17 June 2016
We love sour beers. We love experimenting and perfecting how we sour beer. There are many differing ideas on the proper way to achieve a beautiful sour. We’re not much for proper around here, so we’re going to share an insight into one of our personal souring processes and why we do the crazy things we do.
There is no definitive way beer is soured. But there are two ways that have ignited opinions, aging vs. kettle souring. Aging is a long process that uses fermentation to create the sour taste. Sounds safe enough, but dangers do lurk in those darkened tanks. The bacteria or yeast that is used in the process can be wild, contaminating other beer in the facility. Think forest fire, but invisible and yeasty. Kettle souring takes place during the brewing process. The lacto is introduced and killed when it hits the desired point, giving the brewer added control. It also speeds up the souring, making the brewing of sour beer more accessible to varying operations.
Why the fuss? Why the great battle over aged vs. kettle? Tradition? One tastes better than the other? Like most things in life, none of that applies. Both methods create wonderful beers, and we have a few if you’re curious to try some. Our Funky Gold series is a great place to start. Both require experience and finesse to successfully sour a delicious beer. Both lend unique flavor profiles to the brew.
Thanks to the efforts of our Brew Master, Michael Lalli, we have tried and true ways of kettle souring our beer. We do this by growing our own lacto from grain. Not an easy feat. There are other ways of getting your hands on lactobacillus like purchasing cultures from a dedicated lab or even from the common yogurt, but growing our own is the signature spin we put into our brews. Michael Lalli has been experimenting and manipulating the use of the kettle sour since 2010. Our brewery can now successfully kettle sour a beer in 12 to 14 hours. He uses lacto to create an added dimension to our beers, layering the flavor for products that can’t be found anywhere else. While it is a lot more work and definitely not taking the easy way out, the finished product is worth every minute of it.
Upcoming release, Prairie Weisse, is another great example of one of our signature sour beers. Look for it in August!