Barrel Brewing: It’s the Berries
Cherries taste good. A wild fermented Vin de Saison tastes even better. So what happens when you add the two?
This is what the brewers had to say:
“The base beer was the base beer for vin de Saison. (20% Chenin blanc and Saison grain bill) however it was fermented with wild yeast present on the grapes skins that were caught up in the grape juice (must) sediment. We then added 2% of this sediment to start the fermentation. It fermented 100% in barrel and remained in barrel for 7 months before adding 60kg of cherries. The beer will start fermenting again as the yeast start to consume the sugars present within the cherries. It will then remain on the cherries until we are happy to rack and bottle it. The idea is that it will pick up flavours and acidity from the cherries. It will at the same time be under the influence of certain microorganisms (yeast and bacteria) that will transform the composition of the beer. Only one 300L barrel will be made.”
And then Wikipedia describes a similar style as such:
Kriek lambic is a style of Belgian beer, made by fermenting lambic with sour Morello cherries. The name is derived from the Flemish word for this type of cherry (kriek). Traditionally “Schaarbeekse krieken” (a rare Belgian Morello variety) from the area around Brussels are used. As the Schaarbeek type cherries have become more difficult to find, some brewers have replaced these (partly or completely) with other varieties of sour cherries, sometimes imported. Traditionally, kriek is made by breweries in and around Brussels using lambic beer to which sour cherries (with the pits) are added. A lambic is a sour and dry Belgian beer, fermented spontaneously with airborne yeast said to be native to Brussels; the presence of cherries (or raspberries) predates the almost universal use of hops as a flavoring in beer. A traditional kriek made from a lambic base beer is sour and dry as well. The cherries are left in for a period of several months, causing a refermentation of the additional sugar. Typically no sugar will be left so there will be a fruit flavour without sweetness. There will be a further maturation process after the cherries are removed. More recently, some lambic brewers have added sugar to the final product of their fruit beers, in order to make them less intense and more approachable to a wider audience. They also use cherry juice rather than whole cherries and are matured for much shorter periods. Framboise or Frambozenbier is a related, less traditional Belgian beer, fermented with raspberries instead of sour cherries. Kriek is also related to geuze, which is not a fruit beer but is also based on refermented lambic beer. Some breweries, like Liefmans, make cherry beers based on oud bruin beer instead of lambic.
So there you have it. Your favourite brew with a cherry on top. Be sure to pop in to the Taproom to sample this beer before it runs out.