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The Rare Barrel
 
January 18, 2018 | The Rare Barrel

SF Beer Week is Coming! Sneak Peek Into What's Going On at The Rare Barrel

NorCal vs. SoCal  Showdown  & Cellar Bottle Sale

Saturday, February 10th, 1PM - 10PM @ The Rare Barrel

NorCal vs SoCal Showdown
Which region’s beer reigns supreme…NorCal or SoCal? This friendly competition will pit 10 NorCal breweries up against 10 SoCal breweries and  let our guests vote on their favorite beers . Participating breweries will be matched up with a brewery from the opposing region depending on style. Guests will be asked to blind taste by style and cast votes on which beer they like better (not knowing who brewed what). The region with the most points at the end of the day will be announced victor. Winners will not only be able to brag about which region makes better beer but be able to put an end to the long standing debates on who makes a better burrito, if "hella" is a legitimate word, and if it is ever appropriate to put the word "The" in front of a freeway name. Well, at least for the next year.
 
UPDATE
So who won?  NORCAL WINS! Check out each category and what was served below.
 
STYLE MATCH-UP NORCAL SOCAL
Non-fruited tart saison
Saison Bernice | Sante Adairius Rustic Ales | pink
Mellona | Cellador Ales | orange
spiced saison
Apropos of Nothing | The Rare Barrel | green
La Vie En Rose |Pure Project | yellow
stone fruit sour
Stone Hearted  |Alvarado St : Yeast of Eden | red
Careful With That Aprium, Eugene |Beachwood Blendery | blue
fruited sour
Compunction | Russian River Brewing Company | green
Highbinder | Societe Brewing Company | yellow 
spirit barrel aged sour
4th Anniversary Sour | The Rare Barrel | red
Black and Blue BBLs | The Bruery | blue
blonde ale Lite Idea | Temescal Brewing | green
Refresh | Highland Park Brewery | yellow
hazy pale ale Moonage Daydream | Cellarmaker Brewing Co. | pink We Bought A Bench | Green Cheek Beer Company | orange
IPA Turok Juice | Cellarmaker Brewing Co. | green

That's It | Highland Park Brewery | yellow

hazy IPA Tiny Umbrella | Humble Sea Brewing Co. | red Two Thousands of Money | Pure Project | blue
west coast DIPA Hop Soup | Faction Brewing | pink Noble Ale Works | orange
hazy DIPA From Yakina With Love | Cellarmaker & Moonraker | pink Always in Love | Green Cheek Beer Company | orange
imperial stout Narwhal | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. | red Night Rider | Pizza Port Brewing | blue
barrel aged stout Eclipse Elijah-Craig | Fiftyfifty Brewing | green Devil's Teeth Cuvee (Rum & Rye) | Modern Times Beer | yellow
Cellar Bottle Sale 
We’ve been cellaring bottles from every bottle release since our very first bottling run of Skus Me back in 2013. We’ll have about 10 different bottles from our cellar available for purchase to go! This will be our first and biggest cellar sale of this scale, but quantities will still be limited and bottles will be sold on a first come first served basis. We’ll post more details about this on social media as we get closer to the event.
 
Real Smoked BBQ is bringing a massive smoker to our parking lot again and will dishing up some amazing BBQ for this weekend. Come hungry and thirsty!

Cellarmaker Sunday - Tangerang Bottle Release + Growler Fills

Sunday, February 11th, 1PM - 8PM @ The Rare Barrel

We get so excited hanging with our buds from Cellarmaker Brewing Company. The creative juices start flowing and we put our heads together to come up with some new (and old favorites) collaborative brews. This year we are sharing 3 beers with y’all! What makes this year’s party more special than years past? We bottled Tangerang!
 
Yes, that’s right, for the first time ever you can take Tangerang! bottles home with you, and on top of that for 1 day only we will be filling any clean 32oz and 64oz growler brought in with one of the other Cellarmaker collaboration beers. There are just a few requests we need to ask prior to bringing in your growlers to this Cellarmaker + The Rare Barrel event.
 
  • Growlers must be a marked 32oz or 64oz growlers with a lid
  • Please tape over any logo that is not The Rare Barrel logo
  • Please clean your growler prior to attending this event
Stay tuned for more details to come on pricing, limits, and draft styles.
 
Looking for grub? Real Smoked BBQ will be hanging out Sunday as well to fill bellies with tasty BBQ dishes!

pH1 Beer Dinner (ticketed event)

Wednesday, February 14th @ The Rare Barrel

pH1 is the name of a barrel. Crafted from French oak in 1990, she’s traveled from brewery to brewery, positively shaping every beer she touches.
 
pH1 is an idea. The idea is that there is one barrel that’s better than the rest. She’s better than the rest because she is the perfect home for the perfect mix of yeast and bacteria.
 
pH1 is the original rare barrel, whose story inspired us to search for that perfect barrel with the perfect mix of yeast and bacteria.  
 
We will be exploring pH1’s influence on sour beer and showcasing some of the fruits of her labor throughout this beer dinner. Our intention is for guests to enjoy the destination as much as we have enjoyed her journey. Check out the details below.
 
Seatings | Each seating is intended to provide a more intimate dining experience for you to enjoy the beer, food, and shared company.
Seating 1 | 5PM - 7PM
Seating 2 | 8PM - 10PM
 
Ticket Price & What’s Included | $175 + tax (includes gratuity)
Each ticket will include a 5 courses paired with 5 sours including a serving of The Rare Barrel’s bottled release pH1. In addition to the beer dinner, each attendee will receive 1 bottle of pH1 to take home. This is a single barrel release with less than 200 bottles in existence. This will be the only chance to take home a bottle of this limited beer since bottles of pH1 will not be sold and will likely only be available for special events. 
 
How to Purchase | Click here to enter the 24 hour lottery at 9AM Pacific on Wednesday, January 24th.
Due to the limited amount of tickets per seating we will be holding a lottery for tickets. This lottery will be open to the public and sold through our shop page. Please see details on lottery entry below.
  • 1 entry per person, duplicates will be removed
  • No entries will be accepted after the lottery closes
  • Entry does not guarantee your ticket
  • 32 lottery winners will be randomly selected and contacted by 12PM Pacific on Thursday, January 25th.
  • Winners will be required to purchase their ticket within 24 hours in order to secure their seat.

Central Coast Showcase & Benefit

Thursday, February 15th, 4PM - 10PM @ The Rare Barrel

A lot has been going on in the Central Coast outside of brewing some phenomenal beers. Much of our state has been victim to devastating fire and flood, most recently Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties. However, we find ways to persist, support each other, and continue to produce awesome beer! Join us on Thursday, February 15th to get a taste of the Central Coast and raise money to help our California neighbors.
 
In addition to a variety of our beer that will be on tap, we will be showcasing 10 beers from some of our friends in the Central Coast. $2 from every guest beer sold will be donated to the Thomas Fire and Flood Fund in order to help those that were affected. Check our what breweries we will be showcasing for this event below.
 
Buellton, CA
Santa Barbara, CA
Oxnard, CA
San Luis Obispo, CA
Buellton, CA
Paso Robles, CA
Ventura, CA
 
Come for beers and stay for dinner. The Tasting Room & Kitchen will be in full swing and dishin’ up some awesome food to enjoy with these tasty brews.

Sour Vibez Music Festival

Friday, February 16th, 4PM - 10PM @ The Rare Barrel

We’re putting out the vibe, the sour vibez. Come move to the groove, tap your toes, and enjoy the musical tunes from various local artists!
 
We are excited to celebrate our music program by bringing back all of the artists who have played our 2nd Friday series to present the Sour Vibez Music Festival! It'll be 5+ hours of live music, including our featured band Sharkmouth. Sour Vibez will showcase a variety of sounds, from folk to soul and all the genres in between. PLUS The Rare Barrel's very own Alex Wallash, as the loser of our fantasy football league, will kick off the evening with some ukelele tunes.
 
Check out the line up below for a full night of music at The Rare Barrel.
 
Music By…
Sharkmouth
Token Girl
Ash Powell (with Rob Dietrich and Emily Studden)
Justin Cohen
Rick Hardin
Natalie Smith
and Tall Alex
 
Come for the music, sip on some sours, we’ll also have a few non-sour guest brews on from friends, and enjoy some grub from our kitchen.

Celebrating Women in Beer

Saturday, February 18th, 1 - 10PM @ The Rare Barrel

We are throwing a party to celebrate all of the women in beer that continue to help this industry grow and thrive. Outside of the variety of our beer that will be on draft, we will have beers from 14 breweries that were founded and/or have Head Brewers that are women. To further empower women in beer, we are donating $2 from every guest beer sold to the Pink Boots Society, a non-profit organization that assists to advance careers for women beer industry professionals by raising money for educational opportunities.
 
Check our what breweries (and some of the women behind making awesome beer) we will be showcasing for this event below.
 
Richmond, CA
Alex Zobel - Co-Founder & Brewer
Los Angeles, CA 
Devon Randall - Head Brewer
Portland, OR 
Natalie Baldwin - Brewer
Los Angeles, CA 
Ting Su - Co-Founder
Alameda, CA
Claudia Davis - Co-Founder
Redwood City, CA
Alisha Blue - Head Brewer
McMinnville, OR 
Lisa Allen - Head Brewer
Austin, TX 
Averie Swanson - Head Brewer
San Francisco, CA 
Regan Long - Co-Founder & Brewmaster
Sarah Fenson - Co-Founder
Kihei, HI 
Kim Lutz - Brewmaster
Fort Collins, DE
Kim Jordan -  Co-Founder
Lauren Limbach - Wood Cellar Manager
Capitola, CA
Adair Paterno - Co-Founder
Torrance, CA 
Laurie Porter - Co-Founder
Inglewood, CA
Lynn Weaver - Founder
Alex Nowel - Brewmaster
We will also have a food truck on site to fill your bellies with tasty grub throughout the day.

Sunday Brunch

Sunday, February 19th, 11 - 5PM @ The Rare Barrel

If you like mimosas but don’t want to commit to champagne, then you are in for a treat! We will be serving beermosas and 2 other brunch cocktail inspired sours during Sunday Brunch at our Tasting Room & Kitchen. We are adjusting our hours from 11AM to 5PM so that you can wind down from a fun and busy SF Beer Week by enjoying a beermosa and some of our brunch-inspired dishes from our kitchen. If you weren’t able to try any of the beer from our events during the week or want to get another chance to grab a glass of something that was offered during one of these events, Sunday Brunch will be your last chance to try some of these amazing guest beers. We’re not sure what will be on tap yet but our draft list will be updated on site throughout the day.

Off-site Events

Sours from The Rare Barrel can also be enjoyed at the following events: SFBW Opening Gala (2/9), Sour Sunday at Jupiter (2/11), SARA’s Friends at Sante Adairius Santa Cruz Portal (2/11),  Homies night with Alvarado St, Cellarmaker, Sante Adairius, and The Rare Barrel at Toronado (2/12)
 
Enjoy an epic Beer Week and see y’all in the Tasting Room!

 

The Rare Barrel
 
December 20, 2017 | The Rare Barrel

Terminal Acidic Shock and Sour Ale Bottle Conditioning

Here at The Rare Barrel we bottle condition all of our bottled beers. While bottle conditioning can be a little more challenging that force carbonation, we believe that this is an important step for creating the best flavor profile.  In short, bottle conditioning means that we add a simple sugar (Dextrose) and new dry yeast to a beer before packaging. And then we wait… A new fermentation occurs in the bottle to carbonate it, this also adds a richness and body that we are fond of.
 
Unfortunately, most yeasts do not perform optimally at a very low pH or at a high alcohol content. In the past we, along with other breweries that bottle condition sour beers, have had issues with inconsistent and under carbonated conditioning results. Even experiencing batches where carbonation nearly completely fails. This is obviously an incredibly disappointing incident, we love the beer we make and we want you to experience the best presentation of our beer.  As Quality Manager, I wanted to help overcome this issue. After doing a bit of research on yeast shock and speaking with a few breweries, we created a protocol to improve consistency in carbonation and bottle conditioning.
 

What is Terminal Acidic Shock (or TAS)?

Terminal Acidic Shock refers to the death or dormancy of Saccharomyces cerevisiae during fermentation in a high acidity and high ethanol content environment (Rogers et.al.) To combat this many breweries will temper a yeast addition slurry with a portion of the beer to be carbonated. This allows the yeast to slowly adjust to the severe conditions and have a few generations of growth within a few steps to increase the productivity once pitched into the beer and bottled.
 

The Experiment

To test different mediums and processes I created an experiment where I took the dry yeast and hydrated it with a sugar solution.  A few different types of low sugar content solutions were tested in this experiment including wort and varying sugar water concentrations. After adding the same amount of yeast to every sugar solution I allowed 2 days for some growth and fermentation. I then added a 50:50 solution of more low sugar solution and sour beer and waited another 2 days. I then tested cell viability and density as will as pH and gravity changes. I concluded that a 2 degree Plato water and dextrose with nutrient added yielded the healthiest yeast at the end of the beer tempering. The slurry was then added to a small bottling run. I also compared this experimental slurry to a control of just day-of rehydrated dry yeast which was our current method of yeast preparation. I concluded that the tempering increased yeast health and decreased conditioning time (tested by yeast viability and pH/gravity changes).
*QA/QC Manager Jenna Blair counting cells of Saccharamyces and Brettanomyces mixed cultures under a microscope.
 

Our New Procedure

We now boil dextrose and water with a small amount of yeast nutrient to a vessel cool to an optimized fermentation temperature, add yeast and allow for 24 hours of fermentation, then add a 50% 2 Plato sugar water and 50% beer solution the day before bottling and count the yeast each day during tempering in order to assure the yeast we pitch is healthy. On bottling day we add sugar to the beer which is calculated based on the desired CO2 volumes and then count the slurry of tempered yeast and pitch by weight for a goal of 2 million cells/ml. This may seem like a lot as it is far over what would be recommended for a pale ale but for sour/barrel aged beers even with the tempering 1.5-3 mil cells/ml is recommended.
*Weighing dextrose before adding to boiling water.
 
Scaling this experiment up to our needs was interesting, anyone who we had known that had tried anything like this had small enough bottling runs where the liquid and yeast additions could all be contained in a small flask! We adopted the procedure to yeast brinks converted from full half barrel kegs and eventually into our 5 barrel fermenter for our largest bottling batches.
* Top Photo: Cellar Technicians weigh dry yeast that will NOT be added to the dextrose mixture to ensure that the yeast added is not contaminated.
 
Bottom Photo: Yeast starter after dry yeast has been added to the dextrose mixture prior to transfering to a brink 24 hours before bottling day.
 
Though not without challenges we have experienced favorable results with this procedure. We have seen shorter carbonation times as well as more bottle to bottle consistency. We are however continuously tweaking the procedure. We plan to play with different liquid addition volumes and sugar water to beer rations as well as pitch rates. Our goal is first and foremost to make good beer, we get to accomplish this by continuing research and experimentation not only in fermentation and blending but also by conducting experiments that can streamline process and improve the quality of our product.
 
Consistency and predictability are often regarded as some of the pillars in beer quality assurance and control. Sour beer is a beast that refuses to be controlled but with continuous experimentation we are enthusiastically working towards higher caliber beers.
 
If you have any questions, feel free to comment below.
 
Jenna Blair
QA/QC Manager

 
Rogers, C. M., Veatch, D., Covey, A., Staton, C., & Bochman, M. L. (2016). Terminal acidic shock inhibits sour beer bottle conditioning by Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Food Microbiology,57, 151-158. doi:10.1016/j.fm.2016.02.012

 

Time Posted: Dec 20, 2017 at 9:00 AM
The Rare Barrel
 
October 18, 2017 | The Rare Barrel

Dry-hopped! Changing process leads to bottling

Here at The Rare Barrel, our process for dry hopping has changed significantly over the last few years. In the beginning we added the hops directly into each of the barrels of the blend and let the beer sit on the hops for two weeks. We then shifted to racking the full blend into a conical tank and adding the hops to the tank as most breweries would typically dry-hop a beer however, we were not ever completely satisfied with the hop expression resulting from this process.We felt there had to be a different way to extract better hop aroma and flavor. With this in mind, we were curious if there was an effect from the lower pH of these beers compared to that of clean hoppy beers, so we decided to alter our process again.
 
Our cellar is full of barrels with a range of characteristics, including higher and lower pHs, so to to see if we could get better character from dry-hopping beers with a higher pH (less sour), we tried out dry-hopping two barrels with pH readings around 4.0pH with the total amount of hops for a four oak barrel blend. After about a week we racked in two, more assertively sour barrels, bringing the pH of the blend down to around 3.5pH.
 
This first beer trialing this new process was our 2017 blend of Tangerang! a collaboration beer with Cellarmaker Brewing that we make every year for San Francisco Beer Week. We were very happy with the results of this blend, so we began discussing bottling a beer produced with this new process, we even test bottled about a case of this year’s blend of Tangerang! Early on we had some concern that the hop character would fade before the beer was ready to be released due to our bottle conditioning process. We currently re-ferment in the bottle with a wine yeast which we give at least 8 weeks to complete before release. After test bottling this blend of Tangerang! (and enjoying many hoppy mixed culture beers from other breweries) we are now more confident that the brettanomyces in our mixed cultures will preserve and enhance the hop character over time.
 
Due to their early success, we are excited to track the development of these bottles over time. It has been very interesting to compare how bottle conditioned hop character transforms with age when compared to force carbonated kegs. We will still continue to fine tune our process, in search of the best dry-hopped sour beer, but we can’t wait to release bottles of what we have been working on.
 
Stephan Noori
Inventory & Barrel Manager

 

Time Posted: Oct 18, 2017 at 11:45 AM
The Rare Barrel
 
July 7, 2017 | The Rare Barrel

The Art of Blending

Blending is at the core of what we do at The Rare Barrel. When we blend, we are combining different barrels to create a beer that either has characteristics that we would like to showcase on its own or that can support fruit. These barrels can showcase various fermentation profiles and/or malt bills. In our blog “Balancing Act” we discussed what we call “cellar balance.” A balanced cellar is what allows us to effectively blend toward the goal we have in mind. Each beer we release is a unique blend, individually conceived to both suit the ingredients being added, as well as the targets we have in mind for the beer.
 
 
Our blends are constantly evolving based on the characteristics of our cellar. In an effort to continue learning and improving our beers, we are always manipulating variables in our process. As such, each bottle of ours is a representation of a particular point in time in our progression. Consequently, no two vintages of a brand are completely the same.
 
Blending has evolved from blending together relatively homogeneous batches (in terms of fermentation) to more complex blends that bring together barrels with many different characteristics. Our earlier batches were simple fermentations (i.e. 1 brett strain, 1 lacto strain) that produced clean, lactic beers (both in terms of yeast character, as well as acidity). We have since greatly altered our process in search of a wider range of characteristics.
 
The wide range of attributes for potential barrels to use in a blend include: age, bitterness (both hop and perceived), gravity, acidity (both pH and general perception thereof), aromatics, and flavor. For example, in an effort to fine-tune the acid level of a blend, our blends currently contain anywhere from 25-50% sour barrels. The other 50-75% is comprised of barrels with a range of positive characteristics (such as brett or oak character), but would not be considered sour or even tart on their own. Although blending is approached on a blend by blend basis, whether or not the final blend will have fruit will have a big impact on how we craft the blend.
 
 
One consideration that impacts how we construct blends has to do fruit refermentation time. Fruited blends require 2-3 months after fruiting before transferring for packaging. This extra time before packaging allows us to include a small proportion of younger beer (3-4 months old) in the blend. The younger portion of the blend has more healthy and active yeast, which helps with the fruit refermentation. We have noticed more diacetyl blooms in barrels when using certain fruits (mostly berries such as blueberry, blackberry, and pomegranate). A healthier refermentation can help speed up the diacetyl clean up.
 
Another major consideration when constructing fruit blends is the acidity of the fruit being added. More acidic fruits such as raspberries and passion fruit require a less sour base to balance the fruit’s acidity. Although the fruit is the focal point of these blends, we still aim to bring together a blend that supports and enhances the fruit character.
 
 
Currently, we are blending the base beers for two fruited brands that we have released multiple vintages of: Map of the Sun and Ensorcelled. The previous blends for each of these beers became more sour over time as our blending stock became more sour. For the upcoming blends we are consciously aiming for a more balanced acid profile. We are pulling from barrels with a much wider array of fermentation profiles and acid levels. In addition to bringing the acid level into balance, we are also attempting to blend bases that are complementary to the fruits we are adding. For Map of the Sun, that involves bringing barrels in with interesting Brett aroma and flavor that might have been absent from prior blends. With Ensorcelled, we made adjustments to the malt bill to enhance the rich, chocolatey flavors in the base. We are excited to see how these turn out, but also look forward to future adjustments that can make for a better blend.
 
Non-fruited blends, such as our Forces Unseen series and Across the Sea, allow us to showcase barrels that have delicate, but highly desirable characteristics. The character we found to be exceptional in these barrels might have gotten lost behind a heavily fruited blend. In any barrel program, certain barrels will inevitably stand out and it is hard not to keep them aside for the perfect occasion. These non-fruited blends are that perfect occasion to let these exceptional barrels express themselves. Although we also have a soft spot for fruit forward sours, these non-fruited blends are the blends we really get excited about.
 
Our beer and approach/process are constantly evolving. Our blends are a representation of the characteristics of our cellar as a whole at a given time. Consequently, the way we blend now is different from the way we blended in the past and will likely be different from the we way we will blend in the future. Although it is gratifying to look back at this progression, we are always looking forward to how we can make the next beer better.  
 
Feel free ask any questions in the comments below. 
 
Stephan Noori
Barrel Inventory Coordinator

 

Time Posted: Jul 7, 2017 at 8:39 AM
The Rare Barrel
 
April 13, 2017 | The Rare Barrel

Balancing Act | Approaching Barrel Cellar Balance at The Rare Barrel

It is important to have a diversity of beer in our cellar to blend beers from. This diversity comes into play in different ways: when blending 3 - 4 oak barrels together for draft-only experiments a single barrel can have a significant impact on the final beer; yet, when we blend some of our larger releases we take a wider viewpoint to examine batch specific attributes (a “batch” is a single brew session, and typically results in about 14-15 oak barrels). Over the last year, cellar diversification has become a focal point amongst our production team. My intention with this blog post is to  give a glimpse of what variables we are currently taking into account when designing our sour blending beer, and where you can expect us to go in the future.
 

“Cellar Balance”

We talk a lot about “cellar balance” at The Rare Barrel, but what that means can be a bit elusive. On the most basic level, “cellar balance” means that we have groups of barrels with different characteristics, allowing us to blend for new as well as previously released brands. For example, if we are making a stone-fruit beer like Map of the Sun (our golden sour with apricots), we will blend toward a drier base beer that can reinforce or accentuate the apricot; but if we are making a beer like Home Sour Home (our golden sour with peaches, cinnamon and vanilla bean) we will seek out a beer that will have a pie-crust character. Both beers will use gold stock as their base, but because we have over 700 oak barrels of gold beer to choose from, we can play up certain attributes through barrel selection.
 
To conceptualize cellar balance, we tend to think of our barreled beers in loose, informal categories. Perhaps the most basic category is beer color. Since opening, The Rare Barrel has made four core “colors” of wort -- gold, red, dark, and black -- that are associated with four of our “core” brands -- Forces Unseen, Another World, Shadows of Their Eyes, and Ensorcelled. The majority of our beers use our gold base malt recipe, so 85% of what we brew is gold wort; we do, however,  brew our red, dark, and black base malt recipes throughout the year to have beer of different ages on hand for blending.
 
A few of the other prominent categories we consider when discussing cellar balance are acidity level, aromatics, age, dryness, and bitterness, all will be discussed further below.
 

Diversifying the Cellar

So, how do we create “cellar balance”? Let’s go through some of the variables that we use to diversify our barrel cellar.
 
Microbes: Perhaps no variable is more impactful on our beers than the microbes we use. Many of our early beers were fermented with a blend of Brettanomyces var. Drei and Lactobacillus Delbrueckii, but as we have continued to seek out new and different fermentation profiles we have vastly expanded our yeast and bacteria catalogue.  Currently we use yeast from many of the major brewing traditions (Belgian, French, American, British), and are continuing to explore the range of Brettanomyces available to commercial breweries. Oftentimes we will split our gold base wort into two fermenters, each with different yeast and bacteria. (Right now we have our gold recipe in one fermenter with a DuPont & Brett Blend and the other with Omega C2C Yeast.) If you’re interested in reading more on how we select and use yeast and bacteria at The Rare Barrel, check out our blog post (An Overview of Fermentation at The Rare Barrel).
 
Inoculation Timing: In addition to selecting different inoculants, another variable we tweak is the timing of when a beer might see either Brettanomyces and/or souring bacteria. Phenolic expressive (POF+) strains of Saccharomyces will leave compounds in the beer that some strains of Brettanomyces can later transform into some really delicious and unique flavors and aromas (one commonly discussed pathway is the transformation of the clovey 4-vinyl guaiacol found in hefeweizen to the funky or “horsey” 4-ethyl guaiacol). If the beer is inoculated with Brettanomyces alongside Saccharomyces, less of these compounds will be available for transformation, and the result is typically cleaner. Bacteria tends to grow at a faster rate than yeast, and can also diminish some of the flavors and aromatics created by yeast. Adding bacteria early in fermentation (when sugar is still available) will result in accelerated acid development at the expense of depth and complexity; adding it after both Saccharomyces and Brettanomyces have taken their turns results in less acidity, a generally longer timeline, but a more complex and nuanced beer. (Note too that most brewing bacteria are inhibited to varying degrees by hops, so that is another variable to attend to.)
 
Hops: We joke that hops were once a four letter word at The Rare Barrel, but through experimentation they’ve made their importance known and are now included in every batch we brew. Hops inhibit the growth of gram-positive bacteria (like Lactobacillus and Pediococcus), so they are a powerful tool in tempering acidity. We’ve found that even with a fairly robust hot-side hopping rate (~25 IBU), our house-adapted bacteria cultures will still produce acidity. Hops have aided our attempts to create more nuanced blends of sour beer, and we are excited to expand our exploration to include a wider range of varietals.
 
Malt Bill: Responding to patterns that we notice across numerous batches, at times we have tweaked our base recipes by swapping out or adjusting the percentages of particular grains. In recent batches of our black wort recipe, for example, we’ve subbed out American crystal malt for British crystal malt -- we’ve found that in our beers the British crystal results in a richer maltiness, while American crystal tends to be drier, grainy, and has a single-note sweetness. Right now we are in the process of updating our red recipe with the goal of drawing out more intense berry flavors.
 
Barrel History and Preparation: Oak is a porous material, and as all of our beers rest for 4 - 16 months in barrels, microbes penetrate and find a home in the wood of the barrel. When barreling down fresh beer, we consider what the previous tenant of that barrel might bring to the table. If we think that the resident microbes will be a good fit for the beer going in, we will either rack directly atop of the yeast and bacteria slurry, or we will lightly rinse the barrel with cold water and then rack in. If we wish to temper the impact of the previous beer on the new batch, we will use a high pressure gamma-jet to rinse the barrel with ozonated water, and then steam the barrel. Steaming will knock back the microbes for a while, but we’ve found that there is no way to entirely obliterate the impact of previous barrel residents.
 
Non-Sour Beer: Although we have been “All Sour Since 2012,” we do have beer in our cellar that is *gasp* not sour. Typically these are Saccharomyces / Brettanomyces beers that have gone into ozonated barrels. These beers have been a great tool as we look to draw back the acidity of some of our beers and to layer in a wider range of flavor and aromatics. These non-sour beers are created just as blending components and continue to impact the range of sour beer that we are able to blend--we have no intentions to release them on their own.
 
Although we talk of the goal of a having a “balanced” cellar, the effects of our efforts can take from 4 - 12 months to fully develop. Balancing really is a continual and reactive process.
 
Post up any questions and I’ll do my best to respond in a timely fashion.
 
Aaron Wittman
Research & Development Coordinator

 

Time Posted: Apr 13, 2017 at 9:00 AM
The Rare Barrel
 
March 22, 2017 | The Rare Barrel

Solidarity Forever | Collaboration Draft Release with The Pink Boots Society

Release Party - Friday, March 31st at The Rare Barrel

Much like the old saying goes “it takes a village to raise a baby”, it takes a variety of people in a community to realize a common vision. The Rare Barrel and the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter of the Pink Boots Society, organizations that have strong focuses on education, creativity, engagement, and equality, wanted to work together to actualize these common values. To promote solidarity in a community (comprised of brewers, sales representatives, bartenders, lab analysts, writers, etc.) through a creative process that inspires a desire to learn, active participation, and encourages communication.
 
On March 2nd, The Rare Barrel hosted over 20 members of the Pink Boots Society, from various backgrounds in the SF Bay Area craft beer industry, for a collaborative blending day. By working directly with The Rare Barrel production team and sampling suggested base beer blends, participants were able to have an open dialogue surrounding the differences in the samples as well as The Rare Barrel’s practices in wort production, fermentation, and blending in sour beer production. After tasting the 2 suggested samples, each woman recorded notes on the differences between the two blends and then submitted a ballot for which one they preferred. After ballots were collected and a base beer was finalized, the Boots then broke up into 5 small groups and worked together to mix various tinctures into a carbonated sample of the selected base beer.
 
(photo credit : Gail Ann Williams)
 
An open exchange of ideas was hosted online prior to the blending day with suggestions from both Pink Boots Society members as well as The Rare Barrel on ingredients that would be interesting to trial. All 5 teams had access to trial ingredients such as papaya, tamarind, lemongrass, ginger, and rose petals in their carbonated samples. Each team’s potential blend was presented to the entire group. Every individual then tasted and ranked each sample from 1 - 5 (5 being the most favorable). Below is the recipe that resulted in this collaborative blending day.
 
YEAST BACTERIA ADDITIONS ABV pH

Barrel 1: English Ale Yeast, Gigayeast French Saison, The Yeast Bay Saison Blend, Brettanomyces lambicus

Barrel 2: Gigayeast Saison Blend, Brettanomyces bruxellensis,

Barrel 3: English Ale Yeast, Brettanomyces claussenii, Brettanomyces bruxellensis

Barrel 4: The Yeast Bay Dry Belgian, Wallonian Farmhouse, NE Abbey Ale, Brettanomyces bruxellensis var. Drei

Barrel 1: Lactobacillus buchneri, Pediococcus damnosus

Barrel 2: Belgian mixed culture

Barrel 3 Belgian mixed culture

Barrel 4: Lactobacillus delbrueckii, Pediococcus damnosus

Coriander - 2.5 lbs / oak brl

Chamomile - 3 lbs. / oak brl

Rose Buds & Petals - 3 lbs / oak brl

 

6.1% 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.29

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oldest Beer in blend:12/21/2015
Youngest Beer in blend: 5/10/2016
 
  
(photo credit: Brittany Hobbs - Alvarado St Brewing Company, Assistant Brewer)
 
The result wasn’t just a new sour beer blend, but an exchange of information, ideas, and perspectives among not only the women involved but also between the Pink Boots Society and The Rare Barrel. It was an open space that empowered each individual to ask questions as well as provide input. It was a democratic process of working together to accomplish a common goal. It was a unifying experience, an experience of solidarity forever.
 
On Friday, March 31st at 4PM in the The Rare Barrel Tasting Room, we will be releasing on draft Solidarity Forever, a golden sour beer aged in oak barrels with rose petals, chamomile, and coriander. We will also be serving some guest beers from 8 breweries (shown below) that also have SF Bay Area Pink Boots members. Join us in the Tasting Room to raise a glass in solidarity, celebrate this collaborative release, and support the importance of education, creativity, engagement, and equality.
 
Alvarado St Brewing (Monterey, CA) | Mai Thai PA - IPA
Drake’s Brewing Company (San Leandro, CA) | Hopocalypse - Triple IPA
Fieldwork Brewing Company (Berkeley, CA) | Eastside Motel - Double IPA
Firestone Walker Brewing Company (Paso Robles, CA) | Hoppy Pilsner
Seabright Brewery (Santa Cruz, CA) | Nectar of Ishtar (PBS Big Boots Brew) - Honey Wheat Ale
Shanty Shack Brewing (Santa Cruz, CA) | Liquid Luck - IPA
Sierra Nevada Brewing Company (Chico, CA) | Narwhal - Imperial Stout
21st Amendment Brewery (San Francisco, CA) | Hell or High Watermelon - Wheat Beer w/Watermelon
 
What is even more special about this event is that for 1 day only we will be filling any clean 32oz and 64oz growler brought in with Solidarity Forever. There are just a few requests we need to ask prior to bringing in your growlers to this collaboration release event.
 
  • Growlers must be a marked 32oz or 64oz growlers with a lid
  • Please tape over any logo that is not The Rare Barrel logo
  • Please clean your growler prior to attending this event
* The Pink Boots Society is a non-profit organization that assists to advance careers for women beer industry professionals by raising money for educational scholarships. They provide scholarship opportunities to members for conferences, seminars, and courses put on by the MBAA, Seibel Institute, American Brewer’s Guild, and many more. To further support the Pink Boots Society, The Rare Barrel will donate all proceeds from every glass of draft sold for this release event on March 31st, and $1 from every glass sold through the Tasting Room after the release, back to the organization to promote the importance of furthering beer education.
The Rare Barrel
 
March 15, 2017 | The Rare Barrel

For the love of Saison!

Allagash Saison Day at The Rare Barrel | Saturday, April 8th @ 1PM

Get ready to raise a glass of saison with us. We are more than honored to be hosting Allagash’s Fourth Annual Saison Day on Saturday, April 8th in our Tasting Room! Starting at 1PM, Jason Perkins, Brewmaster at Allagash Brewing, and Jay Goodwin from The Rare Barrel, will be hanging out and celebrating their love for saison. Join in on the fun, we will have 18 different saisons on draft from 11 breweries listed below.
 
 

Allagash Brewing Company

Saison | a Maine interpretation of a classic Belgian Farmhouse-style ale.
2016 Interlude | ale aged in red wine barrels with Brettanomyces
Astrid | ale aged in Aquavit barrels
Dawnlander | amber saison ale
 

Cellarmaker Brewing Company

Lost Wisdom | old world style saison
 

Fieldwork Brewing Company

Calypso | farmhouse ale
Textbook | modern farmhouse ale
 

Gilman Brewing Company

Maison de Campagne | rustic French-style saison
 

Half Moon Bay Brewing

HMB Saison | Chardonnay barrel-aged saison
 

HenHouse Brewing

Mandarina on My Mind | Single Hop saison
Fowl Play 4: Live Fowl or Die Hard | Barrel-aged Biere de Garde
 

Libertine Brewing Company

Halter Saison | collaboration with Halter Ranch Vineyards, wine barrel-aged saison co-fermented with Picpoul Blanc grapes
Edna | dry-hopped table saison
 

Marin Brewing Company

Trois Fleurs | Hoppy Farmhouse-style ale
 

Sante Adairius Rustic Ales

Lucybelle | saison with Brettanomyces
 

Temescal Brewing

Little by Little | saison
 

The Rare Barrel

Bygone | tart saison aged in oak barrels
Roads Diverge | tart saison aged in oak barrels
 
Tacos El Rey will also be celebrating with us and dishing up some tacos, burritos, and quesadillas to fill your bellies.
 
For the love of saison… come thirsty, and hungry, and ready to cheers to this time-honored style of beer.
 
We will be updating this blog with more details as Saison Day approaches.
The Rare Barrel
 
January 10, 2017 | The Rare Barrel

SFBW 2017 | Events at The Rare Barrel

SF Beer Week is right around the corner! Here is a look at our schedule of events that we’re hosting...

The Reunion | The Bruery, Societe Brewing Co. & The Rare Barrel

Saturday, February 11th, 1PM - 10PM @ The Rare Barrel

The Bruery, Societe Brewing Company, and The Rare Barrel will all be under the same roof for our 3rd reunion event. Patrick from The Bruery, Doug from Societe, and Jay from The Rare Barrel all use to work at The Bruery together and they will be hanging out for a few hours with some friends during this epic event. Each brewery will be serving 5 beers for you to try at the Tasting Room starting at 1PM. We’ll have 3 bars set up inside of the brewery to ensure the best experience for ya!
 
Real Smoked BBQ is bringing a massive smoker to our parking lot again and will dishing up some amazing BBQ for this weekend. Come hungry and thirsty!
 

Cellarmaker + The Rare Barrel = Collaboration Release Party

Sunday, February 12th, 1PM - 8PM @ The Rare Barrel

The brains of sour and dank put their heads together to release not 1, not 2, but 3 collaboration beers this year. What is even more special about this release party is that for 1 day only we will be filling any clean 32oz and 64oz growler brought in for all 3 collaboration beers. There are just a few requests we need to ask prior to bringing in your growlers to this Cellarmaker + The Rare Barrel event.
 
  • Growlers must be a marked 32oz or 64oz growlers with a lid
  • Please tape over any logo that is not The Rare Barrel logo
  • Please clean your growler prior to attending this event
So what are these collaboration beers? Check them out below!
 
Tangerang! - golden sour beer aged in oak barrels and dry-hopped with Citra and Motueka
Smashin’ Fruit - a blend of a hoppy pale ale and a golden sour beer aged in oak barrels with passion fruit
Wagon Trix - a blend of Cellarmaker porter with The Rare Barrel golden sour beer aged in oak barrels with blackberries
 
Looking for grub? Real Smoked BBQ will be hanging out Sunday as well to fill bellies with tasty BBQ dishes!
 

Jester King Brewery Guest Tap Takeover

Wednesday, February 15th, 7:30PM - 10PM @ The Rare Barrel

Looking for some some amazing beers from an authentic farmhouse brewery based in Austin, Texas? Jester King Brewery will be in house for a guest tap takeover! Jeffrey Stuffings and Averie Swanson will also be hanging out for a bit to chat about their philosophy behind producing mixed culture and spontaneous beer. Below are a few of the beers that will be available for this event.
 
SPON - Methode Gueuze, 100% spontaneously fermented beer (limited amount available)
Atrial Rubicite - Barrel-Aged Sour Beer Refermented w/ Raspberries
Buddha’s Brew - Barrel-Fermented Sour Wheat Beer w/ Kombucha
Figlet - Farmhouse Ale Fermented w/ Smoked Texas Figs
Super Ultramega Hyperforce - Intergalactic Farmhouse Ale Brewed w/ Ginger, Salt, & Tarragon & Refermented w/ Cantaloupe
 
If you are hungry… Javi’s Cooking will be on site serving tasty Argentine empanadas baked fresh daily with local ingredients.
 

Trillium Brewing Guest Tap Takeover

Thursday, February 16th, 4PM - 10PM @ The Rare Barrel

Mark your calendars! We are excited to announce that we will be hosting a guest tap takeover with Trillium Brewing Company. We will have 6 different Trillium beers on our guest taps. Check out some of what we will have on draft below.  
 
Congress Street - IPA
Dialed In w/ Chardonnay & Gewürztraminer Juice - DIPA
Fort Point - Pale Ale
And more...
 
We will also have The Lumpia Company on site if you you all get hungry.
 

Wicked Weed Brewing + The Rare Barrel Collaboration Release | Happy Blending

Friday, February 17th, 4PM - 10PM @ The Rare Barrel

Wicked Weed Brewing and The Rare Barrel combined forces of sour and funk to bottle and release Happy Blending, a barrel-aged American sour ale fermented with plum and nectarine.
 
The blenders from both Wicked Weed and The Rare Barrel traveled to each others breweries to select from each other's barrel collection. The combination of these beers were then fermented with nectarines and plums to create a sour beer representative of each barrel house.
 
Enjoy Happy Blending on draft as well as in bottle for on-site consumption only. We will also have various Wicked Weed beers available on our guest taps too! Here is a look at some of what will be offered. 
 
Happy Blending - Barrel-Aged American Sour Ale Fermented w/ Plum & Nectarine
White Angel - Barrel-Aged American Sour Ale Fermented w/ Muscadine Grapes
Permeo - Barrel-Aged American Sour Ale Fermented w/ Passion fruit & Lychee
Lunatic Lager - Belgian Blonde
French Toast - Imperial Stout Brewed w/ Cinnamon, Vanilla, and Maple Syrup
And more ...
 
Tacos El Rey food truck will also be on site from 5 - 9PM dishing up tacos, burritos, and tortas!
 

The Rare Barrel Cellar Day

Saturday, February 18th, 1 - 10PM @ The Rare Barrel

We are bringing back a few of our past releases for you to try in our Tasting Room for one day only! We will have over 18 sours on tap and 7 bottles to try in house. Below is the list of what will be available on premise in bottles and on draft.
 
Bottles (On premise consumption)
SKUs Me ‘13 - Golden Sour Beer Aged in Oak Barrels
Cosmic Dust ‘14  - Golden Sour Beer Aged in Oak Barrels w/ Hibiscus
Feed The Monster ‘15 - Golden Sour Beer Aged in Oak Barrels w/ Blueberries
Impossible Soul ‘15 - Golden Sour Beer Aged in Oak Barrels w/ Tart Cherries & Sweet Cherries
Map of the Moon ‘ 16 - Golden Sour Beer Aged in Oak Barrels w/ Tons of Apricots
No Salt ‘16 - Golden Sour Beer Aged in Tequila Barrels
Quite Something ‘16 - Golden Sour Beer Aged in Bordeaux Wine Barrels
Wise Guise ‘16 - Red Sour Beer Aged in Oak Barrels w/ Raspberries
 
On Draft
Across the Sea ‘14 - Golden Sour Beer Aged in Oak Barrels w/ Coriander & Sea Salt
Dubious Nights ‘15 - Dark Sour Beer Aged in Tequila Barrels
Map of the Sun ‘15 - Golden Sour Beer Aged in Oak Barrels w/ Apricots
3rd Anniversary ‘16 - Golden Sour Beer Aged in Gin Barrels w/ Lemon Peel & Lavender
Afterlight ‘16 - Dark Sour Beer Aged in Bordeaux Wine Barrels
Barrel P9T (2016 The Rare Barrel) - Single barrel of golden sour beer
Forces Unseen ‘16 - Blend of Golden Sour Beer Aged in Oak Barrels
Gifted Branch ‘16 - Golden Sour Beer Aged in Oak Barrels w/ Peaches & Apricots
Pricklish ‘16 - Golden Sour Beer Aged in Oak Barrels w/ Prickly Pear
Shadows of Their Eyes ‘16 - Dark Sour Beer Aged in Oak Barrels
Soliloquy ‘16 - Golden Sour Beer Aged in Oak Barrels w/ Rose Hips & Orange Peel
Sourtooth Tiger ‘16 - Golden Sour Beer Aged in Oak Barrels w/ Ginger
Apropos of Nothing ‘17 - Golden Sour Beer Aged in Oak Barrels w/ Elderberries & Lavender
Roads Diverge ‘17 - Blended Tart Saison Aged in Oak Barrels
Happy Blending ‘17 (Collaboration w/ Wicked Weed Brewing) - Barrel-Aged American Sour Ale Fermented w/ Plum & Nectarine
And More...
 
Bottles To Go
Soliloquy '16 - Golden Sour Beer Aged in Oak Barrels w/ Rose Hips & Orange Peel (limit 12) 
Sourtooth Tiger '16 - Golden Sour Beer Aged in Oak Barrels w/ Ginger (limit 12) 
Shadows of Their Eyes '16 -  Dark Sour Beer Aged in Oak Barrels (limit 12) 
Wise Guise '16 - Red Sour Beer Aged in Oak Barrels w/ Raspberreis limit 12
 
Interested in what our sour beer tastes like before we package it? We will have a limited amount of  flights of 3 barrel samples available in the Tasting Room for this event. These barrel samples will showcase the variety of beer that we are aging in our barrel cellar. Each barrel sample is served uncarbonated and at room temperature, just like how our blenders taste through barrels in production.  A tasting glass and poster are included with each barrel sample flight.
 
Curveball Sliders will also be on site to dish up some tasty burgers.
    

The Afterparty

Sunday, February, 1 - 8PM @ The Rare Barrel

Were you not able to try any of the beer from our events during the week? Or, do you want to get another chance to grab a glass of something the we offered during one of these events? Stop by the Tasting Room for our SFBW Afterparty. We will be serving beers from throughout the week all day. We’re not sure what amazing beers will be on tap yet, but our draft list will be updated on site throughout the day!   
 

Sours from The Rare Barrel can also be enjoyed at the following events: SFBW Opening Gala (2/10), United Sours of America at Monk’s Kettle (2/11), Sour Sunday at Jupiter (2/12), Cellarmaker Presents: A Night of Metal and Beer at Amnesia Beer & Music Hall (2/12), and Save The Whales Almanac Sour Fest (2/16).
 
Enjoy an epic Beer Week and see y’all in the Tasting Room!
The Rare Barrel
 
December 20, 2016 | The Rare Barrel

An Overview on Fermentation at The Rare Barrel

Hello internet! As the Research & Development Coordinator at The Rare Barrel, my role is to track our beer from the day it is brewed until it is packaged, ensuring that barrels are harvested at the correct point and that we always have beer to blend, fruit, or package. I also aid in blending, and work to develop new approaches and procure different yeast, bacteria, and secondary additions for our sour beers. I’ll provide a brief intro to what fermentation is, how we procure the yeast and bacteria to make our sour beer, how we attend to the different stages of sour beer fermentation, and how we use fermentation to carbonate our beers.
 

What is fermentation?

Beer fermentation is all about yeast and bacteria converting grain-derived starches and sugars into alcohol, CO2, and other flavorful and aromatic compounds, including acids. Different yeast and bacteria perform this task uniquely, and the species and health of the organisms greatly affect the end product. A primary difference between sour beer and clean beer is the use of bacteria in this fermentation process. Bacteria such as Lactobacillus and Pediococcus are able to convert starches that yeast cannot, and a byproduct of these conversions are a bulk of the acids that make our beer sour.
 

Yeast and bacteria and where we get them

 

The Rare Barrel is unique in the number of different yeast and bacteria that we use. In addition to using single strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae from many diverse brewing traditions (Belgian, French, English, American, etc.), we also use a wide variety of Brettanomyces yeast (claussenii, brux drei, lambicus, anomala, brux, etc.), Lactobacillus (brevis, delbrueckii), and Pediococcus (damnosus). Like most commercial breweries, we procure most of our microbes from commercial yeast labs (we work with several). At times we will pull barrels we like from our cellar and use those as inoculants. Occasionally we will get a pitch of yeast from another local brewery (yeast can get pretty expensive, and swapping yeast is a relatively common practice in the brewing industry). We also have a few cultures that have been grown up from the dregs at the bottom of some of our favorite commercial bottles. Propagation from bottles is done in a very homebrew fashion, where we carefully “decant” (and drink) the beer sitting atop the dregs, and add a small amount of sterile wort to the bottle. We then gradually step this up into a 5 gallon carboy, then a 15 gallon brink, our 5 BBL project fermenter, and then into a 30 BBL batch.
 
There are a number of different ways that we approve microbes for production, and there are no hard-and-fast rules here. Jay draws on his experience at The Bruery, and his four years guiding the program at The Rare Barrel. A number of us in production are avid homebrewers, and have extensive experience with many different strains and conditions, so we definitely have opinions. Additionally, we have a “menagerie” of about twenty different microbe blends at The Rare Barrel, kept in flasks and carboys with our wort. Tasting and evaluating these samples in a democratic fashion drives some of our decisions as to what should be trialed at a larger scale.
 

Scaling up! Stages of fermentation at The Rare Barrel

 

While we have done a few experiments with primary fermentation in barrels, we start nearly all of our fermentations in our stainless conical tanks. It varies whether primary fermentation will be performed by a single strain of Saccharomyces, multiple Saccharomyces strains, a blend of Saccharomyces and Brettanomyces, or a full mixed culture with numerous strains of Saccharomyces, Brettanomyces and bacterias. Our wort is produced off-site, transported in stainless totes to our facility, and then pumped into our fermenters past an oxygenation stone. Active fermentation produces a fair amount of heat, and depending on the yeast we may decide to control fermentation temperature with the glycol jackets, or to simply let the temperature “free rise.” Fermentation temperature plays a very important role in driving different alcohols and esters, phenols, and other precursors for biotransformation during secondary fermentation.
 
After primary fermentation subsides (about a week or so), we will transfer the beer to oak barrels. Sometimes we will add an additional inoculant to the beer prior to racking out of the tank; in other cases we will rack onto a slurry of yeast and bacteria from past batches; and in others we will rack without further amendation into rinsed, steamed and ozoned barrels. This decision is typically made by looking at our “cellar balance” and deciding where the project fits -- whether it is intended to be a portion of a particular blend or brand, or if we are just adding to the variety of our blending stock.
 
 
After the beer is in barrels, we monitor and wait. I guess we’d call this the “secondary fermentation” phase, where the microbes that function on longer timelines (typically Brettanomyces and the bacterias) are doing most of the work, and the beer is gradually souring. We track gravity and pH on most of our batches on a monthly basis, although some get tested weekly to ensure all is well. We are getting pretty good at predicting when a particular batch will be ready to harvest and either fruit or blend for a final product. If the beer receives a sugary secondary ingredient (fruit, for instance), it will be returned to the barrel with a shot of fresh yeast for another round of fermentation, where we monitor and wait once again.
 

Fermentation also occurs during our bottle conditioning process

 
 
While we “force carb” our draft beers in a brite tank using a CO2 stone, all of our bottled beers are naturally carbonated in the bottle. This means (you guessed it) more fermentation! Prior to bottling, it is essential that all active fermentation processes have come to completion, and the beer is absolutely stable with no residual sugars remaining. To carbonate our bottled beer, we add a calculated solution of dextrose and a yeast--just enough to add the level of carbonation that we target. If there were any sugars remaining in the beer, carbonation would increase potentially leading to gushers or even bottle-bombs. We are extremely cautious with packaging, and it is not unusual to delay bottling if we notice an anomaly.
 
After bottling, we allow the beer to rest and re-ferment for a minimum of 9 weeks before it is put up for sale. We have weekly check-ins on the progress of the conditioning, and will delay a release if we notice anything out of the ordinary. Bottle conditioning is a fermentation process, so the beer does go through some of the same phases that we notice in primary fermentation, although because dextrose is such a simple sugar it is consumed at an increased rate.
 
Our beers continue to evolve in the bottle even after they are a packaged. The yeast and bacteria that were present in primary and secondary stages of fermentation--especially Brettanomyces and Pediococcus--remain active and continue to slowly transform the more difficult to digest starches, creating new flavors, aromas and textures. While bottles are certainly ready to drink when we release them, they are a living product and change over time.
 
I hope this provides an interesting glimpse into how we think about the various stages of fermentation at The Rare Barrel. Post up any comments you might have and I’ll be glad to follow up on any questions!
 
Stay Sour!
 
Aaron M. Wittman
R&D Coordinator
 

 

Time Posted: Dec 20, 2016 at 8:00 AM
The Rare Barrel
 
November 8, 2016 | The Rare Barrel

Crowd-sourced Collaboration Between Yazoo Brewing Company and The Rare Barrel

We're excited to announce that Brandon Jones​ of Yazoo Brewing Company​ is teaming up with us to work on what we're calling a "Crowd-Sourced Sour" collaboration!! That means we're opening every part of the process to share with the public, mainly through The Sour Hour and Milk The Funk​!

Brandon will be on The Brewing Network's The Sour Hour tomorrow (Wednesday) at 5 PM PST and we'll definitely be chatting about this project along with drinking some of his latest creations.

Our main goal with this project is to drive discussion of sour beer making techniques and philosophies. From brew day, to fermentation and aging, and all the way through packaging, you'll be able to not only follow the process with unprecedented access, but actually be able to influence the final outcome of the beer! We know this beer will be a Logistical Nightmare (<-- good beer name!), but the value of collaborating in this manner is to learn from the diverse opinions and knowledge of the sour beer community, pro brewers and home brewers alike!

For more details, you can follow this on @YazooBrew, @TheRareBarrel, @embracethefunk, Milk The Funk, and The Sour Hour by searching #SourCollab!
 
 

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