition. There was no bung in place, just a bunch of sticks jammed into the bung hole to keep the fruit from being expelled. There was foam coming out at a good rate, running down the barrel, and then going along the floor. It smelled good.
     
  40. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,371) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    Barley, wheat, and hops are having issues now in Germany.

    I was in the Rheingau a month ago. WS surprised to see Chardonnay on several lists at wineries. Some Riesling vines have been pulled out and more heat tellerant varieties put in. Kloster Eberbach, the state wine making school, had Pinot Noir, as they are experimenting with that variety. My German friends are concerned.