Waterloo, our first endeavor into wild, sour beers, was a huge success. We just served up the final batch of Waterloo and it will make a national appearance in Denver at this year’s Great American Beer Festival. I learned a lot through the sour mashing techniques used to give Waterloo its distinctly tart, funky flavor, and these lessons learned were used in our final wild Summer beer — Rebellious Dockhand. For the latest beer in the “Dockhand Series,” we take the base ingredients from Recalcitrant Dockhand, sour the mash, and then add raspberry puree to make one of the most unique beers coming out of the co-op’s brewery. Rebellious Dockhand has strong raspberry flavor and aroma on top of roasty, complex maltiness. The wild sourness is more subtle in this beer compared to Waterloo. The sourness is meant to enhance the raspberries and provide a tart, refreshing Summer beer, but with depth and earthiness that make Rebellious more than just another fruit beer!
Additionally, to provide higher quality in our beers, we are now treating each batch with a “fining product” that helps settle out the yeast quicker and provide a clean, brite beer. A lot of breweries can filter out their yeast as a final step before serving. If too much yeast is left in the beer, it can dominate the flavors and tend to prohibit the subtleties of the malts and hops from coming through as brightly. Therefore, it’s common to either settle out the yeast over a longer period of time, remove the yeast with a coarse filter, or speed the settling of the yeast with a fining product. The most common and effective fining product is isinglass, which is a form of collagen derived from dried fish bladders. The isinglass grabs the yeast and settles down to the bottom of the tank where we then pull the beer off of the top of the yeast bed. Virtually no isinglass makes it into the final product, but instead, you get a beautiful, clean tasting beer! We are investigating other, synthetic fining agents to preserve the vegan-ness of our house beers and hope to quickly find a quality product that is comparable to our current fining agent. (Note: obviously this isn’t done for beers that are supposed to have a yeast presence like hefe-weizens and witbiers).
Cervezas Artesanal, Part 1
2 days ago