The Parched Eagle approach to sour beers

Happy beautiful Sunday everyone!

What’s a sour beer, you ask? An ale fermented with wild yeast strains, most commonly Lactobacillus, Pediococcus, and the holy grail of wild yeast: Brettanomyces.

Co-founder Tom and I are big fans of sour beers, and I’ve had pretty good success (luck?) brewing a couple of different sours on the homebrewing level. We intend on having a separate one barrel brewing system for sours that will be entirely separated from our main 3.5 barrel system. We need to do this to ensure that the wild yeast strains used for our sour beers do not infect the equipment used for all our other beers as while sours are a special world of wonderful beers, nonetheless the flavor characteristics (sour, tart, acidic, barnyard, horse blankety) imparted by wild yeast strains really don’t work for, say, Hop-Bearer IPA or Pegboy Pils.

The main sour ale we will offer is Brookie’s Sour Brown, my attempt at a Flanders Brown Ale (aka Oud Bruin). One of the best beers I’ve ever had is Liefman’s Goudenband, a wonderful blend of sweet & sour with rich toasted malt sweetness coupled with an elegant sour flavor in the finish. That beer is the inspiration for Brookie’s Sour Brown.

As wild yeast strains take a long time to ferment beer Belgian brewers usually let their sour ales age for upwards of two or three years and often blend old (two or three year old) batches with “young” (one year old) batches. We won’t really have the luxury of that much time for aging Brookie’s Sour Brown, rather I plan on aging it for around six months (and not blending it). In my experience using the Wyeast Lobs Roeselare Ale Blend that’s enough time for a nice/somewhat restrained sour character to develop. There’s a good chance we’ll use wooden barrels to age it in, as well.

Meanwhile for the past 19 months I’ve had a lambic, a pomegranate lambic no less, slowly fermenting away. A full yet smooth, dare I say it sublime sour character has slowly developed with this the old batch. Then in February I brewed the young batch to which I added a gallon of organic pomegranate juice last week. Next weekend I’m going to blend the two batches together with another infusion of pomegranate juice. I’m quite hopeful that POMEGLAMBIC will turn out to be quite a successful experiment! Pomeglambic will be offered at an upcoming Parched Eagle investor relations party. And who knows? Maybe a few years down the line it will be brewed on our one barrel sour system!

Op uw gezondheid!

Jim

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