Schafly's New Sour Beers


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Defining a new generation of beers

Have you tried Flanders Red Ale yet? Better get on it — Schafly's thinks it will be the new "it" beer of the tap room.

Reports the Post-Dispatch: "After a great deal of experimenting with various combinations of the wild yeast and bacteria, [Schlafly Tap Room brewer Brennan] Greene and his team settled on the formula for Flanders Red. It started as a traditionally brewed red Belgian single ale that was 'infected' with the three bugs and aged for more than two years in used bourbon barrels that had previously been used for Schlafly’s Imperial Stout. 'The pediococcus and the lactobacillus are actually killed by oxygen, but the brettanomyces eats the oxygen,' Greene says. 'All the bugs work together.'"

Greene and Schafly's have other sour beers in the works as well, including a series of Oud Bruins, three flavored with fruit and one not, and a younger version of Flander's Red. “I really think that sour beers are going to be the next big thing because of the wide variety of flavors,” Greene said to the Post-Dispatch. Better try Flander's Red before it's tapped out.


These are The Best Sour Beers In the World

If you’re into craft beer, you’ve probably had at least a few sour beers. In the last five years, it seems like almost every brewery in the world has released a sour. Sour beer has been around for centuries but its recent boom in popularity has infiltrated the beer world much like IPA in the early 2000s.

There are many styles and flavors of sour beer. From Belgian lambic to innovative American interpretations, the world of sour beer is vast and evolving. In this article, we’ll guide you through what to look for in a great sour beer and list our 10 favorites.


Schafly's New Sour Beers - Recipes

After almost three years of blogging about sour beer (among other things fermentational) I think most of what I have learned about brewing them at home is buried somewhere in the roughly 250 posts on this site. That said there isn't anywhere on the blog where the bulk of my opinions and experiences have been coalesced for easy reference. I did put up a lengthy post about Brettanomyces a year or so ago, but that covered just one aspect of sour beer production.

What follows is essentially based solely on my experiences, so I won’t talk too much about things I do not have first hand experience with (like biology, pH levels, traditional practices etc…). Enjoy the data dump and please let me know if I failed to cover any topics that you think should be covered here.


Base beer (brewday): In brewing sour beers and tasting many those made by the great number of American craft and homebrewers now trying their hand at it I have realized that you really don’t need to do anything special on brew day. Pretty much any well made base beer can serve as the foundation of a sour beer. The only beers to avoid souring are those that are aggressively bitter/roasty/spiced because these flavors will be exaggerated by the low finishing gravity of a sour beer.

I have brewed and tasted good sour beers based on numerous classic style, including: English Brown/Mild, Porter, Wee Heavy, Imperial Stout, Wit, Belgian Pale, Saison, Biere de Garde, Belgian Blonde, Dubbel, Tripel, Quad (Belgian Strong Dark), Gruit, and Old Ale. Not to mention the classic sour styles, Berliner Weisse, Lambic/Gueuze, Flanders Red, and Oud Bruin.

Completely off-style brewing is welcome for sour beers as well, but in general you want to make a beer with a reasonably high final gravity (to feed the microbes) and low hop aroma (hops will fade and oxidize over the long secondary fermentation). Some of the more out-there beers I have soured include: Honey-Peach Wheat, Orange-Rosemary Dark Saison, a blend of Saison and Biere de Garde, Bourbon Barrel Wee Heavy, Butternut Squash Brown, and Cherry Quadrupel. Not every idea is going to work out perfectly, but there are many sour beers out there to be made that aren’t found in the style guidelines.

You can use the same basic techniques during the mash/sparge/boil that you would for any other style you don't need special procedures unless you are trying to replicate a classic/historic style (turbid mash for a lambic, no/short boil for a Berliner Weisse etc…). The only thing I would suggest in general is to try to mash a bit hotter than you would otherwise to ensure that there is plenty of residual extract left for the other microbes to chew on after the Saccharomyces is finished.

I have not found aged hops to be a necessity for any sour beers including inoculated-lambics. Since you are adding the microbes yourself you do not need to worry about protecting the beer from wild invaders as lambic brewers must when they are slowly cooling their wort in a coolship, exposed to the microbe-laden air. If you are looking to do a spontaneous/ambient fermentation then aging hops is something you should look into (several years before brewing. ).

I do not do much with the water for my sour beers. Just enough to control the mash pH if need be. I do not see a need to mess around with the flavor ions (chloride, sodium, sulfate) in a beer that is already so complex.


Types of Microbes (bugs): Just like a regular beer brewer's yeast (Saccharomyces) is responsible for most of the alcohol production. The following microbes are responsible for the bulk of the souring/funking after that:

Brettanomyces (Brett) – The king of wild yeasts in the brewing world. It helps to breakdown dextrins (chains of sugars too long for Saccharomyces to ferment) and can add a wide range of characteristic esters and phenols to sour beers. These can range from nice ones like pineapple, apple, and pear through ones that may or may not be appreciated like horse blanket and farmhouse/barnyard to the vile smoky, Band-Aid, and fecal batch ruiners. These flavors depend mostly on the strain of Brett, but are also influenced by the types of acids and alcohols available.

Pediococcus (Pedio) – Produces most of the lactic acid in most sour beers. It often takes several months to really get working. Certainly strains can cause your beer to become “sick,” that is to become very viscous for a period of time (this has only happened once to me, but it passed after a couple months leaving a nicely sour beer). It can make your beer taste buttery for a time as well, but the Brett will clean this up in time (never use Pedio without Brett). Pedio also plays a role is the production of some traditional sausages.

Lactobacillus (Lacto) – The only time lacto plays a big role is in Berliner Weisses, the rest of the time the IBUs are high enough to keep it at bay (>8 IBU ). It can sour a beer faster than Pedio , and is also the dominant player in yogurt production.

Acetobacter – Generally its role is kept to a minimum. It needs oxygen to convert the ethanol (alcohol) into acetic acid (vinegar). That should be some good motivation to keep your airlocks full and your barrels topped off. You can always add a bit of acetic character by adding some vinegar at bottling.

There are plenty of other minor microbial players (particularly in spontaneous fermentation), check out Wild Brews for a more comprehensive listing and descriptions of them all.

I like to use a combination of commercial cultures and bottle dregs (the fresher the better). In general it seems like the cultures sold by Wyeast and White Labs are less aggressive than those from bottle dregs, but they serve as a good base since you can't be sure what you are getting out of a bottle. Getting a wild range of microbes into your beer will give you a better chance at a balanced character and a relatively quick aging period. Here is a listing of beers with harvestable dregs that might be helpful.

Sanitation : These days I keep a second set of post-boil plastic (tubing, auto-siphon, bottling wand, bottling bucket, and thief) for my sour beers. There is no need to have a separate mash tun, boil kettle, wort chiller, or anything else that touches the wort when it is still hot. I do use the same pool of Better Bottles for fermentation and glass bottles for storage for all of my beers.

I clean all of my equipment with a long soak in hot tap water and OxiClean Free. Once it is completely free of visible debris I rinse it in hot water, then soak it in cold water and either Iodophor or Star-San (I alternate them to keep the microbes well behaved). I have had two infected batches over the five years I have been homebrewing , but these may or may not have been the result of sour beers (the first one probably was, but I suspect the second one was not).

There is no reason to segregate your fermenters into different areas during fermentation/aging. I have my clean and funky beers on different sides of the same room just to ensure I don’t disturb the sours while I am moving the clean beers around.




Inoculation: I have gotten the best results adding all of the microbes at the start of the fermentation together with the primary Saccharomyces strain. I don’t generally make a starter for the bugs unless I am using pure cultures (for something like a 100% Brett beer). This is because the different microbes have different required conditions for growth. Yeast strains (including Brett) need oxygen, Pedio on the other hand can’t deal with oxygen. pH can also be an issue since the acid produced for bacteria can damage yeast cells (remember this when considering waiting to pitch a primary yeast to give the bacteria a head start).

Pretty much any standard yeast will do for primary fermentation. I have made great sour beers with American/English/Scottish/Belgian Ale, German Lager, and Saison strains. Some character from the primary yeast may remain in the finished beer, but most of the esters will be destroyed by the various other microbes (primarily Brettanomyces ) over the long secondary fermentation. The biggest impact the primary yeast will have on the finished beer is the attenuation level (low attenuating strains will leave more sugars for the other microbes leading to beers with more sourness and funk).

I have not gotten enough sourness by doing a clean fermentation followed by microbes in secondary. This seems to work in barrels where the bugs are receiving some oxygen through the wood, but in a carboy the resulting beer generally lacks the sour assault that I crave. Adding microbes after primary fermentation is a fine idea if you just want some funk because Brett seems to be able to produce esters without a lot of gravity change.

I usually rack sour beers on the same sort of schedule I would a regular ale. I wait until primary fermentation is mostly complete and a good deal of the yeast/ trub has settled out (2-3 weeks). Then I rack to a Better Bottle (or barrel), add the oak (if any), and slap on a stopper and airlock. Not much more to it than that.

If after 6 months or so the beer still has not shown any signs of souring I will often add the dregs from a few more bottles or sour beers to try to kick things off. As a last resort I may also add some malt extract to feed the microbes.

I would save ambient fermentation for after you get a good number of sours going. I have not tried it, so for the time being I don’t have much to say about it except that it is riskier than pitching known cultures either from a lab or bottle dregs. Even the best lambic breweries blend most of their barrels to reduce variability, if you try an ambient fermentation try to get several going so you have some blending options.

You can and should repitch yeast cakes from sour beers. Each time you repitch you will get more funk and sourness because the bacteria will grow faster than the yeast. It does not have a huge batch to batch impact in my experience, but it is something you will notice if you do for multiple batches. I generally only repitch 1-2 times, but that is more because I only generally want to do some non-sours as well. I have a friend who has been repitching and saving the same mixed culture for years without any problem.



Wood/Oak: A classic component of sour beers is the wood (almost always oak) barrel. Ideally you would get a group of friends (or a big enough system) and brew enough to fill an entire used commercial barrel (50-60 gallons). Used wine and bourbon barrels are relatively cheap and easy to find (generally for around $100). While this may seem like a lot of beer and effort, in my experiences using full sized barrels can create sour beers with flavors that are simply not possible in any other way.

However I realize that this is not an option for everyone on every batch (including me). You should also consider:

Small barrel – I have not used these, but for better or worse they will let in proportionally more oxygen and lose more beer than a large barrel due to their higher surface area to volume ratio and thinner staves . The smaller the barrel the more this will be a concern.

Oak cubes/chips – Cubes/beans are your best bet because they take longer to give up their flavor due to their lower surface area. Around an ounce of cubes is a good place to start for a mild oak flavor. I boil them for about 10 minutes to removes some of the harsh fresh oak flavors that are usually stripped out by whatever is in the barrel before the beer. Sour beer can be pretty delicate and thin and it can be easily overwhelmed by harsh tannins or oak flavors. You can always add more after a few months if you want more oak character.

If you want to mimic wine/bourbon/port/brandy barrel aging you beer just soak the cubes in the alcohol before adding them to the beer (adding some of the alcohol of choice straight to the beer can also help boost this character). In general wine pairs best with sour beers, but a spirit can work well with bigger/bolder sours.

Wooden dowel, chair leg, peg - I played around with these for awhile, but never got results I couldn ’t replicate with cubes. In my experience this setup can cause problems due to pressure build-up and cracked carboy necks due to the wood swelling. You can get around some of these problems by putting the oak through a stopper, but so far I haven't tasted a beer to make me think it is worth the effort.

Aging Vessel: If you aren't going to go with a barrel, there are several options to consider when deciding what vessel you want to age your sour beer in. Since the beer will age for so much longer than a standard beer things that wouldn't matter otherwise like the amount of oxygen that can diffuse through the material start to matter.

Better Bottle - What I use because they don't have the risk of breaking that glass carboys do. I also like the wider opening for getting fruit or hops in/out. They may let a negligible amount of oxygen in, but opening the stopper once will let more in than months of aging.

Glass Carboy - Just make sure you don't break one full of year old sour beer. The big advantage of these is that no oxygen can get in and they are easy to sanitize.

Bucket - I have yet to try aging a sour beer in one, but my friends who have do not seem to be getting objectionably acetic results as some people suggest (due to their high oxygen permeability). It may depend on things like temperature and specific microbe varieties. I also don't like the fact that you have to open them to look at the beer.

Conical/Keg - I don't use either, but the advantage of stainless is that like glass it is easy to sanitize and impervious to oxygen. If I had the money for a conical I probably wouldn't tie it up for several years with beer. A keg on the other hand seems like a fine place to do your sour beer fermenting if that is something you are interested in if you don't mind the obstructed view.


Aging: The longer you can age a sour beer in the fermenter the better, as they will almost always improve for a couple years. A moderate temperature is best in my experience (anywhere from the low 60s up into the 70s). A higher temperature will encourage more rapid souring, while a lower temperature will lead to a more balanced (less aggressive) beer.

A pellicle is a sign that there is oxygen in the head-space more than anything else. I have had fantastically sour/funky beers that never grew more than a light skin, and terrible beers that grew huge pellicles because too much oxygen was getting in. In general it is not something I would worry about too much either way (unless you are trying to brew a clean beer).

Just like any other beer you are best off aging sour beers where they get as little light as possible (I generally just use the boxes they come in or a pillow case with a hole cut to let the airlock through). It is also nice if you can keep them somewhere out of the way so they are out of sight and out of mind, making it easier to wait for them to age.

Fruit: Pretty much any fruit can work in the right sour beer. That said berries (sour cherry, raspberry) and stone fruits (apricot, peach) are the classics. They have a good balance of acidity, sweetness, and flavor. For the most part I like getting fresh fruit from the farmer’s market, but whatever is the most cost effective and tasty for you will work. For small fruits/berries I simply freeze them (which breaks their cell walls) until I am ready to add them to the beer. I let them defrost in a fermenter before racking the beer onto them. For larger fruits I will generally slice them up, then either freeze them or give them a bit of a muddle with an auto-siphon before racking a beer onto them.

In addition to adding a distinct flavor, fruit adds sugar, and acids as well. Most of the sugars added by the fruit are eaten by the bugs and critters which in turn cause them to produce more acidity and boost the production of other flavorful byproducts. The acids add a different character to the sourness since they are either malic or citric, both of which are a bit sharper than the lactic acid produced by the microbes in beer (malolactic bacteria will convert malic to lactic acid, so that is something to consider if you do not like the acid character of a fruited sour beer). In addition to their main constituents fruit also adds anti-oxidants, that’s right the same compounds that help prevent damage to your DNA from free-radicals also prevents oxygen molecules from creating off-flavors in your beer as it ages. < The acid of the beer really helps to make the fruitiness pop in a way that most "clean" fruit beers do not. The actual amount of fruit you need will depend on the variety of fruit, quality/freshness, base beer, and amount of fruit flavor you are aiming for. In general .5 lbs per gallon is the low end (good for assertive fruits like raspberry), and 2.5 lbs/gal is the high end for more subtle fruits, or if you have a bigger/darker base beer.

You will not get a sweet-fruity sour beer unless you kill the yeast and bacteria present using heat/chemicals/filtration before adding the fruit (this is what Lindemans does to make their lambics). If this seems too difficult you can add fruit juice to a plain sour beer in the glass (this is a good way to soften the beer for people who do not like something so dry and sour).

I generally like splitting a batch leaving half plain and adding fruit to the rest. This way I get two beers for the effort of one. It also makes for some interesting comparisons. Sometimes I like the fruited half more, other times the plain portion does it for me. I usually wait for at least six months before adding fruit, this gives me a chance to taste the beer and see which fruit I think would work well with it and it give the bugs a chance to get established so they are the ones fermenting the fruit sugars and not the primary yeast.



Bottling: Before bottling I wait until airlock activity has ceased, the gravity has not changed in at least a month, and the flavor is where I want it. I have never had an issue bottling while my beers still have a pellicle, but it can be an indication that something is going on. I would also be cautious bottling any sour beer with a gravity over 1.010 (unless it has a high ABV, or had other extenuating circumstances).

I generally reyeast with wine or neutral ale yeast at bottling. 2 grams of dry yeast rehydrated in 90-100 degree water is my standard rate for 5 gallons, but a little extra won't hurt anything. This ensures timely carbonation and not much change in flavor immediately after bottling. I generally use cane/beet/table/white sugar, it is cheap, effective, and doesn’t impart a flavor of its own. Candi and corn sugars are also fine choices, but tend to be a bit more expensive. I try to avoid using any variable agricultural products for priming like honey, maple syrup, or malt extract since it adds some guesswork (particularly when you are talking about a multiple microbe culture).

Some sour beers, particularly those aged in wood barrels or with the oak dowel/peg can be completely flat at bottling time. This is different than the usually assumed .5-.8 volumes of CO2 most priming calculators assume the beer is holding onto. As a result if your beer tastes wine flat you should consider adding some extra priming sugar (or be willing to accept a lower carbonation level than the your calculations might predict).

The carbonation level is up to you. Higher carbonation tends to increase the sense of acidity (dissolved carbon dioxide is carbonic acid) and give you the impression of body in very thin beers. In general I aim for moderate-low carbonation, but that is the way I like most of my beers. In the end it is just about what you think would taste good for your beer.

In my pale sour beers (especially those with wheat) I often get an odd cereal/cheerio finish for a few months after bottling that wasn’t there in the bottling bucket. It fades with time, but it is annoying while it lasts. In general if a sour beer doesn’t taste good give it more time (recently the brewer at Bullfrog Brewery told me how terrible his Gold Medal winning Beekeeper Honey Sour Saison was for several years, to the point he considered it lost, before it turned the corner).

Once the beer is bottled it will age like any other. Lower temps will slow aging, while higher temps will produce faster changes in the flavor. It is worth hanging onto bottles for many years. Most of my sours seem to be getting better and better as time goes on, some are now at nearly three years in the bottle.


General Tips: Be patient. Try to avoid taking samples too often, it introduces oxygen and steals good beer from your future self.

Get a new sour beer going every few months to build up a pipeline if you can. It is easy to look forward a few months to the next beer that will be ready, but it will drive you insane thinking about the fact that the beer you just brewed won't be ready to drink for at least a year. If you have a big enough system it just steal 5 gallons (or even less if you have some smaller fermenters) of wort now and then to sour. Having plenty of beers souring also opens up the world of blending (which pretty much every good production sour brewery does) when you have multiple batches ready around the same time.

Don’t skimp on ingredients. Spending a bit more now is worth it in the end, especially when you are investing such a huge amount of time/effort/thought into a beer. This is especially true of things like fruit, spices, and sugars, go to places that specialize in the ingredient, Ethnic Markets, Spice Shops, Farmer's Markets etc.

Make friends with other homebrewers interested in sours, particularly those who live near you. Try their beers and have them try yours, some of the best sours I have had have been fermented in the basements and closets of other homebrewers.

Try as many commercial sour beers (for inspiration and microbes) as you can and ask questions of any commercial brewer who makes sours you enjoy. Most of them are very passionate and happy to help an equally passionate homebrewer. Asking about technique rather than recipes will generally get you more useful information.

Take as many notes on your beers as you can. These will help you to avoid mistakes or recreate successes in the future. With sour beers your technique evolves slowly since the feedback loop takes years instead of weeks like clean beers. My sours have steadily gotten better, but I still have beers aging that I made mistakes (or miscalculations) on that I have fixed in more recent batches.

If you want a hoppy sour beer, go with dry hops right before bottling (or in the bottle or keg). This will give you the mature acid/ester profile with the fresh hop kick.

For much much much more on how to brew sour beers, read my book: American Sour Beers!

Recipes:
Beatification Batch 001 Clone - Wine Barrel Sour Pale based on Russian River's beer
Big Funky - High Gravity Sour
Bourbon Barrel Wee Heavy - Unintentionally Sour, but still tasty
Brett Pale Ale - 100% Brett A American Pale Ale
Deviant Cable Car - 10 gallons of pale oaty sour beer with Al B's Bugfarm
Cable Car Clone - Soured blend of Saison, Bier de Garde, and Lager
Bourbon Cherry Brett Dark Belgian - Inspired by Cuvee de Tomme
Flanders Pale Ale - Flanders Red without the Red, half aged on Pluots
Flanders Red Again - My second attempt at the style, starter for the wine barrel
Funky Dark Saison - With rosemary, orange peel, and caramelized raisins
Funky Dark Saison #2 - With black cardamom, and caramelized dates
Funky Flower - Honey, chamomile, wheat based sour
Funky Rye Mild - English mild with rye that took an unexpected turn
Inspired by Sebastian - 100% Brett C table saison
Inspired by Sebastian - 100% Brett A table saison
Lambic The First - My first (terrible) attempt at a Lambic
Lambic Mrk 2 - Me second, too strong, attempt at a Lambic
Lambic 3.0 - My first attempt with the traditional turbid mash
Mo' Betta Bretta Clone - 100% Brett C beer based on the Pizza Port beer
Mo' Betta Bretta Clone #2 - 100% Brett A beer based on the Pizza Port beer
No-boil Berliner Weisse - My first attempt at the style
No-boil Berliner Weisse 2 - Half with Cabernet juice
No-boil Berliner Weisse 3 - Half left at a Lambic OG, the rest watered down to the usual 1.033
Perpetuum Sour - A pale sour, solera aged in a red wine barrel
RodenTons - My first attempt at a Flanders Red, half aged on blackberries
Sour Bourbon Barrel Porter - A strong porter aged in a second use Bourbon Barrel
Sour Squash - Lightly spiced, sour, butternut squash, brown ale
Temptation Clone- Chardonnay spiked pale sour based on the beer from Russian River
Wine Barrel Flanders Red - My first truly barrel aged beer

Please post any additional suggestions/tips that you have discovered for brewing sour beers at home.


Schlafey’s Innovates With Gin Barrel Sour Gruit

Schlafly Beer, the original, independent craft brewery in St. Louis, introduces a new beer in the “From The Ibex Cellar” series: Gin Barrel Sour Gruit (6.5% ABV). With a taste of tart, spice and an assertive arrangement of botanicals, the latest release showcases an innovative take on an ancient brewing process – a beer without hops. After brewing, the gruit is aged in gin barrels in the Ibex Cellar, the exclusive room beneath the historic Schlafly Tap Room in downtown St. Louis. Schlafly’s From The Ibex Cellar Gin Barrel Sour Gruit is available now at the Schlafly brewpubs (Schlafly Tap Room and Schlafly Bottleworks) as well as in very limited release across Schlafly’s distribution.

A combination of juniper, marigolds, chamomile, and lemon & orange peel help form the foundation of the brew. These spices and botanicals are added to the mash and at the end of the boil to showcase the best blend for the overall flavor profile. After the gruit has been brewed, it ages in gin barrels for nearly four months – infusing spice and warm notes of vanilla, caramel, oak and smoke into the brew.

“Our brewing team takes the unique flavor profile a step further by aging the gruit. This is the first time that we’ve experimented with aging in gin barrels, and the complementary botanical notes in the spirit of gin make for a perfect vessel to age the beer with a similar flavor profile,” says Founding Brewer Stephen Hale.

The “From the Ibex Cellar” collection was first launched in 2016, and this year’s series includes: Local Oak Ale, Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout, Imperial Coffee Stout, Barrel-Aged Saison, and one final release this winter. Each carefully crafted brew has a unique character from the techniques, ingredients, and aging process it takes for creation. Like the others in this series, the glass bottle features an embossed majestic symbol of the Ibex and the packaging mimics the striking architecture of the Schlafly Tap Room’s building from the pitches and peaks to the arches that hold up the cellar below.


How To Brew Berliner Weisse | Homebrew Challenge

Berliner Weisse is low-alcohol German wheat beer that is pale in color and a refreshing, clean lactic sourness with high carbonation.

There is a light bread dough malt flavor that helps to support the sourness. Often at times, these beers are accompanied with fruit syrups.

Transcript: Sour beers are quite the art form that can take years to make, but not all sour beers. Today I am going to brew a Berliner Weisse and I’m going to make it using a kettle souring method. And this beer should be ready to drink in just a few weeks. Let’s go.

Thank you for joining me. My name is Martin Keen taking the Homebrew Challenge to brew 99 beers in 99 weeks.

And I have reached the sours category, a category that I’m looking forward to brewing. Uh, yes, with a little bit of trepidation. I’ve never made a sour beer before, but this one is like a really good one to start with because it’s ready quickly. And it’s also relatively simple if you use a kettle souring method.

So let’s talk a little bit about this beer. First of all, we’ll talk about the water chemistry. Um, what I’ve got here is some water salts. These are stuff that I add for every beer, not just for sour beers, just to make sure that my pH is right, so that we get proper conversion.

What I’m adding here is two grams of gypsum and Epsom salt and three grams of calcium chloride. Now I want to make sure that these are actually dissolved in the liquid. So the way that I’ve been doing that recently is to well steal a sample of the hot water and give it a good shake in this.

I’m also going to be adding some lactic acid. I’m going to add three milliliters of lactic acid to get down to a pH of I’m hoping about 5.3 for the mash. Now time to add in the grist. Hmm. I’m brewing a three gallon batch, but even considering that there’s not a lot of grain here. That’s because this is a pretty low gravity beer.

And I’ll be mashing this one at 150 Fahrenheit or 66 Celsius because I’ve got some wheat malt here. I’m going to add just a touch of rice hauls. Don’t need to really measure these out. These are not going to contribute anything to the gravity of the beer, but they should ensure that we have a good clean flow through the mash, nothing gets stuck and so forth.

All right, now I do enjoy my gadgets. I’ve just got the latest iPhone and this is the 12 pro max. It’s got these really cool cameras on the back here, these three cameras. And, uh, normally I just use my fancy mirrorless cameras. I have three GH five cameras that I’ve used filming these videos, but I thought I might just throw in a little bit of iPhone footage this week that tell me what you think.

What should we expect from a Berliner Weisse? Well, we’re certainly going to get a bit of sourness, a bit of tartness, a bit of lactic, or even citrusy sourness to this beer. And it’s combined with a bready malt backbone and a really light and fluffy mouthfeel.

In terms of gravity this a very low gravity beer. We’re looking at an ABV between 2.8% and 3.8%. The ingredients are wonderfully simple. It’s simply 50% German Pilsner malt, and 50% pale wheat malt.

And my beer is going to aim for an original gravity of 10 30. Okay. I’ve got to my pre boil, gravity of 10 25 took about 45 minutes. So now I’m going to take out the grains and then I’m going to bring this to a boil just for about 10 minutes.

I’ve used my plate chiller to chill this work down to 95 Fahrenheit or 35 Celsius. This is going to take a quick measure now of the pH of this wort. It’s kind of interesting that I’ve chilled it and I’m still like dipping stuff in here that hasn’t been sanitized. Uh, you don’t have to worry about sanitizing stuff with star san at this stage because I’m going to boil this wort again later.

So, okay. Here’s my pH meter. So my pH meter is showing a reading of 5.5 as the current pH. As the beer sours we’re going to bring that down a fair bit, but I’m actually going to get it started right now by using a little bit of lactic acid, just to bring this pH down a little bit more.

Now, if you want the quick and easy way of souring beer, um, you can just add lactic acid when the fermentation is complete and you sort of add it to taste. And, uh, that’s really like the, the shortcut for the souring the beer, but I’m going to add here a one milliliter of lactic acid. And give that a stir and then take another reading.

One milliliter brought that down to about 5.2. I want to get closer to 4.5. So I’m going to add a couple more milliliters.

I’m at 4.6. That is absolutely close enough. So now we’ll move on to the souring part. Now I have what might look to the observer like a packet of wyeast, but no, this is actually lactobacillus which I am going to add in now in to my wort. Okay, let’s get that a quick stir.

Lactobacillus works best warm, and I’m going to keep this wort at 95 degrees. Fortunately for me, the brewing system that I’m using makes that very easy. I can just set the temperature here and the heating element will cycle on and off to keep me at 95 degrees.

So I’m going to pop the top on. And the last thing I’m going to do is seal this port here. So I don’t want any oxygen getting in. Okay. And I should leave this to sour for a day or so.

Three days later, and this has just been sat here at 95 degrees and props to this claw hammer supply system, because it has stayed at exactly 95 degrees. So it’s been cycling the heating element on and off to keep the temperature steady.

So now let’s take a reading of the pH and we are at 3.8, which is pretty much where I want this to be. So I am now going to call it and move on to the next stage, which is to boil this and then just do all the usual things you do when you’re brewing a beer. So let’s bring this to a boil.

Looks like we’re approaching a boil now. So by boiling this wort a second time, I’m now putting to an end, the kettle souring phase. So the beer is not going to continue to sour. It also means everything’s going to get sanitized of course, cause it’s the boil.

And it’s my opportunity to add in some hops. Now a Berliner Weisse is not by any stretch of the imagination, a hoppy beer. This is going to have about eight IBU of bitterness, all of which are coming from this hop addition, which is Tettnang. And I’m adding this in, at the start of my 15 minute boil. Okay in they go.

All right, wort in my flex plus fermenter, uh, ended up with an original gravity of 10 27.

Going to add in my yeast, this is German ale yeast. I’m going to put this in now.

Given us a, such a low gravity beer. I’m not going to bother with my oxygen wand, especially as this is a full packet of yeast and only a three gallon batch.

Speaking of three gallon batches. Last time I brewed in this fermenter the thermowell was exposed above the level of the beer because I only ended up with about two and a half gallons in this. Uh, now three gallons, the thermal well is inside of the wort, which means I’ll be able to use it to take a temperature reading. Okay.

So I’m going to throw in a tilt hydrometer so I can keep an eye on the gravity.


Best Sour for Rosé Drinkers: Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project Sour Rosé

Style recognition for wine drinkers

Slightly higher price point

Over the last decade, Denver’s Crooked Stave has become one of America’s deftest makers of ales inoculated with souring bacteria and equally unique and offbeat Brettanomyces yeast.

“You can always expect a great sour from Crooked Stave,” says Avelluto of the Owl’s Head. Armed with an “army of old wood vessels, these folks always have sour and wild ferment beers as part of their core lineup,” Avelluto says. One of his favorites is Sour Rosé, fermented with the brewery’s custom-mixed culture in oak foeders alongside raspberries and blueberries. The result is an elegantly funky sipper with fine fizz and fruity verve, versatile enough for the dinner table and “just sipping on a hot summer day.”

Location: Denver, Colorado | ABV: 4.5% | Tasting Notes: Fizzy, fruity, lightly funky


Raspberry Hefeweizen The Schlafly Tap Room

Protips: Explain why you're giving this rating. Your review must discuss the beer's attributes (look, smell, taste, feel) and your overall impression in order to indicate that you have legitimately tried the beer. Nonconstructive reviews may be removed without notice and action may be taken on your account.

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Notes: Our Raspberry Hefeweizen is a true fruit beer, not a fruit-flavored beer. We add pureed raspberries to our Hefeweizen during the primary fermentation process. Although we add no sugar, color or flavors, the resulting beer is a hazy pink color, with citrus aromas from the wheat and a flavor that is neat and tart. While this beer is low in bitterness, it is not overwhelmingly sweet, making it a thoroughly drinkable beer for the season.

In Belgium, fruit beers are quite popular and brewers often include wheat, along with malted barley. While our Raspberry Hefeweizen is not a true Belgian fruit beer, we have carried on the tradition of adding real fruit to fermenting beer. Today, many beers with fruit character are made with a fruit extract we prefer to use the actual fruit to avoid any chemical or artificially sweet undertones in the beer.

3.54 /5 rDev +5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle poured into a Duvel tulip glass.

L---Hazy pinkish, light amber color. Pinkish/white head that faded quickly to a ring and left ok lacing.

S---Wheat & raspberry as advertised.

T---Not sweet or tart. Wheat & raspberry again.

O---They make a point of saying that it is not overly sweet, but it'd be better if it was.

4.22 /5 rDev +25.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Rasberries are light but flavorful and the Hefeweizen behind it is on the lighter not as sweet side as well. The end product is more of a nicely made Rasberry American wheat ale more than a hef but that is fine. It’s very pleasant in the summer as I’m drinking it now.

3.92 /5 rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottled 4/23/15 drank 8/1/15 @ the Family Compound.

Big off-white head frothy lace.

Raspberry & wheat notes in the nose.

Raspberry soda flavor up front a dry wheat finish.

A simple, balanced fruit beer fit for a summer day.

3.06 /5 rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Decanted from 16 oz (473 ml) into a custom tasting pint canned on 03/20/19.
A: Pours a hazy, rose to golden color with a three finger, raspberry chiffon head, rapid resolution and no more than rim retention, and no lacing.
S: A touch acrid and a slightly unpleasantly funky up front. Aromas raspberry, strawberry pips, and pepper come through briefly over time, but ultimately very little nose.
T: Dry. Palate essentially tastes like a dilute, unsweetened, raspberry juice. Bitterness does not add to the palate.
M: Light bodied with low carbonation.
O: I have had a number of fruit, hefeweizen blends. This is at the low end.

3.75 /5 rDev +11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Pours a light pink color - cloudy and extremely effervescent. Thin two finger head dissipates quickly leaving a thin ring of foam along the outside of the beer.

Aroma has lovely notes of fresh tart raspberries, hints of fresh wheat and touch of banana. Mostly the raspberries dominate the aroma. It should be noted that the raspberry aroma is very nice and not at all artificial.

Taste has notes of raspberries that are not nearly as tart as the nose would imply. Nice fresh real flavor coming through from the raspberries. Solid wheat malt backbone comes through with some bitterness on the back end. Not much here in the way of a hefeweizen profile.

Feel is light, easy drinking, with a refreshing quality about it. Lightly carbonated.

Overall this is a tough beer for me. Its clearly marketed as a hefeweizen by Schlafly, and even taking the addition of the raspberries into account, its just not a Hefe. Its much more akin to a generic raspberry wheat beer. So in that regard, it doesn't live up to its advertised billing. On the other hand, as an easy drinking summer wheat beer with raspberry - its actually quite enjoyable and one that I'd happily drink on a summer day. The raspberries are really nice in this - very very well done. Do with that what you will - Its a nice beer for what it is.

3.37 /5 rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Around a medium body,plenty of carbonation that seemed to dissipate fairly fast. Aroma was grain,yeast,raspberry, and some malt. The taste was dry,far from being sweet,with the grain being forward. The berry wasn't artificial but also didn't show up that strong either. It didnt work well for me,lacked in flavor and body

4.19 /5 rDev +24.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.25

Pours a murky golden color that smells like Raspberry Jam. Almost no head with no lacing. Lots of carbonation. Tastes of wheat and raspberries. For a fruit beer, this is not overly sweet which is nice to see. Crisp feeling like I have just drank carbonated raspberry juice. Overall, as a fruit beer, its nice to have once in a while. Refreshing to drink, even if just one bottle. I would still reach for something a bit more "traditional" if given the choice, but this beer is very drinkable and I would recommend it highly.

3.42 /5 rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

A bubble filled crisper beer with a pinch of raspberry

Taste Rating in Words: It's waking up to watch the sunrise while eating a piece of toast with raspberry jam spread thinly over it.

2.8 /5 rDev -16.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

DATE: June 4, 2016. GLASSWARE: Weihenstephan weizen. OCCASION: chilling and grilling with the boys after two baseball wins. pours an extremely cloudy tan body that reveals some sediment at the glass's bottom and variably sized bubbles. opaque otherwise. head is a thick two fingers that settles to a soapy white bowl. clear banana with some tart raspberry and wheat esters that suggest earthiness. sharp, tart immediacy that sours the aftertaste for an appreciable time. on second sip, the banana and hay come through, mellowing the impact of the raspberry puree. refreshing and forward, with a larger flavor than 4.1% ABV would suggest. slight lacing in the glass. the suggestion of cracker at its end would suggest malts? effervescent and spritzy in its palate, like an Italian soda. I could easily reach for this if summer slamming was on the party menu, if not for the tartness that does not relent as the glass drains. some candied suggestions leave the finish of the bottle with a medicinal quality. a palpable graininess rounds off the experience, and I am left thinking this is somewhere between styles. okay for a surprise in a craft box 12-off, but not one I would seek out.

4.05 /5 rDev +20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a hazy dark honey color with a 2 finger head that's slow to form and rapidly diminishes. Opacity is 90%.

Aroma is of fresh raspberries, so that's a plus. (It's not fake, it's not altered. It's natural.) A little malt behind that.

The taste actually isn't half bad. The raspberries are present but not overly sweet nor too muted. The wheat characteristics compliment it nicely without adding too much yeast or acidity to the mix. The flavor leaves as soon as it arrives though, much like a friend stopping in to grab something and "gotta go" , waving goodbye. There is little to no aftertaste, and that is okay.

Feel is mostly carbonated, a bit light bodied but enough creaminess to keep it interesting.

Overall, I've had much worse raspberry beers and this one is my 2nd favorite next to Founders' Rubaeus. The fact that it's a Hefeweizen and pairs with fruit makes it even better. It's not overwhelmingly tasty, nor is it complex - but it is refreshing, easy, and simple.

3.69 /5 rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

The raspberry dominates, plain and simple. It doesn't have that little lingering aftertaste that most raspberry beers have, but that's because those are usually wheat beers. This one has a more pure flavor, but as a result, a less complex flavor.

4.88 /5 rDev +44.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Schlafly Raspberry Hefeweizen brewed in Saint Louis. This is the second Schlafly beer I have tried and so far I can honestly say they know what there doing. It's a light cloudy gold color with a nice head and light almost malty oder with the hint of raspberry and hops. I really liked this beer a lot. It is a very drinkable smooth beer with a very light on the tongue taste and I'm going to call it an orgassim in a bottle so yeah ladies and gentlemen I think you will love it. Rock solid A+ with extra work included not only passing you but putting you right into Harvard.

2.74 /5 rDev -18.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

Pours clear, gold, with 1/4 inch head. Taste is raspberries with wheat. Really missing the strong wheat and banana flavors I expect in a hefe. I need more hefe taste. Tastes a lot like every other raspberry wheat beer I have ever had. Not undrinkable, but nothing stands out. For me this is a pass from a brewery that I generally like.

4.31 /5 rDev +27.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This was great on a hot summer day. When we stopped at the Tap Room for lunch I had this as my first beer before moving on to try other beers they had.

3.7 /5 rDev +9.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: The beer is hazy reddish yellow in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a short off white head that quickly died down, leaving only bits of bubbles on the surface and a collar round the edge of the glass.
S: Moderate aromas of raspberries and wheat are present in the nose.
T: Just like the smell, the taste is all about flavors of raspberries and wheat. No banana-like flavors from the yeast or sweetness from the raspberries is perceptible.
M: It feels a bit more than light-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation. There is a slight amount of "rawness" from the wheat.
O: This beer might seem a little one-dimensional, but I liked how it did a good job of blending the raspberries with the wheat to get lots of fruity aromas and flavors without seeming artificial or sweet. It would make for a good summer beer.

3.43 /5 rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Raspberry skin dominates aroma, with a touch of wheat. There's a hint of clove.

Flavor has just a hint of sourness, with raspberry dominance and a touch of clove sweetness. The finish is lightly dry. Hefe character lacks.

3.27 /5 rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

Pours with very light head that dissipates quickly. Smell is heavily of raspberry. Taste is slightly tart with a bready finish. Not as sweet as expected, but a good summer beer.

3.34 /5 rDev -0.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Hazy gold, with a slight head, the beer is tart and subtle. Raspberry is present int the taste. Tart, not at all sweet. Although I really like non artificial fruit beers, this one could use a bit more fruit. Still, not bad.

3.25 /5 rDev -3.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

It is their standard hefeweizen with some raspberries thrown in. I am not usually a fan of any beer with raspberries in it, usually because it tastes so artificial. This one is an exception to that though, and tastes very natural. It is not overbearing and not too sweet. This one is probably the best raspberry beers I have ever had, even though I am still not a huge fan (just personal preference here).

Would Drink Again: No
Would Purchase Again: No

3.11 /5 rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

It wasn't necessarily bad, just not really quite what I was expecting. The raspberry taste was very light and hardly noticeable in the one I had (bottled on 3/25/2015). It looked pretty good though.

Fresh red raspberries in the nose. The tartness more so than the flavor of them sits on the wheat foundation. Subtle fruit/sugar appears in the finish. Interesting take on the hefeweizen style, and the malt itself is solid, but the raspberriness makes it hard to imagine looking forward to opening a second.

3.39 /5 rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Light brown in color with a hint of pink and a cloudy complexion. Light Brussels lacing. A fingernail thin white head rests on top. Aroma is of tart raspberry purée. The taste is sharp,tart raspberries and pale wheat. The body is fairly carbonated.
Appearance: 3.5
Aroma:3.75
Taste: 3.25
Mouthfeel: 3.25
Overall: 3.25

3.74 /5 rDev +11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a balloon glass. I know .

Look: Peach colored body under a light cream colored head.

Aroma: Wheat grains, faint raspberries.

Taste: Raspberry tart steals the show. Tastes like a typical wheat beer with a lot if raspberry tart.

Overall: Pretty good if you like raspberry tart. Spot-on for the taste. Glad I only bought one bottle though.

3.35 /5 rDev -0.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Appearance - It is a pinking orange color, with a small light head.

Smell - Mostly wheat smell, with a sweet fruity smell.

Taste - Like the smell, the wheat is more forward while the raspberries are more in the background has a sweet aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - a light beer with good carbonation.

Overall - it is a good beer, I like that the raspberries didn't overpower the beer and was well balanced.

3.49 /5 rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle. Has a cloudy golden color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of sour raspberries. taste is tart, raspberry, a bit of wheat, kind of lacking any flavors you would expect in a "hefeweizen" profile. feels medium bodied in the mouth and while I wouldn't want a steady diet of it, it's not bad.


Sour Beers

Sour. The mouth puckering punch that pinches your mouth into a grimace. We have Belgium to thank for the creation of sour beers with their Lambic. Germany also made some additions to the style with the Berliner Weisse, Gose, & Lichtenhainer. This style braves the chances of fate by inoculating the wort with wild yeasts & bacteria caught from open air. Today’s brewers felt it was necessary to notify beer drinkers exactly what it is they were getting into before taking a sip. A strategic move that either excited the adventurous or warned the more faint of heart, either way it definitely spread the beer’s popularity.


Hoppy Sour Beers

None of the classic sour beer styles leave much room for hop character. In the opening remarks for the European sour ale category, the 2015 BJCP Guidelines suggest: “Most have low bitterness, with the sourness of the beer providing the balance that hop bitterness would otherwise contribute.” Each style notes some variation on both “No hop aroma” and “No hop flavor.” Lambic and gueuze brewers age their hops, reducing bitterness for other styles brewers usually add a light touch of a low alpha acid variety near the start of the boil. However, with the right recipe design philosophy, why shouldn’t the apricot aromatics of Amarillo® or the passion fruit notes of Galaxy find a home against the backdrop of tart acidity and lemony Brett of a sour beer?

On our tongues (or more accurately in our brains) assertive acidity and bitterness clash, while the other primary taste combinations harmonize at moderate intensities. Maybe bitter plus sour triggers the “poison detector” that our brains evolved for foraging, but whatever the reason a sour double IPA isn’t appealing!

While IBUs fade with time, the half-life of the various iso-alpha-acids is not rapid enough to bring high bitterness down below the flavor threshold within a couple years (30 IBUs is reduced to approximately 23 after one year, and 18 after two). As a result, the sour beer brewer’s goal is to deliver hop aromatics without much of the associated bitterness. This isn’t the only hurdle to brewing hoppy sour beers though, read on!

From a microbiological standpoint, hops gained brewers’ favor for their antimicrobial properties. Hops are especially inhibitory to Lactobacillus, one of the two lactic acid bacteria primarily responsible for sour beer acidification. To ensure lactic acid generation, you should either pitch a less hop-sensitive bacterium, or wait to add hops until after souring.

Another potential area for conflict derives from the fleeting nature of hop aromatics. Hop essential oils are one of the first components to oxidize and fade, but traditional sour beer production requires substantial aging. Consequently, we need to either speed up the souring and fermentation, or have the patience to wait to add hops close to the time that our beer is ready to serve.

This article includes three methods that I use to brew hoppy sour beers, each of which addresses sour beer challenges in a unique way. Why the effort? All beers are slightly acidic, typical final pH ranges from 4 and 5. However, it isn’t until the pH falls below 4 that we begin to register a beer as sour. Many brewers add a small amount of acid to bring their West Coast IPAs below 4.5 pH. This results in a crisper flavor, and a somewhat heightened perception of bitterness. New England IPAs taste smoother and rounder when their pH is allowed to rise above 4.5.

Citrusy, tropical, and juicy aromatics are de rigueur for new hop varieties, not only from the US but also Australia, New Zealand, Germany, and even South Africa. Here are the descriptors for a smattering of new cultivars: Floral-citrus, dark fruit, pineapple, passion fruit, lemongrass, grapefruit, honeymoon melon, and strawberry. We are accustomed to these engaging aromatics combined with the natural acids (e.g., malic, citric) from fruit itself so the combination of acidity with these hop aromatics can provide an impression of a fruit beer!

Aggressive bitterness and acidity seem to be losing popularity among craft brewers and beer drinkers. No longer do I see brewers one-upping each other bragging about pushing the IBU-envelope to 200, 300, or 1,000. Many are focusing on what makes hops so interesting: Their volatile aromatics! They are limiting bittering additions in favor of huge whirlpool, hop stands, and multiple dry hop additions. The classic dry, clear, neutral-yeast, “hop-solvent” IPAs are not going away, but there is increased interest in other expressions of hop character. Thus the excitement over New England IPAs (see “Rise of the Haze” in the October 2016 issue of BYO) and the push for yeast-hop interactions. So too, acidity isn’t “the point” of sour beers, the goal should be tart-bright-quenching-balanced beers with interesting aromatics from the fermentation and interactions with oak, fruit, malt, and hops. Maybe sours will finally be “the next IPA” by emphasizing the hop character that made IPA the tent pole craft beer style!

In addition to the direct aroma-plus-flavor pairing, sours and hops have a special relationship through glycosides. These water-soluble molecules combine a sugar and a functional group (often an aroma molecule) and can be freed by acidity or enzymatic action. The result is a brighter, fruitier, less “green” grassy hop aroma. Rather than get too deep here, I’ll direct you to “The Science of Hop Glycosides: Hop Aroma” in BYO’s July-August 2015 issue. Brettanomyces also has the ability to biotransform some hop compounds into other aromatics. In addition, Brett scavenges oxygen, protecting the hop aromatics in a way that Saccharomyces is unable. As with any sour beer, hoppy sours tend to age gracefully with the aromatics fading rather than flying off a cliff!

History To Now

Like most beer ideas, hoppy sours weren’t invented by an American craft brewer, but American craft brewers certainly expanded and popularized the combination!

While the original India Pale Ales of 19th century England were not sour, they were influenced by Brettanomyces during months of aging and transit. Early saisons were the first beers that were intentionally hoppy and acidic. Yvan de Baets writing in Farmhouse Ales (Brewers Publications, 2004) notes that initially hops were probably added to regulate, not stop, bacteria. These saisons had a range of balances from acidic to hoppy with a “sour sidenote nonetheless.” Dry hopping was widespread, especially to “rejuvenate old beers” at a rate of 0.15–0.5 oz per gallon (1.1–3.75 g per L).

For American brewers, Brasserie Cantillon Cuvée Saint-Gilloise (née. Des Champions) was likely the beer that demonstrated that hops and sour are not on opposite ends of a spectrum, but separate sliders. To produce it, Cantillon dry hops two-year-old lambic with classic varieties such as Hallertau or Styrian Golding. Iris is similar, but it is the only beer Cantillon brews regularly which is not a true lambic (owing to a grist of 100% barley malt, when 30% unmalted wheat is required). Iris is brewed with 50% aged and 50% unaged hops, and dry hopped with Hallertau for the final two weeks of its two-year fermentation.

The first widely-available American beer to combine acidity and hop aromatics was Le Terroir from New Belgium Brewing Co. in Fort Collins, Colorado. It was inspired by Specialty Brand Manager/Blender/Sensory Specialist Lauren Salazar’s revelation in 2003 that a particular foeder of Felix, their pale sour base beer, possessed aromatics of peach, citrus, and mango reminiscent of Amarillo® hops. The result is bright and lively, without exception my favorite beer in their lineup. One particular batch was dry hopped at a rate of 1 lb. Amarillo® and 0.25 lb. Citra® per barrel (3.9 g and 1 g per L respectively). The 2015 batch replaced Citra® with Galaxy, and 2016 in turn with Crystal. According to New Belgium’s blog (http://www.newbelgium.com/community/Blog/new-belgium-brewing/2016/08/25/inside-this-year-s-vintage-of-le-terroir-dry-hopped-sour-ale), Lauren noted from blind tasting a variety of hop teas, “Crystal was the winner: It had melon rind, guava, and it was demure and classy.”

Almanac Beer Co. (San Francisco, California) has made nearly a dozen hoppy sour variants (e.g., Hoppy Sour: Azacca®). Jesse Friedman, co-founder and brewmaster, gave me the background on their process and a few highlights of their learnings. The pale base beer undergoes primary fermentation with Brett followed by six-to-nine months of barrel-aging with Lacto and Pedio. From there they blend barrels of various ages into stainless steel tanks with 2.5-3 lbs./bbl (10-12 g/L) of hops for only a few days. What really struck me was Jesse’s descriptors of where the hop aroma ends up once it mingles with the sours: Citra® “freshly cracked can of Sprite,” Amarillo® “Dole pineapple juice blended with bosc pear juice,” and Simcoe® “exactly like freshly zested limes in a bag of weed.” Luckily so far none of their varieties have failed, although a few have been less interesting than others.

Three Homebrew Methods

I brewed three hoppy sours to serve at HomebrewCon 2016 as part of a seminar on hoppy sours. I wanted to demonstrate how the aromatics from the same hops (equal parts Citra®, Simcoe®, and Mosaic® would change depending on the method used. The recipes for all three are included in this story, but don’t feel that you should limit the process to the recipe. Swap the hops, alter the grain bill, use your favorite microbes, but leave the timing and order the same.

1. Quick mixed fermentation with low-temperature whirlpool hops.

2. 100% Lactobacillus souring, pasteurized with hops*, and then 100% Brett.

3. Traditional mixed fermentation, aged and then dry hopped.

I wouldn’t treat the water for a hoppy sour the same way as an IPA. The sulfate in gypsum (or Epsom salt) accentuates bitterness, something that isn’t desirable here. Instead, use calcium chloride for your calcium needs. Chloride has the benefit of improving mouthfeel, something that can be beneficial to a dry beer where assertive flavors are at work. I aim for 100–150 PPM. While I dilute my filtered tap water with distilled to reduce carbonate for most hoppy beers (for a crisper flavor and to reduce my need for acid additions) the lactic acid produced in a sour beer will drop the pH adequately no matter how much buffering capacity your water has.

Method #1: Classic Mixed-Fermentation Saison

The easiest, but least reliable, method is to simply brew a beer with very low bitterness and ferment with a hop-tolerant strain of Lactobacillus and a saison strain. It isn’t the iso-alpha acids alone that inhibit Lactobacillus, so chilling the wort below 180 °F (82 °C) prior to the hop stand does not allow free work by Lactobacillus (although it does reduce the perceived bitterness).

Even if your pH begins to drop, you may be able to blame a stall on the hops. The lower the pH, the higher the antimicrobial potency of hop compounds. One study suggested that a pH below 4 greatly increases the antimicrobial potency of iso-alpha-acids.

Adding the hops on the hot side demands speed as well. A funkier Brett strain that can make its presence known in a few weeks is important. This is a time when pitching an active starter of Brett may be worthwhile. I also find that natural conditioning (either in a keg or bottle) helps to bring out the Brett character quickly. The nice advantage of a keg is that you can fill it before the final gravity is reached and either vent excess pressure or attach a spunding valve.

By reducing the hopping rate, or building hop-tolerance into the bacteria through culturing in increasingly hopped media (e.g., add a couple hop pellets to your starter wort, step up with a few more) you can make a more or less acidic beer.

I fermented this batch (see recipe on page 67) with a house saison culture that I’ve been maintaining for more than two years. Jeff Mello from Bootleg Biology took a look at the slurry harvested from this beer under a microscope and noted that there are unidentified bacteria present, but they are clearly not as hop-tolerant as I had hoped!

Method #1: Hoppy House Saison

(5 gallons/19 L, all-grain)
OG = 1.048 FG = 1.004
IBU = 0 SRM = 4 ABV = 5.7%

Tasting Notes: pH = 3.87. Big/fresh hop nose, still more fruit than green (truer than a New England IPA with the same hops that I fermented with Wyeast London III and GigaYeast Vermont IPA). Bright, lively Brett-like character, tropical, but not juice. Finish brings in some funk, impressive for less than two months since brewing. Acidity is tangy at best, more saison than sour.

Ingredients

7.5 lbs. (3.4 kg) Rahr 2-row Brewer’s Malt
2 lbs. (0.91 kg) flaked wheat
0.25 lb. (113 g) acidulated malt
1 oz. (28 g) Simcoe® hops (hop stand)
1 oz. (28 g) Mosaic® hops (hop stand)
1 oz. (28 g) Citra® hops (hop stand)
0.5 oz. (14 g) Simcoe® hops (dry hop)
0.5 oz. (14 g) Mosaic® hops (dry hop)
0.5 oz. (14 g) Citra® hops (dry hop)
The Yeast Bay Saison Blend yeast
White Labs WLP644 (Saccharomyces “bruxellensis” Trois) yeast
Omega Yeast Labs OYL-605 (Lactobacillus Blend) bacteria
3⁄4 cup corn sugar (if priming)

Step by Step

Mash at 150 °F (66 °C). Collect wort and boil for 60 minutes. Turn the heat off, and either use a wort chiller to force the temperature down to 180 °F (82 °C) or simply allow to cool with the lid off for 30 minutes. Add the hops and allow to steep for 20–30 minutes before fully chilling. Transfer the chilled wort to a fermenter. Aerate and pitch the saison yeast and Lactobacillus of your choice (Brett is optional). Ferment at 73 °F (23 °C). Approximate fermentation time in primary is two weeks. Once the gravity stabilizes, the beer is ready to package. If you are bottling, add the dry hops to the primary fermenter. If kegging, bag and weight the hops (I use new nylon knee highs and glass marbles) adding them directly to the keg during natural conditioning. Either way, aim for 2.7 volumes of CO2.

Hoppy House Saison

(5 gallons/19 L, partial mash)
OG = 1.048 FG = 1.004
IBU = 0 SRM = 4 ABV = 5.7%

Ingredients

2.5 lbs. (1.1 kg) Rahr 2-row Brewer’s Malt
2 lbs. (0.91 kg) flaked wheat
0.25 lb. (113 g) acidulated malt
3 lbs. (1.36 kg) extra light dried malt extract
1 oz. (28 g) Simcoe® hops (hop stand)
1 oz. (28 g) Mosaic® hops (hop stand)
1 oz. (28 g) Citra® hops (hop stand)
0.5 oz. (14 g) Simcoe® hops (dry hop)
0.5 oz. (14 g) Mosaic® hops (dry hop)
0.5 oz. (14 g) Citra® hops (dry hop)
The Yeast Bay Saison Blend yeast
White Labs WLP644 (Saccharomyces “bruxellensis” Trois) yeast
Omega Yeast Labs OYL-605 (Lactobacillus Blend) bacteria
3⁄4 cup corn sugar (if priming)

Step by Step

Mash the grains in 7 quarts (6.7 L) of water at 150 °F (66 °C). Collect the wort, top up with water to make 5 gallons (19 L) and bring to a boil. Top off to 6 gallons (23 L). Turn the heat off, add the malt extract and stir to completely dissolve. Return the wort to the heat and boil for 60 minutes. Turn the heat off and allow to cool with the lid off until you reach 180 °F (82 °C). Add the hops and allow to steep for 20–30 minutes before fully chilling. Transfer the chilled wort to a fermenter. Aerate and pitch the saison yeast and Lactobacillus of your choice (Brett is optional). Ferment at 73 °F (23 °C) in the primary for about two weeks. Follow the remainder of the all-grain recipe.

Method #2: 100% lacto, Hopped Pasteurization,100% Brett

Jason Yester of Trinity Brewing in Colorado Springs, Colorado was one of the first to approach hoppy sours from the other angle, souring first, boiling with hops, then proceeding to fermentation with Brett and dry hopping. Red Swingline is a masterpiece: Hoppy, fruity, tart, lightly funky.

This second method is inspired by Trinity. I soured my unhopped wort first with a pure culture of Lactobacillus, removing any risk of hop-inhibition. When souring with a pure culture of Lactobacillus, keeping air/oxygen out is not nearly as essential as it is for wild culture (e.g., inoculated with grain). However, for an added measure of precaution I dose with 88% lactic acid to lower the pH to 4.5, which prevents enteric bacteria from growing. The low starting pH also inhibits the enzyme responsible for protein degradation as well, vastly improving head retention.

I used the Omega Lacto Blend for this recipe, but White Labs Lactobacillus brevis would also be a good choice judging from the results of an experiment Matt Humbard and I presented in “Brewing with Lactobacillus: Overview and Evaluation” in the May-June 2015 issue of BYO. I have also heard good results reported with GigaYeast Lactobacillus delbrueckii and GoodBelly probiotic as well, although I haven’t had a chance to use either.

Once Lactobacillus achieves the desired pH drop, transfer the wort back to the kettle and raise the temperature to 180 °F (82 °C) to pasteurize, preventing over-souring. At the same time add hops, allowing them to steep in the sour wort. One study of acid hydrolysis of glycosides in traditional Chinese herbs found the peak at pH of 5 and 104 °F (40 °C), but it is hard to know how well this translates to hops. From there you could ferment with any acid tolerant yeast (see the “Advanced Brewing” column in this issue on page 111), but I chose to go with White Labs WLP648 Brettanomyces bruxellensis Trois Vrai. This strain is the “true” Brett replacement when it was discovered that WLP644 was a wild Saccharomyces and it is known for its wonderfully fruity interactions with hops.

This recipe could be done as a no-boil, but in that case make sure not to hold the wort above 180 °F (82 °C) for the hop stand, or risk DMS (dimethyl sulfide) production. A craft brewer who attempted my no-boil Berliner weisse recipe on his big system reached out to me with DMS issues . . . apparently what works on a small homebrew rig with an immersion chiller did not work out so well when the wort sat at 211 °F (99 °C) for an hour waiting to go through the heat exchanger!

This beer was the clear crowd favorite during my HomebrewCon talk. It had Goldilocks acidity, enough to be sour without being overwhelming. It also had the most tropical character.

Method #2: 100% Hoppy

(5 gallons/19 L, all-grain)
OG = 1.048 FG = 1.009
IBU = 0 SRM = 4 ABV = 5.1%

Tasting Notes: pH = 3.52. Big tropical fruit (pineapple and passion fruit), floral, with some classic-Brett-funk riding the coattails.

Ingredients

7.5 lbs. (3.4 kg) Rahr 2-row Brewer’s Malt
2 lbs. (0.91 kg) flaked wheat
0.25 lb. (113 g) acidulated malt
0.5 oz. (14 g) 88% lactic acid
1 oz. (28 g) Simcoe® hops (pasteurization)
1 oz. (28 g) Mosaic® hops (pasteurization)
1 oz. (28 g) Citra® hops (pasteurization)
0.5 oz. (14 g) Simcoe® hops (dry hop)
0.5 oz. (14 g) Mosaic® hops (dry hop)
0.5 oz. (14 g) Citra® hops (dry hop)
Omega Yeast Labs OYL-605 (Lactobacillus Blend) bacteria
White Labs WLP648 (Brettanomyces bruxellensis Trois Vrai) yeast
3⁄4 cup corn sugar (if priming)

Step by Step

Mash at 150 °F (66 °C). Collect wort and boil for 60 minutes, do not add any hops. Cool the wort to 100 °F (38 °C) and transfer wort to a fermenter. Pitch the Lactobacillus of your choice, and add lactic acid as needed to achieve a pH of 4.4. If you are in a rush, sour as warm as you can reliably hold (up to 115 °F/46 °C), ideally above 80 °F (27 °C). Approximate souring time 1–3 days to reach pH 3.3–3.4. You can measure by taste, but the sweetness of the wort can make acidity seem milder than it will post-fermentation (even though the pH will rise slightly with fermentation and dry hopping). Once the desired acidity is achieved, return the wort to the kettle and heat to 180 °F (82 °C). Once the temperature is reached, turn off the heat and add the hops. Allow them to steep for 20–30 minutes before chilling to 70 °F (21 °C). Aerate and pitch a large starter of Brett (most commercial Brett strains are not packaged at a high enough cell-count to pitch directly). A 3-L starter on a stir-plate for a week should be adequate. Once the gravity stabilizes (two to four weeks), the beer is ready to package. If you are bottling, add the dry hops to the primary fermenter. If kegging, bag and weight the hops (I use new nylon knee highs and glass marbles) adding them directly to the keg during natural conditioning. Aim for 2.7 volumes of CO2.

100% Hoppy

(5 gallons/19 L, partial mash)
OG = 1.048 FG = 1.009
IBU = 0 SRM = 4 ABV = 5.1%

Ingredients

2.5 lbs. (1.1 kg) Rahr 2-row Brewer’s Malt
2 lbs. (0.91 kg) flaked wheat
0.25 lb. (113 g) acidulated malt
3 lbs. (1.36 kg) extra light dried malt extract.
0.5 oz. (14 g) 88% lactic acid
1 oz. (28 g) Simcoe® hops (pasteurization)
1 oz. (28 g) Mosaic® hops (pasteurization)
1 oz. (28 g) Citra® hops (pasteurization)
0.5 oz. (14 g) Simcoe® hops (dry hop)
0.5 oz. (14 g) Mosaic® hops (dry hop)
0.5 oz. (14 g) Citra® hops (dry hop)
Omega Yeast Labs OYL-605 (Lactobacillus Blend) bacteria
White Labs WLP648 (Brettanomyces bruxellensis Trois Vrai) yeast
3⁄4 cup corn sugar (if priming)

Step by step

Mash the grains in 7 quarts (6.7 L) of water at 150 °F (66 °C). Collect the wort, top up with water to make 5 gallons (19 L) and bring to a boil. Add the malt extract and stir to dissolve. Boil for 60 minutes. Follow remainder of all-grain recipe.

Method #3: Dry Hop an Aged Sour

The most straightforward of the techniques, inspired by both Cantillon and New Belgium, is to take a well-aged mixed-fermentation sour beer and dry hop it. I’ve done this with both lambics and Flemish reds with delicious results. You can give the base beer up to 20 IBUs if you are pitching a blend of microbes that includes Pediococcus. The result is a beer with pleasant acidity and low bitterness, so there is no taste clash.

While dry hopping doesn’t add IBUs it can increase perceived bitterness. Essentially any hop variety you enjoy can be added and your dose can be as subtle or aggressive as you would like. Dry hopping for 3–14 days before bottling (or directly in the keg) allows the beer to be ready when the hop aromatics are still bright and fresh. As an added bonus, if stored at cellar temperature the Brettanomyces will scavenge oxygen, allowing the hop aroma to continue evolving.

For me, this is a perfect example of why a deep cellar of sours is invaluable. I wouldn’t set out to brew a dry hopped sour with this process. For me, this is one solution for what to do when a sour beer isn’t perfect as is. Blending is always an option, but sometimes a complementary match isn’t available. If a beer is bland and not sour enough, I add fruit for the aromatics, as well as the acids and sugars from the fruit helping to lower the pH. I dry hop when the beer is bland and too sour the hops add interest to the nose, and raise the pH. However, dry hopping is not a solution for a beer with potent off-flavors like assertive acetic sharpness, or associated ethyl acetate (nail polish remover).

If you don’t want to commit to an entire batch, consider bottle hopping a six-pack! Add two or three whole hop cones (no pellets please!) per bottle before filling with primed beer. Once it is carbonated, prepare to enjoy by chilling the beer for at least one day before opening. When you are ready to open, set a tea strainer in an oversized glass and pour the beer immediately upon opening. The hops provide nucleation sites for CO2 bubbles to form.

The recipe on page 70 is a scaled down version of the beer that Nathan Zeender and I brewed to fill a 61-gallon (230 L) wine barrel in my basement. Each year we pulled 20 gallons (76 L) splitting four ways: Plain, fruit, wildcard, and dry hopped. Then we would refill with fresh beer to restart the aging. More information about what we did can be found in “Blending Sour Beers with the Solera Method” in the May-June 2014 issue of BYO.

Method #3: Hoppy So[ur]lera

(5 gallons/19 L, all-grain)
OG = 1.061 FG = 1.004
IBU = 10 SRM = 4 ABV = 7.5%

Tasting Notes: pH = 3.27. Big sour-orange rind nose, sharp lactic acid (with a hint of acetic), finish is a bit juicy (softer than the nose suggests). Hops are the mildest of the three, despite the highest dry-hopping rate!

Ingredients

6 lbs. (2.7 kg) Pilsner malt
4.4 lbs. (2 kg) American pale malt
15 oz. (0.43 kg) quick oatmeal
13 oz. (0.37 kg) flaked wheat
10 oz. (0.28 kg) wheat malt
2.8 AAU Willamette hops (60 min.) (0.75 oz./21 g at 3.7% alpha acids)
1 oz. (28 g) Simcoe® hops (dry hop)
1 oz. (28 g) Mosaic® hops (dry hop)
1 oz. (28 g) Citra® hops (dry hop)
1-2 oz. (28-57 g) medium toast French oak cubes (optional)
East Coast Yeast ECY01 (BugFarm) blend
3⁄4 cup corn sugar (if priming)

Step by Step

Mash at 158 °F (70 °C). Collect wort and boil for 60 minutes, adding hops as scheduled. Cool and transfer wort to a fermenter. Aerate and pitch the souring yeast blend of your choice and/or bottle dregs from your favorite unpasteurized sour beers. Ferment at 67 °F (20 °C). Approximate fermentation time in primary fermenter is one year. We aged the original in a barrel, so 1–2 oz. (28–57 g) of medium-toast French oak cubes could be added.

Once the gravity stabilizes, the beer is ready to package. If you are bottling, add the dry hops to the primary fermenter. If kegging, bag and weight the hops (I use new nylon knee highs and glass marbles) adding them directly to the keg during force carbonation. Either way, aim for 2.7 volumes of CO2.

Hoppy So[ur]lera

(5 gallons/19 L, partial mash)
OG = 1.061 FG = 1.004
IBU = 10 SRM = 4 ABV = 7.5%

Ingredients

3 lbs. (1.36 kg) Pilsner dried malt extract
1.5 lbs. (0.68 kg) extra light dried malt extract
2 lbs. (0.91 kg) American pale malt
15 oz. (0.43 kg) quick oatmeal
13 oz. (0.37 kg) flaked wheat
10 oz. (0.28 kg) wheat malt
2.8 AAU Willamette hops (60 min.) (0.75 oz./21 g at 3.7% alpha acids)
1 oz. (28 g) Simcoe® hops (dry hop)
1 oz. (28 g) Mosaic® hops (dry hop)
1 oz. (28 g) Citra® hops (dry hop)
1-2 oz. (28-57 g) medium toast French oak cubes (optional)
East Coast Yeast ECY01 (BugFarm) blend
3⁄4 cup corn sugar (if priming)

Step by Step

Mash the grains in 6.5 quarts (6.2 L)of water at 150 °F (66 °C). Collect the wort, top up with water to make 5 gallons (19 L) and bring to a boil. Turn the heat off, add the malt extract and stir to dissolve. Top off to 6 gallons (23 L). Return the wort to the heat and boil for 60 minutes, adding the hops as scheduled. Cool and transfer wort to a fermenter. Aerate and pitch the souring yeast blend of your choice and/or bottle dregs from your favorite unpasteurized sour beers. Ferment at 67 °F (20 °C). Approximate fermentation time in primary fermenter is one year. We aged the original in a barrel, so 1–2 oz. (28–57 g) of medium-toast French oak cubes could be added.

Once the gravity stabilizes, the beer is ready to package. If you are bottling, add the dry hops to the primary fermenter. If kegging, bag and weight the hops (I use new nylon knee highs and glass marbles) adding them directly to the keg during force carbonation. Either way, aim for 2.7 volumes of CO2.

Other Techniques

Here are three other methods that you might consider:

QuiCK Mixed-Fermentation

There is no reason that a dry hopped mixed-fermentation sour has to be long-aged if you have the right combination of culture and temperature. Nathan Zeender, my friend and occasional BYO co-writer, brews a few dry hopped sours at Right Proper Brewing Co. in Washington, DC. He leaves hops out of the boil, although he sometimes adds herbs or citrus. Post-boil he chills the wort to 110 °F (43 °C) and pitches a house Lacto blend. It is not until after fermentation/souring are complete that he dry hops. The luxurious beer, called Diamonds, Fur Coats, Champagne, is flavored with grapefruit zest and elderflowers, then dry-hopped with Hallertau Blanc. Kick Kick Snare is dry hopped with Citra® and Cascade for a “intensely acidic and juicy experience.” I borrowed some of the house culture to ferment a 4% ABV sour beer with 5% quinoa for body, dry hopping with 007: The Golden Hop™ and the zests from three grapefruits — the result wasn’t far from grapefruit juice!

Dry Hop to Stop Lactobacillus

Many brewers have welcomed the wider availability of fast and acid-tolerant Lactobacillus species like L. plantarum and L. brevis. Some of these isolates are able to make firmly acidic beer in as little as 18 hours. In some cases, they can be too aggressive if you want to stop at tangy. The remedy is to take frequent pH readings until the target is reached and then pasteurize the beer to halt acidification (as described in method #2). But what happens if it hits the ideal acidity at 10 PM, or right before you head to work? Luckily even without isomerization hops are anti-Lactobacillus!

Once the ideal acidity nears, add your dose of dry hops and pitch brewer’s yeast. As an experiment by Per Buer showed, dry hops will not stop Lactobacillus in their tracks, but they’ll only have a few steps left. What this method lacks in the precision of pasteurization, it compensates with speed and ease. Allow the wort to sour at warm room temperature, rather than heated, to slow the Lactobacillus, buying you more time to catch the acidity at the right moment. Splitting the wort between Lactobacillus and brewer’s yeast is another option add the dry hops when combining to prevent further acidification.

Blend in Acid Beer

If you have a particularly acidic batch of beer, hold onto it. If you want an acid beer, brew an unhopped low-gravity pale wort with a cool mash pH souring with either Lactobacillus plantarum or L. brevis followed by French saison to dry it out as much as possible. The goal is to achieve a pH close to 3.0 so that you can add considerable acidity without diluting the target.

Then try blending this into either a 100% Brett IPA, or a New England IPA! For a purpose-brewed beer, I would limit hop additions to the whirlpool, even chilling the wort to 185-190 °F (85-88 °C) to reduce bitterness.

Sour beers with both fruit and dry hops are an extension of this topic — luckily I already wrote about it: “Hoppy Fruit Beers & Fruity Hopped Beers” in the July-August 2016 issue of BYO!

Conclusion

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em! As hoppy beers and all things IPA continue to increase in popularity, many brewers are looking for new and interesting ways to incorporate hop aroma — even in sours.


How to Cook with Beer This Summer

On the continuum of cooking difficulty, steaming mussels is about half a notch harder than boiling a pot of water. Easy. Instead of going the traditional route by using white wine as your base liquid, try substituting a Belgian-style white ale, or witbier, which is spiced with orange peel and coriander. Because the cooking time is so short (mussels will open in about 4 minutes), the beer will retain lots of its original flavors, creating a heady broth that begs to be sopped up with a piece of crusty bread.

Try: Hoegaarden Original, Ommegang Witte, Allagash White

Chicago mega-chef Rick Bayless likes to spike his guacamole with beer-soaked tomatoes. The basics remain the same: mash the flesh of two avocados, and add some cilantro, salt, and lime juice. Here's what's different: In a bowl, mix a few sun-dried tomatoes with half a bottle of beer, and microwave for 1-2 minutes. Drain off the beer, chop up the tomatoes, and add them to your guacamole. Indulge.

Try: Bohemia, Stoudts Pils, North Coast Scrimshaw Pilsner

Coconut milk provides the sweetness, while a bit of lemon juice and India pale ale bring the bite, creating an altogether addictive summer slaw. Mix about a cup each of shredded carrots, cabbage, and broccoli slaw with a handful of golden raisins. Gently warm about half a bottle of IPA with a 1/3 cup of sweetened coconut milk, tossing in dashes of salt, cayenne, and lemon juice to taste. Pour the mixture over the slaw, and let the flavors marinate in the fridge for about 30 minutes or until ready to serve. (Recipe adapted from beercook.com.)

Try: Bear Republic Racer 5, Odell IPA, Great Divide Titan IPA

From hot dogs and burgers to a nice steak, it's almost impossible to find a food at a backyard cookout that wouldn't be improved with a slathering of this tangy, mouthwatering sauce. A recipe from Sean Z. Paxton of homebrewchef.com, this one combines a 1/2 cup of your favorite Dijon mustard with a 1/4 cup of your favorite hoppy ale. Add a spoonful of sugar and a pinch of salt, more or less, until you find the flavor you're looking for.

Try: Founders Centennial IPA, Russian River Pliny the Elder, Sixpoint Bengali Tiger

This is an exception to my cook-with-what-you-drink rule. I use this dish as a chance to empty out whatever undesirable bottles I find in my fridge (like that Bud Light Golden Wheat left by a house guest). The beer works here by tenderizing the meat and adding a caramelized nuttiness to the flavor. But the long cooking time basically breaks down any of the beer's original flavors, so you're safe using just about anything you've got on hand. Get a slab of brisket from your butcher, set it in a roasting pan nestled with sliced onions, pour in a bottle or more of beer (the liquid should cover about 3/4 of the meat), cover it, and let it hang out in a 325-degree oven for 3-4 hours.

Try: New Belgium Fat Tire, Budweiser, Anchor Steam

Okay, so if you're going to join in on the quintessential summertime kid snack, homebrewchef.com does them with beer. They're incredibly easy to make, and on a hot day, endlessly refreshing. Take a bottle of your favorite beer, whisk in 2 ounces of simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water), pour the mixture into popsicle molds, ice-cube trays, or Dixie cups, and freeze until solid. Just don't give 'em to the kids.

Try: Left Hand Milk Stout, Abita Purple Haze, Lindemans Framboise

Esquire drinks correspondent David Wondrich can tell you how to make a fail-safe Michelada, that unlikely but delicious Mexican combination of beer, hot sauce, and lime juice. In the new Sriracha Cookbook, author Randy Clemens takes the drink one step further by dosing it with the spicy Thai red-pepper sauce. The heat of the Sriracha plays off the coolness of lime and ice-cold beer, resulting in a drink you won't want to put down. Ever.

Try: Schlafly Summer Lager, Brooklyn Lager, Avery Joe's Premium American Pilsner


Watch the video: Dětenický pivovar (May 2022).