Rocky Mountain Brewing News December 2011/January 2012 : Page 1

ROCKY MOUNTAIN W IN G N E W E S BR CRAF T FROM THE BEER HIGH NEWS COUNTRY Andy Mitchell, Assistant Brewer at Funkwerks, is in over his head in barrels in Fort Collins, CO. Snake RiveR BRewing Adds Cans and More Awards to Their Reportoire PhoTo BY JIm "DoC" DamoN . U By Jim Damon BaRRels Roll Out Those Cantillion (in Belgium) agitates the barrels by filling them with hot water and metal chains. Another Belgian brewery, Rodenbach, scrapes sing wooden their barrels by hand while others use a high barrels to store pressure hot water spray. beer is not a Many different varieties of barrels are new idea; in used, namely sherry, Scotch, port, wine, and fact, it has been whiskey. Bourbon production mandates the done for cen-use of American white oak barrels, which are turies. In most charred prior to being filled with whiskey. The cases, however, resulting charcoal mellows the whiskey and these barrels inhibits the production of bacteria. Since it’s il-were made of legal for barrels to be reused for the production oak and were lined with pitch designed to of Bourbon, a supply of new barrels becomes prevent the beer from taking on the character available to brewers on a constant basis. of the wood. Winemakers approach this differ-Other sources of oak barrels include ently; they don’t line their barrels with pitch in the wine industry. order to promote the wood (usually Chardonnay, Pinot oak) flavor into their final product. noir, Cabernet Many years ago in Sauvignon, Belgium, however, and sherry brewers began using are usually unlined oak vessels aged in oak to ferment their sour barrels. ales, especially the The resid-lambics and Flanders ual flavors reds. Oak is used have been because it’s perme-used by able to oxygen and many brew-promotes the retention ers to create of microbes used to unique flavor produce the desired flavor. profiles. For example, In fact, these breweries all a beer aged in a Chardonnay perform a thorough cleaning of ILLuSTraTIoN BY haNS graNheIm barrel will develop fruity the beer stone that builds up on the vessels before reusing them. See Barrels p.3 W By Tim Harland YEAR OF THE SNAKE. The brewers of Snake River displaying some of their many awards with pride. PhoTo CourTeSY of SNake rIver BrewINg. is the oldest and largest microbrewery and brewpub in Wyoming. While ownership was transferred to Ted and Noa Staryk in December of 2006, the award-winning and community-oriented operation never skipped a beat. “Snake River is a family-owned business,” states August Katzer, SRB Regional Sales & Events Manager. “Every pint, bottle, can and keg that leaves its mother’s nest are like our children: born, aged and nurtured to perfection before entering the great big world out there.” To make great kids (or beer), one needs great parents – and the brewers put a little bit of their own personalities into what they do. “Our brewers are absolutely passionate about their craft and it shows in the beers they create,” Katzer says. “All of our staff are out-door enthusiasts who will be found skiing the backcountry, fishing the tributaries, climbing the peaks and biking the trails of Jackson Hole in their time off.” It’s this flavor for adven -ture that translates into Snake River Brewing Company’s unique flair. “They bring this energetic attitude into the brewery and into the formidable hand-crafted beers that they make,” Katzer adds. This unique flair translates into awards – and lots of them. After returning from this year’s Great American Beer Festival (GABF) See Snake River p.8 W yoming brewers create hand-crafted brews that represent some of the best beers in the world, with each of the 13 breweries in the state having their own spin on this age-old art form. If you’re up in Northwest Wyoming vis-iting the Tetons or Yellowstone National Park, you need to make sure you catch a cold one (or three) at the Snake River Brewery. Opening in March of 1994 under the own-ership of Albert and Joni Upsher, Snake River Brewing Company (SRB) in Jackson Hole A sampling of the Snake River beers available in cans and bottles. PhoTo CourTeSY of SNake rIver BrewINg.

Roll Out Those Barrels

Jim Damon

Using wooden barrels to store beer is not a new idea; in fact, it has been done for centuries. In most cases, however, these barrels were made of oak and were lined with pitch designed to prevent the beer from taking on the character of the wood. Winemakers approach this differently; they don’t line their barrels with pitch in order to promote the wood (usually oak) flavor into their final product.

Many years ago in Belgium, however, brewers began using unlined oak vessels to ferment their sour ales, especially the lambics and Flanders reds. Oak is used because it’s permeable to oxygen and promotes the retention of microbes used to produce the desired flavor. In fact, these breweries all perform a thorough cleaning of the beer stone that builds up on the vessels before reusing them.

cantillion (in Belgium) agitates the barrels by filling them with hot water and metal chains. Another Belgian brewery, Rodenbach, scrapes their barrels by hand while others use a high pressure hot water spray.

Many different varieties of barrels are used, namely sherry, Scotch, port, wine, and whiskey. Bourbon production mandates the use of American white oak barrels, which are charred prior to being filled with whiskey. The resulting charcoal mellows the whiskey and inhibits the production of bacteria. Since it’s illegal for barrels to be reused for the production of Bourbon, a supply of new barrels becomes available to brewers on a constant basis.

Other sources of oak barrels include the wine industry. Chardonnay, Pinot noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, and sherry are usually aged in oak barrels. The residual flavors have been used by many brewers to create unique flavor profiles. For example, a beer aged in a Chardonnay barrel will develop fruity aromatics and a more exotic taste sensation, creating an entirely new combination of flavors.

The organisms required to produce these beers include Brettanomyces, which is actually a yeast. “Brett” as it is commonly called, has the ability to ferment almost any type of sugar, including those found in the wood of the oak barrels. This organism can be extremely invasive; if not handled carefully it can infect the entire brewery. On the positive side, it can add the desired rich aromas and flavors of leather, earthy, smoky, barnyard and horse-blanket.

Pediococcus (Pedio) and Lactobacillus (Lacto) are not yeasts like Brettanomyces—they are bacteria. Both of these are used to create some sourness in the beer, but when overdone can be very unpleasant. The anaerobic nature of Pedio gives it the ability to spoil any beer. It’s also noted for the production of diacetyl, an undesirable flavor in beer; however, this usually turns into a pleasant acidity prior to bottling.

The barrels themselves usually last about five years before they lose their desirable flavors and are then retired from use. Most brewers age their beers in the barrel from 12 to 24 months before bottling.

It’s important to make a distinction between barrel-aged beers and oak-aged beers. Imparting an oak flavor to the beer is usually done by putting a bag of oak chips into the conditioning tank. These chips usually remain in contact with the beer from two to six weeks depending upon the level of oak flavor desired. Rarely do brewers bother to condition the beer in an oak barrel solely for the purpose of imparting the oak flavor.

Big beers, such as stouts, bocks, barleywines and many imperial styles are best suited to barrel aging. A beer needs sufficient malt character to stand up to the powerful flavors of oak and the other flavors of the barrel. Bourbon barrels work best with heavy, big, complex beers.

Bill Eye at Dry Dock Brewing in Aurora, Colo. Has 40 barrels previously used to age Bourbon, wine, and rum. They won a medal at the 2011 GABF Pro-Am competition with Ted Manahan for a Kriek- Lambic. Shotgun Russian Imperial Stout and Lady Penrhyn Imperial Brown Ale (both aged in Bourbon barrels) will be released in 750-ml bottles by the time this is published.

At Great Divide in Denver, Colo., Taylor Rees has several offerings from Bourbon barrels: Yeti Imperial Stout, Old Ruffian Barleywine, Hibernation Old Ale, and Belgian Yeti Imperial Stout. These all spend a minimum of 10 months in the barrel- sometimes as long as 16 months-before bottling. Most of them will be available this winter.

Avery Brewing in Boulder, Colo., is working in three main genres of barrelaged beers: wild ales, spirit-barrel ales, sour ales. The latest development in this program is a new trilogy of beers called the Annual Barrel Series. The next member of the series is Uncle Jacob’s Stout, which is aged in Bourbon barrels, and will be released this winter.

In the Midwest, New Glarus’ Wisconsin Belgian Red, a fruit beer similar to a kriek, is fermented in 3,000 gallon oak vats from the Rodney Strong Winery in Russian River, Calif. These vats contain the bacteria which start the spontaneous fermentation and add a red wine character to the beer.

Vinnie Cilurzo at Russian River Brewing has been using wine barrels from the Russian River area since 1999. His first offering, Temptation, is a blonde ale aged in Brett barrels used to age Chardonnay. Next came Supplication, a brown ale aged in Pinot noir barrels with sour cherries, Brett, Pedio, and Lacto. Currently he is also brewing Consecration, a dark Belgian style ale aged in Cabernet Sauvignon barrels along with Brett, Pedio, Lacto, and currants. Beautification is another brew fermented in his oldest barrels that have lost their wine and oak flavors. They add “the works” consisting of saccharomyces, Brett, Lacto, Pedio and other wild yeast and bacteria.

Allagash Brewing Company in Maine makes a Tripel which is aged in Jim Beam Kentucky Bourbon barrels for eight weeks after which the barrels are retired. This is a lengthy and complex process which involves it being bottled with more yeast and Belgian candi sugar being added. It’s then refermented and conditioned in their cellars.

These special barrel-aged brews will age very well and maintain (and even improve) for up to five years. Serve them at around 60 degrees and decant slowly into a wide-mouthed glass or snifter. Be careful not to disturb the yeast or pour the sediment into the glass. The warmer serving temperature will allow you to experience the entire complex bouquet!

Read the full article at http://mydigitalpublication.com/article/Roll+Out+Those+Barrels/911810/91629/article.html.

Snake River Brewing

Tim Harland

Wyoming brewers create hand-crafted brews that represent some of the best beers in the world, with each of the 13 breweries in the state having their own spin on this age-old art form. If you’re up in Northwest Wyoming visiting the Tetons or Yellowstone National Park, you need to make sure you catch a cold one (or three) at the Snake River Brewery.

Opening in March of 1994 under the ownership of Albert and Joni Upsher, Snake River Brewing Company (SRB) in Jackson Hole is the oldest and largest microbrewery and brewpub in Wyoming. While ownership was transferred to Ted and Noa Staryk in December of 2006, the award-winning and communityoriented operation never skipped a beat. “Snake River is a family-owned business,” states August Katzer, SRB Regional Sales & Events Manager. “Every pint, bottle, can and keg that leaves its mother’s nest are like our children: born, aged and nurtured to perfection before entering the great big world out there.” To make great kids (or beer), one needs great parents – and the brewers put a little bit of their own personalities into what they do.

“Our brewers are absolutely passionate about their craft and it shows in the beers they create,” Katzer says. “All of our staff are outdoor enthusiasts who will be found skiing the backcountry, fishing the tributaries, climbing the peaks and biking the trails of Jackson Hole in their time off.” It’s this flavor for adventure that translates into Snake River Brewing Company’s unique flair. “They bring this energetic attitude into the brewery and into the formidable hand-crafted beers that they make,” Katzer adds.

This unique flair translates into awards – and lots of them. After returning from this year’s Great American Beer Festival (GABF)with gold and bronze medals for brewing excellence, Snake River can continue to boast as being the most award-winning brewery in the United States since opening their doors in 1994, with 28 medals to their credit. Sound impressive? In addition, Snake River was named the Small Brewery of the Year and Brewmaster of the Year (Chris erickson) in 2000 and 2001 at the GABF. No other microbrewery has repeated this honor. In addition to these accolades, they’ve also snagged 18 medals from the World Beer Cup international beer competition.

So, how do you get your hands on some of this beer? Visiting the Tetons, of course, would be our first suggestion. You can check out the brewpub while chowing down on some tempting grub. While you’re there, be sure to take in the surroundings. Nestled beneath the towering Teton mountain range and along the great Snake River, the newly remodeled exhibition brewery and kitchen makes the art of brewing easy to appreciate. Patrons can view and tour the ongoing daily operations and enjoy their hand-crafted cuisine and brew from inside the pub or outside on the patio.

If journeying to the Tetons isn’t in the cards at the moment but you still want to enjoy their award-winning brew, fear not: Snake River is the only beer available from wyoming in bottles and kegs. Plus, they added a new Cask Systems canning line in may of 2011! Due to the massive demand for their award-winning brews, they’ll be increasing their production in 2012 by taking over space in their adjacent property. Potentially, capacity could double from their existing output of 5,500 barrels.

Read the full article at http://mydigitalpublication.com/article/Snake+River+Brewing/911820/91629/article.html.

Next Page


Publication List
Using a screen reader? Click Here