What Is Sour Beer? – As its name suggests, sour beer has a distinct sour, acidic or tart taste. Essentially, “sour beer” refers to any beer that tastes especially acidic and lively. By including fruits like raspberry, cherry and peach, sour beers can create the perfect balance of sweet and sour flavors.
- Unlike other beers, sour beers use wild bacteria and yeast during the brewing process to achieve a tart, crisp flavor.
- The microbes most commonly used to create sour beer are the bacteria Lactobacillus and Pediococcus, while Brettanomyces is often used to add acidity.
- Adding fruit can also give sour beer a more tart taste thanks to the organic acids found in most fruits, such as citric acid.
The wild organisms used to sour beer can bring a wide range of flavors from intensely sour to light and fruity to downright funky. More well-known types of beers use specific yeast strains in a sterile environment to maintain tight control over the brewing process and produce more familiar flavors.
- 1 Do sour beers taste good?
- 2 Are sour beers bitter?
- 3 Why do people like sour beer?
- 4 What is the white stuff in sour beer?
- 5 Do sour beers last longer?
- 6 When did sour beer became popular?
- 7 How do you serve sour beer?
- 8 Are sour beers better for you?
- 9 What does it mean if my beer is sour?
Do sour beers taste good?
WHY IS SOUR BEER MORE EXPENSIVE THAN OTHER STYLES OF BEER? – The process of making quality sour beer isn’t cheap! While most styles of ale can be made in less than a month using basic brewing equipment, sour beer can take significantly longer to produce – up to three years in some cases – and requires huge investment in specialty equipment.
Storage of sour beer requires large warehouse spaces in which to house the beer during the aging process. Additional costs such as barrels, racks, blending tanks, cellar staff, and ingredients all add significant costs to making sour beer that traditional non-sour breweries don’t incur. The tradeoff, however, is that sour beer can achieve a level of uniqueness and complexity that few other beer styles can match.
Experiencing the sophisticated flavors and aromas found in sour beer can be a revelation to the uninitiated. In fact, sour ales are often considered the finest beers produced in the world.
Do sour beers taste like vinegar?
Berliner Weisse vs. Gose: Understanding Sour Beers Sour beers have grown in popularity over the past few years with more breweries devoting more time and resources to creating these styles. Sour beer is a subset category within the larger grouping of “wild beers.” Wild beer is generally used to describe sour or funky beers made using unusual yeast strains, or by exposing the wort to unusual environmental conditions after boiling or before cooling. What is Berliner Weisse and what does it taste like? Berliner Weisse is a sour, wheat ale that originates from Berlin, Germany. This beer was historically brewed with lactic acid producing bacterial strain Lactobacillus brevis, which gives it its signature sour flavor.
- Berliner can be considered the first Berliner Weisse and was brewed in 1809 by Johann Gottlieb Benjamin, leaving Potsdam and arriving in Berlin as a brewer.
- The original beer he made didn’t have much in common with how we would recognize it today though.
- It was more of a “Weiß-Bier” or white beer that didn’t have many of the characteristics to be associated with modern-day Berliner Weisse.
But what is most important is that this beer was the first to use Lactobacillus, which brought about the beginning of another style — Gose! Berliners were dubbed The Champagne of the North by Napoleon as they were crisp, dry and refreshing like champagne is.
Also, there is a tradition to serve Berliner Weiss “Mit Schuss”, which means with syrup. They would serve these beers with Raspberry or Woodruff syrups to balance out the tartness, and that tradition lives on currently at the Oast as we serve Vivod with syrups made from Quinstock Farms. The evolution of Mit Schuss turned to fruited styles of Berliner Weisse which is where we are going in 2023.
Starting with our next brew of Vivod, we are turning it from a base Berliner Weisse to a seasonally Fruited Berliner Weisse. This will be draft-only in the taproom. What is Gose and what does it taste like? Gose beer is a light, low alcohol-content beer that was originally brewed in Goslar, Saxony.
- Gose beer is typically characterized by an acid taste and a spice accent due to added coriander seeds and salt.
- The acidity of this beer can be perceived differently by various people.
- Some use the term “sour” when talking about it, others use the word “tangy” or “slight” instead.
- Does this mean Gose beer isn’t sour? No, it means that Gose beer has less of a sour taste than lemonade or other sour drinks.
What is the difference between Berliner Weisse and Gose? Before we get into the differences and how they’re made, it’s important to understand what sour beers are. Sour beers are fermented with Corynebacterium and Lactobacillus. This creates an acidic taste with fruity flavors like pears and apricots. The Berliner Weisse and Gose are both sour beers, but they’re different in some important ways. Berliner Weisse is a wheat beer that’s typically brewed with lactic acid bacteria. It’s light in color and has a very low alcohol content, usually between 2% and 3%.
The flavor can be described as sour, but not necessarily bitter or salty. Gose is also a wheat beer, but it’s brewed with salt instead of lactic acid bacteria. Gose has more hops than Berliner Weisse, which makes it taste more bitter and salty than its counterpart. The purpose of adding salt to beer is to enhance its flavor by pulling out more aromatics from ingredients.
The salt works in conjunction with the lactic acid present to invigorate more flavors into your beer. How to enjoy a sour beer The best way to enjoy a sour beer is by pairing it with food! Sour beers pair well with salty foods like pretzels or chips, as well as sweet foods like chocolate or fruit pizza.
- You can also try pairing your sour beer with different types of cheese-the tartness will cut through the fat in cheese and make for an interesting combination! Sour beers are a great way to explore the world of beer.
- They’re tart, refreshing and often have a unique fruity flavor that you can’t get anywhere else.
If you’re new to sour beers, here are some tips on how to enjoy them:
Berliner Weisse or Gose is the perfect beginner sour beer. These beers are generally low in alcohol and very low in bitterness, so they’re easy to drink. They also tend to be more refreshing than other sour styles like Lambics or Gueuzes. Don’t be afraid of the bubbles! Sour beers usually contain lots of carbonation-that’s part of what makes them so tart-so don’t worry about over-carbonated beer when you’re drinking them; it’s supposed to be like that! Don’t be afraid of the flavors! While some people may find the taste of sour beers off-putting at first, there are many different styles out there for you to try that may end up being your favorite kind.
So, there you have it, just a taste of what sour beers can be like. We hope that this will inspire you to take the plunge and explore these interesting brews. One of the best ways to figure out what you like and don’t like is to try as many varieties as possible, but remember, always drink in moderation! : Berliner Weisse vs. Gose: Understanding Sour Beers
Are sour beers bitter?
Why are they so popular? – Because they’re so unexpected—and they often attract a whole new set of drinkers. Tradish beers balance sweetness and bitterness. But sour beers drink more like white wines, balancing acidity and sweetness. Whenever I talk to a friend who “doesn’t like beer,” but drinks a lot of wine, I give them a sour beer—and they’re always shocked that beer can taste this way.
Why do people like sour beer?
Why Are Sour Beers So Popular in 2022? — Iowa Brewing Company When you think of beer, sour beers probably aren’t the first thing that comes to mind. But sour beers are actually one of the most popular styles right now, and there’s a good reason for that.
They’re delicious! And there are so many different types of sour beers available, there’s bound to be one you love. In this post, we’ll take a look at why sour beers are so popular today and why they’re so unique. But first, what is a sour beer? Sour beers acquire their fun flavor from a unique brewing process that uses wild bacteria and yeast.
Whereas other types of beer, such as IPAs, use controlled yeast strains to produce more familiar flavors. All of these bacteria eat sugar like traditional brewer’s yeast, but their production of lactic and acetic acids cannot be replicated by the controlled strains of yeast. Science aside, after years of experimenting and sharing tactics, many brewers have now perfected the processes to produce enough of the sours brew to keep up with growing demand. Across breweries that produce it, is quickly outselling other forms of craft beer like pilsner, stout and lager, with sales second only to IPAs for most breweries.
- Because it offers beer lovers something new to try and appeals to those who don’t consider themselves beer drinkers, sour beer has become a craze.
- Sour beer is comparable to wine in its method of preparation — both are blended and can be aged in oak barrels — and in the way it balances its sweetness with acidity.
Many sour drinkers find the tasty beverages more approachable than traditional beers because they’re lower in alcohol content and therefore less filling. They also tend to sell better during the hot and humid summer months when other types of dark beer are considered too heavy to drink.
While most sour beers finish between 3%-5% alcohol by volume (ABV), some can be as high as 8%-9% or as low as 2%. The ABV of a sour depends heavily on the style of sour and the individual beer’s brewing conditions. Because sour beer generally has a lower ABV compared to others on tap, most sour beers can be considered a session beer.
This includes any beer that is lower in ABV and high in refreshment, so you can enjoy multiple in a single sitting. With the fruited sour scene exploding over the last several years, brewers are pushing the boundaries of their creativity to come up with new exciting, unique recipes to keep drinkers coming back.
Why do Belgian beers taste weird?
We’ve noticed an anomaly in the statistics of our viewers on the Craft Beer Channel. As expected, the countries famous for their beer make up our biggest audiences; the US and UK are far and away our biggest fans, followed by Australia and Germany. All the big beer nations, right? No.
In fact, the country with the arguably richest brewing tradition in the world isn’t even in our top 10. So we’ve had to face the facts – Belgium hates us. We think we know why. All the foundations that craft beer was built upon – traditional methods, a focus on quality and an independent outlook – have always been there in Belgium.
They never went through the decades of wilderness from the ‘70s onwards that most countries did – a time when most beer was either soda water or dishwater – unless they drank Stella through them, in which case they had a very different, very blurry kind of wilderness.
Belgium is responsible for some of the most important beer styles and traditions in the world – some vital, some silly. They are the barons of barrel aging, putting many of their beers in wooden casks to age with fruits; they show the world that 9% beer shouldn’t be downed from a tinnie and a brown paper bag, but from a chalice to be slowly supped in the sun.
However, they also occasionally demand one of your shoes as a deposit for a litre glass of beer. Seriously. But what makes Belgian beer so special is that even an amateur beer enthusiast can pick a Belgian beer out from any other. Whether it’s a pale ale, a dubbel, a fruit beer or a golden ale, Belgian beers taste unique, and that’s down to one thing: yeast.
- Belgian yeast comes in lots of forms, but it all has a floral, sweet kind of edge to it that’s completely in contrast to the crisp, bitter stuff used in most beers.
- In fact, as beer becomes more and more of an art around the world, people are realising that the yeast is just as important as any other ingredient in the beer.
When it eats the sugars from the barley it leaves more than alcohol behind – along with carbon dioxide it leaves more chemicals which can taste and smell delicious or, sometimes, goddamn awful. More and more I see beer aficionados arguing about the best strains, the fruity “esters”, funky “phenols” coming off them, and their uses in different styles.
- But in Belgian styles it’s much more important than in any other beer, because Belgians aren’t really down with the hop thing.
- They find other ways of making aromas.
- They use herbs, fruits and old fusty hops that smell like carpet.
- But mostly they use beautiful yeasts, all with their own distinctive smell and taste, and all unique to Belgium.
And that means it’s in big demand. Some breweries keep their yeast close to their chests (usually a sign of infection, but not in this case) while others sell their strains or trade them. Of course, some breweries use wild yeast, which is in the very air we breath, that simply falls into their open tanks – that yeast is pretty hard to share.
So it may seem obvious to say, but the best Belgian beer is still made in Belgium, brewed for drinkers who only remember good beer, in tanks older than the people who drink it, using recipes older than the tanks that brew them, invented by monks who seem as old as the religion they follow. You can’t argue with that kind of heritage.
So here’s three beers born of Belgian yeast and giving it new life today: Orval (5.2% Belgian pale ale) This is one of the most famous Belgian beers and with good reason. It’s light and drinkable, but hugely complicated – the kind of trick every brewer wants to pull off. Orval pours a bright, clouded amber and has a lightly hopped, spicy aroma that’s a signature of all Belgian pales.
- But the difference is that Orval is made with brettanomyces, a super funky yeast that adds a sour tang to beer.
- It’s only subtle, but it just lightens the beer and balances the sweetness of the malt to make a really refreshing, but still complex beer.
- Westmalle Dubbel (7% dubbel) Dubbels take their name from the fact that the brewer uses double the amount of malt, to ramp up the alcohol.
So dubbels are dark, malty beers that are loaded with dates, raisin and cinnamon-like aromas, but this one has an extra banana-like smell that makes it a little lighter. The aroma of banana always comes from the yeast, and is most famous in German wheat beers where it is sometimes the overriding flavour too. St. Bernadus Blanche (5.5% wit bier) St. Bernadus are most famous for being a former brewer of Westvleteren 12. They used to brew under the St Sixtus name, which is the brewery behind the world-famous and rare-as-hell Westvleteren quadruple beer. That agreement ended in 1992, but they still brew beer to a similar recipe and they are damned good at doing it.
This wit, too, is one of Belgium’s finest. It was developed in partnership with Pierre Celis, the masterbrewer of Hoegaarden. You may not like that beer (and let’s face it, the glasses are ridiculous) but this one is a brighter amber with lots of spices and floral aromas, along with plenty of sweetness from the wheat.
It’s got a full, treacle-like feel in the mouth and just a touch of hops and spice over the apple, banana and pear-like yeast. For more countries from Jamie’s Foodie World Cup, click here,
What is the white stuff in sour beer?
Sediment In Beer: To Drink It Or Not To Drink It? Have you ever poured a beer or examined a bottle and noticed a cloudy layer of sediments floating around? Well, sediments in beer can occur due to plenty of reasons. Call it flakies, floaties, yeasties or sediment, they are primarily composed of protein particles resulting from the brewing process.
- Let’s find out more about why these sediments appear inside a beer can or bottle in the first place and if they are safe for consumption.
- Sediments are primarily yeast and protein particles floating around in a beer.
- Cloudy beer styles such as German Hefeweizen, New England IPA etc.
- Often tend to have substantial haze with particles swirling around.
This is due to the styles like these being unfiltered and have a solid layer of yeast at the bottom and hop particles in suspension. Let’s run through some of the common reasons that cause floaters or haze down below. Bottle conditioning is a process where a small amount of active yeast and simple sugars are added to the bottle prior to sealing it off. After the fermentation is complete, yeast cells clump together and drop to the bottom, eventually forming a thin cake. When the bottle is agitated, these particles are thrown back into the suspension and as a result we see these sediments. Bottle conditioned beers are safe for consumption and they are quite good.
Yeast, in some beer styles, also enhances the visual appearance. Aged beers are bottle conditioned as well and have yeast in suspension to ferment out any complex sugars which are present in a bottle. High gravity beer styles such as Barleywines, Imperial Stouts or any Barrel aged beers are ideally suitable for cellaring and at the time of packaging, they are dosed with yeast.
While we all agree that strong ales improve with age, this is not the case with many other beers. Yeast sediments in a bottle conditioned beer In styles where ageing isn’t appropriate, the liquid breaks down and proteins clump together and hop character diminishes over a certain period of time. Added to this, beer is oxidised and tastes stale or musty.
In this scenario, floaties tend to look like snowflakes. While this is only a cosmetic thing, these are safe to consume as well. Aggressively hopped beers like IPAs, New England IPAs or Double IPAs are charged with different intervals of hop doses from time to time. Dry hopping creates haze and over time, it releases tiny hop particles into the beer.
Hop particles are safe for consumption although some of the breweries filter these out. Hazy New England style IPAs stand unfiltered traditionally. A Hazy New England IPA Incase of a German Hefeweizen, Belgian Witbier, American Wheat or a hazy New England IPA, beers are naturally cloudy post fermentation and are traditionally served unfiltered. Unfiltered IPAs when dry hopped have a lot of polyphenols from hops which bond with proteins often creating ‘chill haze’. German Weissbier Poor sanitation or bacterial contamination can have floaters in them. Wild yeast and bacteria contaminate the beer and overwhelm the yeast that was already in the beer. Beers taste way off and undrinkable. This is an exception for some beer styles such as Lambics or wild fermented sour beers where contamination is intended during fermentation.
Yes, you can consume sediments without any issue! Sediments are not usually a negative trait. In fact, sediments are acceptable in many beer styles and are a natural cause. Even infected or spoiled beers are safe for consumption as well but they may not smell or taste great. As a rule of thumb, all the bottle-conditioned or unfiltered beers must be stored upright to let the sediments settle at the bottom.
: Sediment In Beer: To Drink It Or Not To Drink It?
Do sour beers last longer?
Beer is best fresh. There is little debate about this in the craft brewing community. However, some beers can be saved for a longer period of time, and others, such as bottle-conditioned beers, are actually designed to evolve in nuance and flavor over time.
- The question of “how long does beer last?” is a common refrain for the average beer drinker.
- With the proliferation of full-flavored beers in a kaleidoscope of styles, it is more important than ever for consumers to be aware of how old a beer is, as well as how long that particular beer can be enjoyed for best flavor.
Let’s take a look at some general practices that can help you make good decisions when considering your next beer purchase. When I buy a new beer, I do my best to check to see how old it is; if it’s older than two months, I rarely pull the trigger on a purchase.
- IPAs are best consumed fresh, ideally within a month of packaging, and preferably no older than three months.
- This is because the degradation of hops occurs rapidly.
- With the amount of IPAs available on the market, this is an almost impossible achievement on a regular basis.
- I often find IPAs on store shelves that are a year or more old – a tragedy of the highest degree.
Even so, a fresh-from-the-brewery-tap IPA is a vastly different experience than a month-old can of the same beer, so always try to experience that for a comparison. Many breweries do print a “packaged on” or “born on” date on their beers. While a nice idea, this information is only helpful to the beer drinkers that know two things: How to look for that information and what that date means for the beer itself,
More often than not, the dates are hidden underneath the can or printed in a miniscule font on dark bottle sides. Even if a consumer finds that information, they may not know what to do with that obscured series of numbers. Putting a “best by” date also shouldn’t be seen as an expiration date, as beer doesn’t technically spoil, it just becomes less tasty over time.
A beer past its ideal state can taste bad and turn off consumers from trying different beers from an otherwise great brewery – all because the beer was too old. Sünner Kolsch from Sünner Brauerei showcases its “best before” date via cut-outs on the back label. This example is best enjoyed before August of 2018. San Diego-based Stone Brewing Co, has found a unique solution to “best by” date concerns by releasing the “Enjoy By” series.
With its “enjoy by” date printed front and center as the name and focal point of each version’s label, a consumer knows exactly when this beer should be imbibed for best flavor. On the flip side, Stone also has an “Enjoy After” series of Brettanomyces-infused IPAs, which lets fans know that this wild IPA will continue to develop after purchase and also states when it would be best to open.
Other examples of breweries that offer “best by” or “best before” dates on their bottles include New Belgium Brewing Co. and Odell Brewing Co. With age often comes a variety of unflattering characteristics – much more than just flavor degradation. It can oxidize, creating a wet cardboard-like flavor.
Beers can also become ” skunked ” if left in the presence of direct light. Styles such as pale ales, light lagers, wheat beers and brown ales are best within 120 days of packaging, whereas darker, heavier beers, like stouts and porters, are good for up to 180 days. Styles such as barrel-aged beers, sour ales and imperial beers are much more robust and last longer on shelves.
Time helps mellow out big, boozy beers and can also help sour beers evolve, as the leftover souring elements can continue to evolve in a beer for years – creating fascinating new flavors. Blonde de l’Enfer, a Belgian Golden Strong Ale from Unibroue, has a printed “best before” date of 9-11-2022 on the side of the bottle. Belgian Golden Strong Ales are highly cellarable, hence the much longer lifespan of this brew. Barrel-aged beers are pulled from the barrels ready to drink, but one may age them for considerable periods of time for additional complexity.
- Belgium’s Cantillon, one of the world’s most renowned breweries, and several other Lambic producers will put “best by” dates on beers many years into the future, as they have sugars and yeast that continue fermentation with a full maturity after three years.
- Still, these statements vary in size and placement on the bottle, and they aren’t overly apparent to everyday drinkers.
For sour and multiple French- and Belgian-style beers, a brewery is likely to put a statement of how long a beer might continue to evolve. Goose Island Beer Co. prints “develops in the bottle for over five years” on bottles of some of its beers, such as Matilda and Lolita.
- One way around this clustered world of various “best by” and “packaged on” dates in beer is to create a standardized method of beer dating.
- Perhaps craft beer’s governing body, the Brewers Association, could take on this important task, as making a consistent process for breweries to label their beer would benefit the breweries themselves, as well as consumers at large.
Beers also need to have a uniform place where “best by” dates can be found, so that befuddled consumers don’t have to inspect every inch of a can’s surface or squint at the fine print on a bottle’s label. Until some sort of reform takes place on how to easily tell when a beer is best consumed, follow this simple rule of thumb: After you purchase a beer, drink it relatively quickly in order to get the most enjoyment out of its freshness.
When did sour beer became popular?
When Was the First Sour Beer Made? – The advent of brewing and drinking beer can be traced to around 4,000 B.C., when all beers were essentially sour beers. At this point, there were many naturally occurring bacteria present in beer, such as lactobacillus (also known as “sour milk bacteria”).
These living organisms (often called “bugs”) resided in the beer throughout the fermentation process, and their presence produced a sour or funky flavor. As refrigeration and pasteurization technologies evolved and became more prevalent in the mid-nineteenth century, sour beers virtually disappeared as lagers and ales came into prominence.
Since the 1970s, however, sours have become increasingly popular among beer drinkers around the world.
Where is sour beer popular?
Why Everyone Is Suddenly Obsessed With Sour Beer S our beer is the hottest cold drink of 2017. The funky brew is the latest niche offering to take off in a market obsessed with finding ever more obscure and complex beers. In recent years, craft beers have soared in popularity, with particular varieties, such as extremely hoppy IPAs, gaining a strong following among a cadre of beer drinkers, who increasingly view beer with the discernment, vocabulary and sophistication once reserved for wine.
- Portland’s introduced a peach sour beer last year and saw sales of the brew double this year, spurring the brewmaster John Harris to make a new batch every week rather than every other week.
- The soft flavor of peach found such a large following that the brewery decided to make the sour beer — typically seen as a summer drink — all year round.
“Thirty years ago we would have thrown these brews away, saying they were bad,” Harris says. “Now, we are purposely putting tanks in our breweries to sour beer. It’s the evolution of craft brewing now.” And it’s not just Portland. Sour beer has become a go-to for craft breweries across the country, as sales have spiked.
Just 45,000 cases of sour beer were sold in the U.S. in 2015, a figure that more than quintupled to over 245,000 cases in 2016 and is set to rise an additional 9% this year, according to Bart Watson, chief economist at, which supports the American craft beer industry. Sour beer is still dwarfed by better-known craft brews, such as IPAs, which sold 14.5 million cases last year.
But it’s become popular enough for major chains to take note. Whole Foods now carries sour beer from more than 150 different breweries, and beverage category manager Joe Kaulbach says sales are up 25% from 2016. Anhueser-Busch InBev, which makes Budweiser, also owns smaller breweries that make sour beer, including Long Island’s Blue Point Brewing Company.
- At MillerCoors, Blue Moon sometimes makes makes sours at its Denver brewery, but they’re just for visitors to try on tap and haven’t yet been packaged and sold.
- The taste of sour beer may be exotic to American palates, but the beer’s flavor actually dates back to the early days of brewing, when beer came only in an unpasteurized form, teeming with bacteria.
The drink gets its tart taste from bacteria like Lactobacillus and Pediococcus, which produce acids that cause it to sour. While sour beer’s flavor is old, American brewers have only learned how to safely produce it en masse over the past five years. Conventional beers are brewed with a single strain of yeast to yield the same taste in every batch.
- Sour beer, in contrast, uses a variety of bacteria and wild yeast, which can produce a different mix of flavors each time, ranging from spicy and leathery to fruity and floral.
- The process is tricky to perfect — one rogue microbe could potentially infect an already-sterilized beer, causing it to ferment further than intended.
Most American brewers avoided sours for fear of losing money on the fickle brew, says Matt Miller, 34, a home brewer since 2011 who will open a sour beer-focused brewery called Mellow Mink Brewing in Mechanicsburg, Pa. next year. After years of experimenting and sharing tactics, though, many brewers have now perfected the processes to produce enough of the brew to keep up with growing demand, Miller says.
- Across breweries that produce it, sour beer is quickly outselling other forms of craft beer like pilsner, stout and lager, with sales second only to IPAs, according to Miller and other beer makers.
- The science and research and communication that have now become available online has made a lot of the mysteries and questions of why things are less consistent easier to tackle,” Miller says.
“Brewers are learning to make sour beers so there’s less waste and better consistency of product.” Sour beer comes in many varieties, which have been refined over the decades in Germany and Belgium, where sour beer has long been popular. There’s the light and tart Lambic beer, the fruity Flanders brew, the sea salt and coriander-influenced Gose and the lemony wheat beer Berliner Weisse.
- In the U.S., beer makers often put an American twist on the traditional recipes, with the addition of fruit or other ingredients to draw out tart and sweet flavors.
- According to Dan Jansen, brewmaster at, sour beer has become a phenomenon because it gives beer fans something new to try, while also enticing people who don’t think of themselves as beer drinkers.
Sour beer is comparable to wine in its method of preparation — both are blended and can be aged in oak barrels — and in the way it balances sweetness with acidity. Much like wine, the drink also pairs well with the cheeses, meats and fruits you might find on a charcuterie board.
Do sour beers have milk?
What is lactose ? Why is it used in beer and what does it do? What makes it so popular these days? The use of lactose (milk sugar) in beer provides a couple desired outcomes:
The lactose used in the brewing process is not all converted to alcohol. Therefore, some trace amounts are left to provide a fuller body and mouthfeel in the final product.The Lactose that is left in the beer imparts sweet flavors desirable in the styles that it’s typically used in – stouts, sours, and some IPAs,
But why haven’t we seen lactose being used before and why is it all the rage now? Lactose was primarily first used in stouts. The stouts that used lactose were lower in ABV, and contained a different flavor profile. These stouts are mostly referred to as ‘Milk Stouts.’ The milk stout contains milk sugar (lactose) and offers up a much sweeter profile than, say, a Russian imperial stout,
How do you serve sour beer?
Cellaring and Serving Sour Beer As a brewery focused on both a taproom and a bottling program, we thought it would be beneficial to write about beer freshness and aging. Employees at Mellow Mink Brewing go to great lengths to ensure our draft beers are presented in the best possible manner. While we love to see our patrons drinking at our facility, Mellow Mink Brewing is all about having a good time. We encourage, responsibly, the drinking / sharing of our beer wherever you enjoy. Therefore, we offer growler fills in a variety of sizes for most of our beers.
- Growlers are available in both glass and stainless steel so that you can enjoy our beers wherever your travels may take you.
- When getting a growler filled, we recommend that you keep the beer cold and consume the contents of the growler within three days.
- When a growler is filled, the beer gets exposed to oxygen that will inevitably cause it to go stale faster than in would inside a keg.
Beer in a growler for a few days is okay, weeks is no good! If you would like to preserve our beer for longer than a couple days, our bottled beer can be cellared for long periods of time. Mellow Mink’s beers are naturally conditioned and contain a wide variety of both yeast and beneficial bacteria introduced throughout the brewing process.
- These mixed cultures keep the beer fresh for up to several years inside the bottle.
- We blend these beers so that they will taste great from the day a bottle leaves our taproom.
- But, we also appreciate the thought of you holding on to bottles to share with friends, celebrate a special occasion, or simply to enjoy later.
If you are cellaring bottles, we recommend the following:
Keep bottles in a cool, dark location. Exposure to light, heat, or a combination of the two is bad for beer regardless of the mixed cultures living inside them. If you prefer to maintain the flavor of a beer as close to our original blend as possible, we recommend that you keep the bottle refrigerated. If you enjoy letting the beer mature and change with time, we recommend cellaring between 45° and 55° F. Fruited beers tend to lose their impactful fruit flavors over time. Generally, our fruit beers will remain bright and fruity for anywhere from 6 months to a year from the bottle release. Beyond this timeframe, however, the beers are often still quite tasty, but their fruit flavors may fade.
Even sour and Brettanomyces beers have their limits. With test bottles we have produced over the years, we are comfortable suggesting that our bottles can be cellared for up to 3 years. After that time period, the beers may still taste pretty good, but will most likely be on the decline.
When you do decide to open one of our bottles. We have a few tips for serving that will help bring out the most in the beer: All of our bottles have a mixture of yeast and bacteria within the beer. When the bottles sit still for a while, these microbes will settle on the bottom of the bottle forming a layer of sediment.
To keep these dregs out of the glass, we recommend gently opening a bottle in the upright position. When pouring, gently tilt the bottle and pour each glass to be served without returning the bottle to a fully upright position. As you near the end of the bottle, leave the last half-inch of beer behind with the sediment.
This method achieves the same results as the bottle cradles we use in our taproom, allowing each glass to get a clear pour which will present the best possible flavor profile for a given beer. Check out the serving temperatures that we recommend on the back of the bottle. While most sour and farmhouse beers will taste great in a fairly wide range of temperatures, most of our blends are designed to be enjoyed between 45° and 55° F.
One of our favorite aspects of sour and farmhouse beers are the unique and complex aroma profiles that can be achieved. We recommend using glassware designed to showcase these aromas. Don’t fret if you don’t have the exact glasses pictured on our bottles, most shapes of Belgian beer glassware or wine stemware will do a great job! We hope that these suggestions are both helpful and interesting.
Are sour beers better for you?
Health Benefits – Sour beer health benefits also offer some surprising health benefits due to its high levels of probiotics and antioxidants. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that help support your digestive system while also boosting your immune system.
Antioxidants, meanwhile, can help reduce inflammation and improve heart health. In addition, many sour beers are lower in alcohol content than traditional beers so you can enjoy them without worrying about over-imbibing! Studies have shown that certain types of sour beers can help boost your immune system due to the presence of probiotic bacteria in the brews.
Furthermore, some research suggests that drinking sour beers may help reduce inflammation in the body due to their high polyphenol content. Polyphenols are compounds found naturally in many fruits and vegetables that have anti-inflammatory properties.
Are sour beers still popular?
We independently evaluate all recommended products and services. If you click on links we provide, we may receive compensation. Learn more, The IPA may be trendy, but the sour is timeless. These beers make for great gateway beers for wine drinkers, pair beautifully with food, and help break up a fridge full of hop bombs.
While sour beers only became popular in the last decade in the US, they provide the foundation of beer’s history. “There is nothing new about sour beer,” says Shanna Greenleaf, bar manager of Goed Zuur, a sour-focused beer bar in Denver. “Civilizations have been making beer since long before Louis Pasteur discovered the role of yeast in fermentation.
Some breweries older than that discovery are still producing beer today.” When talking about sour, there are two distinct schools. There are the Old World sours, which are usually spontaneously fermented with wild yeast and spend time ading in barrels.
I find these Old World sours to be largely overlooked these days, with the craze of American fruited kettle sours,” says Suzanne Schalow, the co-founder and CEO of Craft Beer Cellar. “But these are some of the true gems of the beer world, with precise brewing techniques, some near-perfect fermentations, bacteria from the night air, or from those living in old wooden vessels, only to be awakened by the liquid that finds a resting place for months or years.” One of the reasons that these sours have lost their shine is because of the type of sour flavor they possess: an acidic and almost verging on vinegary flavor.
The sour beer most likely to appear on your grocery store shelf is a new school kettle sour. These sours don’t require as much time and attention as a spontaneously fermented sour, but are no less delicate. Here, the sourness of the beer comes from bacteria—likely lactobacillus—that is added by the brewer. Drizly Region: Colorado | ABV: 4.0% | Tasting Notes: Raspberry, blueberry, oak Picking the “best” sour beer is kinda like picking the best beer in general. Due to the breadth of the category, the right sour beer for one person might be off-putting for another.
When looking for said sour, look no further than Colorado. According to Greenleaf, there are two breweries that helped turn Colorado into the epicenter for all things sour in the US: Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project and Casey Brewing and Blending. Both started out brewing exclusively small-batch sours, while the former has made a few of its beers available to the masses.
Sour Rosé, a wild ale with raspberries and blueberries, is one of these beers. Courtesy of Drizly Region: Colorado | ABV: 7% ABV | Tasting Notes: Hops, tropical fruit, citrus It seems like every year a new IPA varietal pops onto thes scene in an attempt to dethrone the hazy IPA. While the sour IPA remains one of the lesser-known riffs on the style. Drizly Region: Illinois | ABV: 4.5% ABV | Tasting Notes: Strawberry, rhubarb, citrus “Freedom of Expression is an awesome example of a classic pie filling (strawberry-rhubarb) becoming a great sour beer,” says Glenn Allen, head brewer at Pilot Project Brewing in Chicago.
- Brewmaster, Jim Cibak, and team add a carefully measured fruit addition to create an extremely balanced sour with a clean finish that will leave you reaching for another one during a hot summer day.” Freedom of Expression is one of four beers in the Chicago brewery’s session sour series.
- The first in the series, Freedom of Speach is a refreshing, peachy beer.
Related: Best Beer Fridges Courtesy of Drizly Region: Connecticut | ABV: 4.5% | Tasting Notes: Lime, salt, coriander The Gose is a wheat beer made with coriander and salt. Although American drinkers only came wise to its intriguing mix of sour and salt, it’s been part of the German beer canon for centuries. Courtesy of Drizly Region: California | ABV: 5.3% | Tasting Notes: Raspberry, citrus, oak A few trademarks of the Berliner Weisse are its lower ABV and refreshing tartness. If you’re drinking one of these in Berlin, it will likely be served with flavored syrup.
Contemporary Berliners skip this step by adding fruit to the brew. “Master Blender, Jim Crooks, and the Firestone Walker team are consistently putting out some of the best wild ales around,” Allen says. “Their ethos puts an emphasis on sourcing local ingredients so naturally, Bretta Rose undergoes a secondary fermentation with thousands of pounds of local raspberries.
This beer has a beautiful rosé color, bright and crisp acidity, and is bursting with raspberry character and plenty of barrel nuance.” Related: Best Craft Beers Courtesy of Drizly Region: Delaware | ABV: 4.9% | Tasting Notes: Lime, salt, malt Dogfish Head debuted its session sour SeaQuench in 2016 and since then, due to popular demand, the beer has made its way into 12 and 19 oz. cans across the country. “This beer is technically a blend of three distinct styles: a kolsch, a gose, and a berliner weisse,” Greenleaf explains. Drizly Region: Belgium | ABV: 6.5% | Tasting Notes: Earth, citrus, oak “The recently passed Armand Debelder was known as ‘Opa Geuze’ or ‘Grandfather Gueze’ for good reason,” Allen explains. “3 Fonteinen has roots dating back to 1887. shows how much complexity can be built into a beer with time and blending. Courtesy of Minibar Region: Maine | ABV: 6.4% | Tasting Notes: Apricot, lemon, earth For a true lambic experience, look to the Belgians. However beers from these prized producers, such as 3 Fonteinen or Cantillon, can be difficult to find. Thanks to its coolship program, Allagash has become a go-to for those seeking US-made lambics using traditional fermentation techniques. Courtesy of Drizly Region: California | ABV: 5.5% ABV | Tasting Notes: Guava, hibiscus, strawberry Sierra Nevada changed the IPA game when it released Hazy Little Thing, a hazy IPA that you can find in airport bars and taprooms alike. Recently its sister, a “slightly sour” ale hit the market with the appropriate moniker Wild Little Thing. Courtesy of Drizly Region: Belgium | ABV: 5.2% | Tasting Notes: Cherry, vinegar, oak A little bit of old school meets a little bit of new school with Rodenbach Classic. The brewery, which has been specializing in sours since 1821, decided to can its flagship Flemish red ale in for the first time 2019. Drizly Region: Oregon | ABV: 11.4% | Tasting Notes: Cherry, oak, malt Lesser known than its rose-tinted cousin, the Flanders brown ale, or Oud Bruin, comes from the eastern side of the Flemish region of Belgium, while Flanders red ales can be traced to the west. Drizly Region: Colorado | ABV: 4.5% | Tasting Notes: Guava, elderberry, salt A little bit funky, a little bit tropical, consider Sippin’ Pretty a catch-all sour sure to please all, especially on a hot day. The success of this Odell sour ale has spurned not one, but two variations.
What does it mean if my beer is sour?
Last year I was making some great beer, but several batches ago I started getting sour flavors in my beer, and it seems to be getting worse with every batch. What can I do? – Your sour-beer problem is almost certainly being caused by bacteria. Bacteria such as Lactobacillus and Pediococcus occur naturally and will infect and rapidly sour a batch of beer if you don’t kill them off using sanitizers.
- These bacteria produce lactic acid and are widely used in sour-beer brewing.
- Poor sanitation could be the cause, but if you have not changed your sanitation process in the past year, it may not be the problem.
- The fact that the problem is occurring from batch to batch and you did not have it earlier indicates that some of your equipment may be infected.
Most likely one or more pieces of equipment on the “cold side” of your system are infected with bacteria, which is then souring your beer during transfer, fermentation, or storage. I say that the “cold side” is the problem because your beer is not subject to infection during the mash, and the boil as the act of boiling will kill any bacteria.
However, it is possible for your chiller, pump, transfer tubes, fermentor, or even bottling bucket or kegs to be infected. The most likely location for an infection is plastic, rubber, or silicone. Unfortunately, even a small scratch in a plastic bucket can harbor bacteria that are very difficult to remove.
While stainless-steel and other metals are largely impervious to infection if properly sanitized, it is possible for your fittings, gaskets, valves, pump heads, and tubes to harbor bacteria. At a minimum, I recommend disassembling all of your fittings, hoses, gaskets, valves, pump heads, and other interfaces and giving them a thorough cleaning and then soaking for a bit in sanitizer.
- If that fails, you might want to consider replacing old hoses, gaskets, plastic utensils, and other rubber and plastic in your system to eliminate potential sources of an infection.
- Finally, I want to mention that it is also possible to create sour beer if you have improperly stored ingredients, such as wet malts.
In this case, an infection of the malt before brewing can produce lactic acid in the malt or mash that then can carry forward to the beer. Essentially, you are creating a sour mash. This is far less common than a cold-side bacterial infection, but it is a possibility you should be aware of.