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By: Spencer Tielkemeier
In a blog post early last November I detailed the beginnings of an experiment in wild beer, which you can read here:
Though I won’t rehash the details of those beginning stages, the project definitely deserves an update. It’s been almost a year since we inoculated the barrels and filled them with BRUIN and now, delightfully, we’re starting to see some awesome results.
Truthfully, we’ve been seeing promising results for quite a while, but after many successive tastes we feel that the beer has reached a point where it’s ready for packaging. About a month ago, we emptied 2 of the 4 oak barrels and bottled them. This small, very limited bottling run yielded about 500 bottles (750ml). We’re leaving the other 2 barrels untouched to continue the aging process in order for them to further gain the complexity that only time can provide. So, in essence, the beer that we bottled a month ago is not truly a finished product, but a “snapshot” of sorts into a year-old souring experiment.
That is not to say, however, that the beer is “unfinished” or rough around the edges. It has developed beautifully over the course of one year into a treat for the senses. We call it WILD BEAR, in reference to both the wild yeast that has made it and the base beer from which we started, BRUIN. Though much of the beer drinking population is not yet familiar with the world of wild/sour beers, those who are will immediately recognize the distinct characteristics of a “Brett beer” as soon as the bottle is opened. The aroma is gorgeous, exhibiting all the best characteristics that Brettanomyces Bruxellensis has to offer including notes of pineapple, tart cherries, oak, and a distinctive barnyard “funkiness” that must be tasted to be understood. The flavor is similarly complex; the bacteria Pediococcus provides a moderate, pleasant tartness that makes the beer an excellent apéritif. The beer finishes dry with a nice tannic oakiness. It is 100% bottle conditioned and, as is the case for all of our beers, made with mostly organic ingredients.
Though 2 of the barrels are now empty, the project will continue on. The barrels will be refilled with fresh beer and, since they already have a vigorous population of wild yeast and bacteria, they will produce beers that share qualities with the one we’ve just bottled (the children and grandchildren of the WILD BEAR). We also have plans to expand our alternative yeast program soon with the addition of more barrels.
We hope you’re as excited for the WILD BEAR as we are. It has enchanted us from day one. Look for an announcement coming soon detailing the specifics of its release.
As always, Drink Texas Proud,
The (512) Team
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