Been busy this week and am still dialing in my recipe for tomorrows Maibock. Beer will be my first decoction and will follow the Reinheitgebot. Details to follow in another post. For now a story. Disclaimer: a few minor details have been fabricated because I (and even Ed) may not know them.
February 20, 1994. It was a mild day in Toronto of about 4C outside when Young Ed got out his brew gear. After a recent trip to Belgium he had discovered the beauty of mixed fermentation. As A homebrewer he knew his next tasks: Research and brew. This was the early days of the internet. No Reddit. No homebrew forums. And certainly no examples available for purchase in Canada. He went forth with confidence. He mashed, boiled and pitched. Once fermentation had stopped in late September he had a brilliant idea. Store it in a corny kegs under the stairs at the family cottage. It could age and evolve uninterrupted there without the temptation of consumption. Brilliant!
Soon after putting his precious cargo to sleep his wide gave birth to their more previous cargo. As we all know babies = homebrew ghosting. Fast forward to 2015. Ed had awoken the beast and begun homebrewing again. He join his local (kick ass) homebrew club. Also while cleaning the family cottage he discovered an old soda keg. Full. Of what you ask? A beverage that rivals that of the best Belgian lambic brewers. Split the batch, some straight and some aged on raspberries for 4 months. Tasting his 2 new babies he knew what needed to be done. Enter it in the largest homebrew competition in Canada. The Brew Slam part of Brewer of the Year.
Well This beverage took best in show. Ed won the opportunity to do a Pro/Am brew at a local craft brewery. Obviously the brewery didnt have 22 years (how old it was when it was judged) to wait for this beer so they went down a different path. A Black NEIPA with raspberries. Long story short the beer was/is amazing and is the 3rd highest rated beer on untappd of that brewery.
How did I manage to get a bottle? Once upon a time after a few homebrews I commented on a picture he posted of the beer saying “I would offer my soul for just a sip”. A few months later I got a FB message asking if my soul was still available. Ed needed a small flavour. I said sure (picked up his plate chiller from an out of towner and held it until I next saw him) and was rewarded far more than I deserved for just being a decent dude. A bottle of the legendary now 23 year old lambic. The beer sat in my fridge for 2 weeks until last evening when my SO and I sipped and cherished the beverage as dinner was cooking. Ed has been keeping my soul in the fridge with a few pints and occasionally lets the dogs play with it.
Crystal clear until the dregs started to slip in. Ruby red. It looked as if we were drinking a liquid gemstone. A few bubbles but nothing that could form a head. Almost like a toned down Champagne.
Extremely clean lactic acidity. Tart raspberries and other field berries. Zero off aromas. Mild tropical fruit and funk. More pleasant than a vast majority of commercial examples.
Bright and clean lactic acidity with a firm tartness. Raspberry tang, Aged hop funk and hay. immediately brought 3F Golden Blend to mind but with raspberries. A wide array of flavours that my palate can only describe as “complexity” in a good way.
Moderately low carbonation. Mildly sweet after the initial tartness that then finished refreshingly dry. Strong lactic acidity. Fairly thin well attenuated body. Draws the cheeks in slightly and begs for another sip.
I know I hyped myself about this but holy hell. IMO This kicks the crap out of any North American made sour I have ever had. Even some Belgian lambics fail to compete with this. This is 3F and Cantillon level. It is no wonder this took best in show. Guess I need to forget about some beers for 20+ years!
In case you are wondering what yeast was used… Wyeast 3278 Lambic Blend and some various dregs from back in the day. Stale Hallertau, 65% 2 row and 35% soft wheat