About one year after announcing the founding of The Rare Barrel, we have finally brewed our first full batch of beer! It is happily fermenting away in our 30 barrel fermentation tank as we speak. We’re very excited and proud to share what we have in store for this inaugural brew.
Batch #1 will be a 3-year old golden sour beer blended like a Belgian Gueuze but fermented using our choice of cultured yeast and bacteria. Three years from now, we will blend Batch #1 with a 1-year old and a 2-year old golden sour to create our Batch #1 blend. It’s worth noting that we are not trying to make a true Gueuze (by definition, Gueuze can only be made in Belgium and must be spontaneously fermented), but instead we are trying to create a fascinating flavor profile that comes from their blending techniques.
Image: Spent grain from Batch #1
Our company is heavily inspired by the talented Gueuze blenders of Belgium. In addition to blending beer, many of these Gueuze blenders procure wort (or beer) in a similar manner to us. Some blenders will pick up spontaneously inoculated wort from Lambic brewers and bring it back to their barrel warehouse to fill their barrels. Similarly, we bring back sterile wort (but not beer) to our barrel warehouse, and we inoculate the wort with cultured yeast and bacteria in our fermentation tank. For Batch #1, it seemed fitting to start fermentation with a strain of Brettanomyces from Drei Fontenien, one of these amazing Belgian Gueuze blenders headed by Armand Debelder.
Image: Jay with Armand Debelder of Drei Fonteinen
Batch #1 will be blended with batches brewed one year and two years from today, to create a blended golden sour beer. The first part of this blend (already brewed to be aged for 3 years) will start by aging with Brett for several months. Once the desired level of attenuation and flavor development has been achieved, we’ll be adding pediococcus bacteria cultures to the beer with a little bit of fresh wort. This will add complexity to the flavor of this beer as well as give the Brett an addition of new fermentable sugar and some bacteria to keep them company.
The second and third parts of the blend are still up for consideration. Will we continue with the same fermentation track as Batch #1? It’s hard to say. We will have to taste it in one year to see how the flavor has developed which will largely determine the plan for the second and third parts of the blend.
Image: Alex and Jay pitching Brett from barrels
2016. Until then, sit back, relax and enjoy some sour beer!