May 23, 2018

Bière de Coupage

“Bière de Coupage” is a phrase that first shows up in French brewing texts from the 1800’s, and is used to describe the process of blending old and young beer together. Over the years, this method of making beer has taken many forms and has been utilized for a variety of reasons. One of the oldest notable examples comes from England and Ireland, where porter brewers would age a portion of their product in oak tanks until it developed vinous characteristics and reblend it back into fresh porter to add complexity. Another common example is the blending of darker sour ales around the Flanders region to control the acetic acid content and flavor profile. Perhaps the most well-known is the blending of old and young lambic in Belgium to deliver a consistent product and balance the complementary flavors present in different vintages of beer.

In recent years, “Bière de Coupage” has become synonymous with a style of beer as much as the historical method, and is most typically used to describe a blend of young, hoppy saison with older spontaneous beer. Because most lactic acid bacteria (particularly lactobacillus) is sensitive to the presence of hops in beer and will not produce acid when the IBUs are too high, the bitterness derived from hops and the complex flavors and acid profile from a mixed culture are rarely found together. One way around this is to blend a hopped beer (typically a saison) with a more mature sour beer (often a spontaneous one). This is exactly what we’ve done with our Bière de Coupage, and what others in America (Jester King, Perennial, Zebulon, American Solera/Evil Twin, Amos Browne, etc.) have been experimenting with over the past few years.

We are pleased to be part of the resurgence of this method, and are particularly excited about this one particular style of beer that it’s able to produce (and thankful we now have the barrel stock and foeder capacity to attempt it). For the blending, we began with 250 gal of our Foeder Saison and added to it a blend of four barrels of 1 year-old 100% spontaneous MT (Méthode Traditionnelle) beer, and a small portion of 3 year-old MT beer. The result has a fresh liveliness, brightness, and mild supporting bitterness from the young foeder beer, and a mature acid profile, musty oakiness, minerality, and overall flavor complexity from the old spontaneous beer. Despite being unfruited, we also get big notes of under ripe peaches, stone fruit, and a grassy earthiness. It should continue to develop for years in the bottle, and we hope you enjoy this beer as much as we do!

Yield: 1,278 bottles, 15 kegs
Release: June 8th 2018

Foeder Saison - Boysenberry

One of our 40hL foeders (“Foeder Black”) was initially utilized as a Meerts foeder, but in October of 2017, it was converted into a fermentation vessel for beers that fill in the gaps between our Meerts and Méthode Traditionnelle programs. The 2018 “Foeder Saison” series represents the first beers to emerge from that switch, and this beer is the first fruited variant to be bottled from that fill. It has a delicate mouthfeel from the use of white wheat and flaked oats, as well as a refreshing acidity and complexity from the saison strains and cultured microbes that accompanied the wild yeast already present in the walls of the foeder.

After six months of fermentation, this beer was refermented on 1.75 lbs/gal of boysenberries, which is a cross between the red raspberry, blackberry, loganberry, and dewberry. The fruit itself is from the Pacific Northwest and has an extremely well-rounded flavor profile that bursts with vibrant jammy-berry characteristics. These qualities make it one of my favorite fruits to use in sour beer, and certainly come through in full force in this release.

Yield: 624 bottles, 14 kegs
Release: June 8th 2018

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