As some of you may have noticed, we have been delving into sour beers here in Troy and are very excited about the endless possibilities with regard to experimentation that they present. Many of you have tried our first few releases, and we want to keep you in the loop as to what we have coming down the pipe line! Here is a taste of what’s new with the sour program here at Brown’s Brewing!
While all of our sour beers up to this point have been soured in oak barrels, where we inoculate the beer with lactic acid (shown in the photo above) producing bacteria and wild yeast, we have decided to brew a “kettle sour.” Unlike its barrel-aged counterparts, this beer is soured over a couple days (rather than months), prior to boiling, and then fermented with brewers yeast. The sour character of kettle soured beers is less nuanced and complex, focusing more on a clean lactic tartness that is an excellent platform for additional flavors from fruit, spices, etc. The first incarnation of this beer will feature tart cherries, cranberries, and lime zest.
On the complete opposite end of the sour beer spectrum, we have begun an experiment in spontaneous fermentation, inspired by the Lambics of Belgium. These beers are produced by allowing the natural microbes in the air to land in the wort (the liquid that will be fermented into beer) overnight, after the brew. The wort is then transferred to oak barrels and left for a year or more to ferment. The resulting product is going to be very nuanced and complex, and will be unique to the area in which it is produced, with all of the fermenting yeast, wild yeast, and bacteria coming from the place where the beer was made. A true exercise in patience; we are hoping that this will yield a product unlike anything we have created in the past.
To make excellent and balanced sour beer, blending is key. Each barrel has its own character, and finding balance between them all is where the art of sours really comes into play. It is with that in mind that we are constantly trying to grow our barrel collection to allow us more opportunity to blend to taste and create the best beer possible. After just about a year or so we are up to over 30 barrels in our “farm” and hope to continue to grow our reserves to elevate the quality of the sour beer we are producing.
The next in our series of Farmhouse Ales will be an interesting one for sure, pairing saison yeast with grapefruit zest and a touch of ginger. We are also blending in one barrel of soured Belgian Blonde Ale to give it a crisp, clean finish. Keep an eye out for this in late November.
Obviously we have a lot of exciting “clean” (not soured) beers coming down the pipeline as well, from Bourbon barrel aged products, to hop forward IPAs and Pale Ales. We will do our best to find time to keep you all up to date on what’s new here in the brew cave in Troy.
Dan and Lee