‘A spicy sour beer?’
‘Raspberries and chillies?’
We thought this one might take a little explaining. It’s a lot to take in…and fit in to one can, but we did it!
Firstly, what’s a sour beer?
Sour beers have been gaining more and more popularity in the beer world in the last few years. The first time we really noticed it was when we were at Craft Brewers Conference in Portland, Oregon in 2015 – there were sour beers everywhere.
Concept : The history of sour beer is very varied – sometimes beer goes sour by mistake, but sometimes it is soured intentionally, as the souring bacteria can create interesting flavours in the beer. In the cases where it is soured intentionally, it is done by introducing souring bacteria to the beer at some point in the brewing process and allowing the beer to go sour in managed conditions. Now the thing about bacteria is that they are really really really small, and can be very hard to find if they escape their managed conditions! Therefore deliberately souring a beer is inherently risky in terms of cross-contamination in your brewery. One way to avoid (or at least minimise) the risk of this is do brew what is known as a “kettle sour”. This process used the brew-kettle as the souring vessel – the brew is started as normal and continues to the start of the boil process, but instead of adding hops, the wort is cooled to the appropriate temperature and the souring bacteria are pitched into the warm liquid. Once the souring process is complete, the wort is then boiled up again and the brew continued as normal, which kills all the souring bacteria and keeps the rest of the brewery safe. (Assuming sensible sanitation practices are followed!)
So now we have our sour beer base but what makes it Razzbeer?
Once the brewday process was complete, we transfer the brew to a fermenter as normal and pitched our normal house ale yeast to start the saccharomyces (yeast) fermentation. When the fermentation was complete, we transferred some of it to wine barrels, some of it to casks with other fruit infusions (like cucumber and mango!) and the rest of it went into a fermenter with lots of raspberries and some dried chillies – the maturation took about 10 days, by which time the beer had gained a lovely raspberry blush colour, and was tasting damn good! In the meantime, we did a can design, came up with a name and got the beer ready to leave the brewery – Razzbeer was on its way!
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