I am anxious to start a batch of lambic, but have some reservations timing wise about the temperature in my basement currently. My basement goes from around 45 in winter (now) to 60-65 at the end of summer. If I keep the fermenter at ale temps for the first 10 days or so and then (slowly) lower the temp to ambient, am I going to stall/stunt the wild cultures too much? Would I be better off waiting until the ambient temp is around 60 to let the cultures have a better start before they start to cool off in the winter? Thanks,
I'd try to keep the beer warm for at least two or three weeks to ensure good primary fermentation. If you can do that, I say just go for it. The wild/bacteria portions of the culture will express themselves eventually. Many are slow moving to begin with, and the initial lower temps will not stop them, just slow them down a bit. The beer won't taste right for many months (or years) anyhow, leaving plenty of time for all the beasties to do their things once it warms up.
Plus, it's what the Belgians do. From Jeff Sparrow's Wild Brews (which you should have if you are doing lambics, and don't already):
"A seasonal beer, lambic is brewed and exposed to wild yeast and bacteria while in the coolship and allowed a 'primary fermentation' during the cooler months. The onset of summer brings an increase in the population of lactic acid-producing bacteria. The fall brings with it a secondary alcoholic fermentation by highly attenuative yeasts".
Thanks for the helpful and quick response. Should I add the bugs at the same time as the Sac yeast to get it off to a warm start or delay the addition of bugs and still keep it warm for a week or two. Thanks, Jan 14, 2015 at 14:29
Depends on where the bugs are coming from. Are you using something like Wyeast's Lambic Blend? Or individual isolated strains of wild yeast/bacteria? Or are you adding bottle dregs? Jan 14, 2015 at 15:14
I am planning on using a commercial blend like Wyeast. Jan 15, 2015 at 2:22
You don't really need to do primary with a different yeast since there's usually already a S. cerevisiae strain in the commercial lambic blends. Just pitch it and let it do its thing. Jan 15, 2015 at 4:17