Jester King Craft Brewery

Fantôme Del Rey Re-Release

2 days ago

This weekend we’ll be re-releasing Fantôme Del Rey, our collaboration with Brasserie Fantôme in Soy, Belgium. Fantôme Del Rey is a blend of old, barrel aged beer and young beer. The old, barrel aged beer was brewed with dark candi syrup, ground coriander, and black peppercorns, and fermented with truffle honey.

We previously released Fantôme Del Rey back in May, but then halted sales when we noticed the beer had gone “ropey”. While the flavor and aroma were good, the beer had a noticeable viscosity and slick mouthful. Fortunately, it appears the living microorganisms in our mixed culture have broken down the ropiness, and we’re now happy to re-release the beer.

We posted four months ago about what we think happened. The lactic acid producing bacteria Pediococcus in our mixed culture, for some scientific reason unknown to us, produced “exopolysaccharides”, which caused the viscous mouthfeel. Fortunately, our mixed culture has an “auto-correct” function built in, figuratively speaking, that often fixes the problem over time. We think Brettanomyces yeast in our mixed culture slowly broke down the exopolysaccharides causing the ropiness to dissipate. That’s something we often do with beer at Jester King that has something that’s kind of off — we just give it more time, and the living microorganisms usually make things better.

We’re happy with the way Fantôme Del Rey is presenting, and we hope you enjoy it too. If you’ve been storing bottles at home over the last four months (hopefully warm), we think they’re fine to drink. We have quite a few bottles (about 5,000) that have been aging at the brewery, which will go on-sale this Friday at 4pm ($14/750ml). There’s no bottle limit. Fantôme Del Rey will also be available by the glass, and it will see Texas distribution through our friends at Flood Independent Distribution.

We appreciate your patience with this beer! Mixed culture fermentation often throws surprises our way, and in this case, you helped us fix things by allowing fermentation the time it needs to work its magic. If you have any questions, concerns, issues, etc., feel free to reach out to us. We hope you enjoy the re-release of Fantôme Del Rey!

— Jeff Stuffings


Introducing Jester King 2016 SPON — Méthode Gueuze

4 days ago

Jester King- Spon Bottles --2

We’re very excited and proud to announce the release of Jester King 2016 SPON — Méthode Gueuze, our first ever 100% spontaneously fermented beer. Jester King 2016 SPON — Méthode Gueuze is a blend of one, two, and three year old 100% spontaneously fermented beer made using the traditional method of authentic Belgian Gueuze.

The Origin

During the fall of 2012, we visited Brasserie Cantillon in Brussels, Belgium for the first time and came home inspired to see if spontaneously fermented beer could be made in Texas. We weren’t alone in our doubts. Several of our respected peers voiced concerns about the balance of microflora in our hot climate. We figured we had nothing to lose and that it would be a fun experiment, so on February 26th, 2013, we brewed our very first batch of 100% spontaneously fermented beer inspired by the tradition of authentic Belgian Gueuze.

Brothers Michael Steffing & Jeffrey Stuffings during their visit to Brasserie Cantillon

The Method

Our first brew was a turbid mash of 60% malted barley and 40% raw Texas wheat. We followed the mash schedule found in Jeff Sparrow’s Wild Brews. The first runnings were very starchy. We boiled the wort for four hours with hops aged in burlap bags in the attic of our horse barn.

We transferred the entire batch of wort to a ~15 barrel coolship we had fabricated out of stainless steel. We let the wort cool overnight exposed to airborne yeast and bacteria. The next day, we racked the cooled wort to oak puncheons without pitching any yeast or bacteria. We then waited patiently to see if anything would happen.

First coolship fill, February 26, 2013

After about a week, and much to our amazement, the wort started to ferment. Early on, the beer was very harsh, astringent, and bitter. It had an unpleasant grainy character, smelled like cooked corn, and was very turbid. The only thing that gave us hope at that point, was the beer still tasted pretty “clean” despite the astringency and noticeable off-flavors. But then, after about six months, we noticed a transformation. The grainy, cooked corn aroma gave way to a very pleasant musty attic, barnyard scent. The bitterness still lingered, but the astringency had mellowed. We could tell the beer was slowly becoming more refined as it aged. This gave us hope — enough hope that we were encouraged to try spontaneous fermentation again the following winter.

First ever sign of spontaneous fermentation at Jester King, March 4th, 2013

The winter of 2014 marked our second coolship season. Unlike our first season in 2013, where we only did two 15 barrel batches, we did around a dozen coolship brews the second season. Fermentation was vigorous, and the beer overall was less bitter and more sour than 2013. We believe this had to do with decreasing our hopping rate for our second season. We used around 0.75 pounds per barrel of hops rather than 1.25 pounds per barrel. We also think our aged hops had less bitterness after another full year aging in the attic of the horse barn.

Our third coolship season began in January, 2015. By this point, we were pretty confident the wort would spontaneously ferment and slowly mature over time. We felt we hit our sweet spot in terms of our hopping rate, settling around one pound per barrel. Balancing acidity is a critical part of what we do, and we really like the soft, restrained acidity from our 2015 coolship season.

Spontaneous fermentation from the 2014 season

Finally, in February of 2016 we created our first blend! We took ten percent beer from 2013, thirty percent beer from 2014, and sixty percent beer from 2015, blended it, then packaged it in bottles and kegs. We did not pitch any yeast or bacteria at the time of bottling, but rather relied on the microbes still alive in the beer for refermentation. We did however add a dose of priming sugar at the time of packaging. We experimented with refermenting the blend using the residual sugar in the younger beer. However, this technique did not produce the level of carbonation we wanted. We refermented the bottles on their sides. Not only is this true to the traditional method of Gueuze, but we’ve become huge proponents of shallow vessel fermentation on a sensory level.

Bottles of 2016 SPON — Méthode Gueuze conditioning on their side

The three year blend has been slowly maturing in bottles since February, 2016 and will be nine months old at the time of release. Extended refermentation and maturation in the serving vessel is another technique that’s true to the method of Gueuze, which we find absolutely critical. A lot of the funky, basement cellar, musty attic aromas that we love simply are not present at the time of blending and need time in the bottle to develop. In our opinion, there is no substitute for extended refermentation / maturation for beers of this style.

The Name

That brings us to our decision to call our three year spontaneous blend “2016 SPON — Méthode Gueuze”. We’ve struggled mightily with what to call this beer for a few years now. As a starting point, we knew we would not claim that it was an authentic “Lambic” or “Gueuze”. Our beer was made in Texas. Lambic and Gueuze come from Brussels and the Pajottenland. End of story. We make no claim of authenticity whatsoever when it comes to “Lambic” or “Gueuze”. Our beer is NOT “Lambic” or “Gueuze”.

Rather, we have a very strong desire for beer drinkers to know how our beer was made. We want them to know that this is not just a spontaneously fermented beer, but a spontaneously fermented beer made using the method of authentic Belgian Gueuze. We invested an inordinate amount of time, energy, money, and patience into making this beer. The work began all the way back in 2012. The beer itself took three years and nine months to make. Aside from the cost of the equipment and raw materials for our spontaneous program, we’ve sacrificed who knows how much opportunity cost by devoting a huge portion of our barrel room to spontaneous fermentation — space that could have been used for far less time intensive beer. We feel we’d be doing ourselves a disservice by just calling our beer “spontaneous” or “coolship ale”. For instance, a very delicious, well-executed Berliner Weisse can be “spontaneously fermented” and ready to drink in just days! We felt a compelling need not to stop short at the terms “spontaneous” or “coolship” in order for beer drinkers to truly understand the steps we’ve taken.

How to do this, however, was a challenge. We needed to find a way to sum up a verbose description — a naturally conditioned blend of three, two, and one year old 100% spontaneously beer, made with a grist of malted barley and raw wheat, turbid mashed, and boiled for hours with aged hops, chilled and inoculated overnight in a coolship, and fermented in oak barrels without the addition of any microorganisms or chemicals — with a simple, artful word or phrase. We wanted a mere word or phrase where beer drinkers would know our inspiration and process simply by seeing it. For help with this problem, we reached out to a friend, confidant, and the modern day godfather of authentic Lambic and Gueuze — Jean Van Roy of Brasserie Cantillon.

We posed this dilemma to Jean, and he graciously responded by suggesting the establishment of “Méthode Gueuze”. According to Jean:

“Your blend deserves even more to be called ‘Lambic’ or ‘Gueuze’ than a lot of fake Belgian Gueuze. The way to use ‘Méthode Gueuze’ is a bit the same used in the wine world for some sparkling wine. The most well known being Méthode Champenoise.”

As Jean said, Méthode Gueuze is analogous to “Méthode Champenoise”. Its function is to explain and certify how a particular beer was made — in this case one that follows the traditional method of making authentic Gueuze.

In the coming weeks and months, we plan on working with Jean and other authentic makers of Lambic and Gueuze, as well as other brewers from around the world to establish “Méthode Gueuze” as a Certification Mark. The mark, pictured below, will verify that a certain set of standards and criteria are met during the making of the beer, namely a traditional grist of malted barley and raw wheat, a turbid mash and extended boil with aged hops, overnight cooling and inoculation of the entire batch of wort in a coolship or similar vessel, 100% spontaneous fermentation in oak barrels, a blend of one, two, and three year old barrels or older, and 100% natural refermentation.

Admittedly, this is a more ambitious undertaking than we ever dreamed of when we started this process four years ago. But the cause has become very dear and close to home for us. Based on what we’ve observed in the beer community, it seems that right now, we’re on the crest of a giant new wave of spontaneously fermented beer that’s soon to come crashing down into the market. This is a good thing, so long as the quality is there! A world-wide resurgence of spontaneous fermentation, if anything, is a reversion back to how much of beer was fermented centuries ago. It also helps create regional distinctions, terroir, and a sense of place in beer. I don’t begrudge this in the slightest, and like I said, see it as a good thing.

But like anything with lots of momentum behind it, there’s a natural flow toward what is cheaper and more expedient. That’s why we, and many of our peers, have a desire to see that at least certain standards and traditional methods actually mean something. That doesn’t mean that a spontaneously fermented beer must be “Méthode Gueuze” to be good. Far from it. But we do believe that certain traditional methods need attention and care, lest they become so watered down, confused, and bastardized that they essentially become meaningless.


We will be releasing 2016 SPON — Méthode Gueuze at Jester King on Friday, November 18th. We will announce release details soon. But for now, we want to thank all the people who made the beer possible.
The beer industry is filled with a wonderful collection of fantastic people, and we’re grateful to have the help and support of so many of them. Here’s a list of people we want to thank in alphabetical order by last name, who helped play a role in the creation of SPON — Méthode Gueuze:

Tim Adams, Josh Amos, Luis Aparicio, Adrienne Ballou, Todd Boera, Frank Boone, Mikkel Borg Bjergsø, Chris Booth, Frederique Boudouani, Jon Buford, Mike Calles, Alberto Carduus, Troy Casey, Aaron Chamberlain, Vinnie Cilurzo, Constanze Chicon, Josh Cockrell, Garrett Crowell, Yvan De Baets, Armand De Belder, Nic De La Rosa, Walt Dickinson, Greg Engert, Ron Extract, Gabe Fletcher, Levi Funk, Jay Goodwin, Christian Gregory, Chase Healey, Evan Hill, Shaun Hill, Allison Huffman, Jean Hummler, Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø, Ron Jeffries, Carson Jewell, Khris Johnson, Brandon Jones, Marika Josephson, Jordan Keeper, Cory King, Karen King, Aaron Kleidon, Eric Kukla, Jake Maddux, Joe Madia, Tyler Malone, Sara Maya, Raphael Mettler, Marco Rodriguez, Marc Nelipovich, Adair Paterno, Jason Perkins, Sean Phillips, Matt Piper, Walt Powell, Josh Wilson, Joel Richards, Lindsey Rogers, Trevor Rogers, John Rubio, Ismael Salas, Lauren Salazar, Zach Schroeder, Daniel Shelton, Bob Sylvester, Jeff Sparrow, Sean Spiller, Josh Spradling, Ian Steigmeyer, Amber Stuffings, Brian Sublette, Averie Swanson, Daniel Thiriez, Pierre Tilquin, Rob Tod, Michael Tonsmeire, Chris Troutman, Jean Van Roy, Alex Wallash, Patrick Ware, Amber Watts, Kyle White, Alex Williams, Shane Winkler, Phil Wymore, Chad Yakobson, Bill Young, Nathan Zeender

The artwork for SPON — Méthode Gueuze was created in-house by Josh Cockrell.

Obviously, this is a long post with a lot of info. If anyone has any questions or comments about any of the topics in this post, please feel free to contact me directly via e-mail (jstuffings or phone (512-364-7278).

Thanks for your time and attention! We’re very excited about the release next month and the upcoming work regarding the Méthode Gueuze certification mark.


Jeffrey Stuffings
Jester King Brewery

P.S. Below are photographs of 2016 SPON — Méthode Gueuze and the process that went into making it!

Jester King</del> Spon Bottles -5136

Jester King- Spon Bottles SMALL-5115 (1)

Jester King</del> Spon Bottles -5147 (1)

Coolship installation in 2013 with Ismael Salas

Water test batch

First coolship fill

Night of first coolship fill with Jordan Keeper, Garrett Crowell, Adrienne Ballou, Josh Cockrell (l to r)

First coolship empty


Spontaneous fermentation

Early coolship fill

Pyramid stacks

Barrel stacking with Garrett Crowell, Matt Piper, and Ismael Salas (l to r)

Barrel placing with Matt Piper

Garrett Crowell barrel filling

2015 spontaneous season

New puncheons with Matt Piper

Coolship prep with Garrett Crowell and Ron Extract (l to r)

Barrel placing with Marco Rodriguez (front)

“Knockout into a coolship!”

Marco Rodriguez, Adrienne Ballou, Jordan Keeper, Averie Swanson, Ian Steigmeyer, Garrett Crowell (l to r)

Allison Huffman cleaning the coolship

Moving the coolship out of the barrel room at season’s end

Coolship loft roof buildout with Josh Cockrell and Matt Piper (l to r)

New coolship construction with Michael Steffing and Evan Hill (l to r)

New coolship for 2016

New coolship water test with Ian Steigmeyer

First test blend

My daughter Laura Stuffings on first spontaneous brewday

Laura Stuffings today


Jester King 2016 Funk n' Sour Fest Pairings

5 days ago

Below are the pairings for this year’s Funk n’ Sour Fest! We’re really excited about the incredible collection of restaurants, breweries, wineries, cideries, and mixologists we’ve brought together for this one of a kind event. Tickets are still available and can be purchased HERE.

Antonelli’s Cheese Shop with Midnight Cowboy

Pairing One — Cana de Oveja and Havarti paired with Jester King Provenance — Lemon & Lime Cocktail

Pairing Two — Caveman Blue and Pantaleo paired with Jester King Gotlandsdricka Cocktail

Bullfight with 5 Stones Artisan Brewery

Pairing One — Smoked Longaniza, “Fracking Blackstrap” Mustard paired with Patience in Oak Fracking Blackstrap

Pairing Two — Salad of Wheat & Roasted Fall Vegetables “Rain on the Scarecrow” Dressing paired with Rain on the Scarecrow

The Brewer’s Table with Cruz de Comal Wines

Pairing One — Venison & beer-grain kibbeh nayeh (Hill Country Axis venison tartar with beer-grain and spiced beef fat served on sourdough made with Cruz de Comal Culture) paired with Cohete Rojo

Pairing Two — Fall Squash kibbehr (Fire-roasted fall squash & beer-grain fritter with pine nuts and sultanas served on sour dough made with Cruz de Comal culture) paired with Cohete Rojo

Bufalina with Blue Owl Brewing

Pairing OneTBD

Pairing TwoTBD

Dai Due with Lewis Wines

Pairing One — Whey-Fermented Venison Liver Sausage paired with Lost Draw Mourvedre

Pairing Two — Sourdough Baguette with Fermented Apple-Habanero Whipped Lard paired with 2015 Mourvedre Parr Rose

Emmer & Rye with Firestone Walker Barrelworks

Pairing One — Johnny Cakes with a Thai Eggplant Caponata paired with Lil’ Opal

Pairing Two — Fermented Blue Barley, Okra and Lamb porridge paired with Agrestic

The Hollow with Jester King Brewery

Pairing OneTBD

Pairing TwoTBD

The Mercantile with Argus Cidery

Pairing One — Spiced lamb meatball with piquillo peppers paired with Vino Pearde

Pairing Two — Chicken liver mousse with peach gastrique paired with Peach Wine

Noble Sandwich Co. with The Collective Brewing Project

Pairing One — Butter poached catfish with buttered potatoes and dill paired with Wood Folk

Pairing Two — Braised pork belly with a mango bourbon compote and black pepper crumble paired with Mango Petit Golden Sour

Salt & Time with Texas Keeper Cider

Pairing One — Grilled Flatbread with Smoked Olive Tapenade, jujube date jam and raclette cheese paired with Grafter Rose

Pairing Two — Flat Iron Steak skewer with Lemongrass and Tomato Jam paired with Saisonniers

The Salty Sow with Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales

Pairing One — Chicken apple bratwurst, beer mustard (Live Oak Oaktoberfest), ruby sauerkraut, apple crisp paired with Cucurbitophobia

Pairing Two — Red kuri squash mousse, ginger snap, cacao marshmallow paired with La Parcela

Stiles Switch BBQ with Prairie Artisan Ales

Pairing One — Table chopped brisket sliders with Bill Dumas’s “popeye” barbecue sauce paired with Prairie Bomb!

Pairing Two — Pulled pork tacos with my pico de gallo cole slaw paired with Prairie Ace

Texas French Bread with Live Oak Brewing Co.

Pairing One — Roasted pepper relish and chevre crostini paired with Grodziskie

Pairing Two — Coronation chicken paired with Lichtenhainer


Jester King Buddha's Brew Batch 2

10 days ago

We’re pleased to announce that this Friday, October 14th at 4pm, we’ll be releasing our second batch ever of Jester King Buddha’s Brew! Buddha’s Brew is our farmhouse ale blended and refermented with Classic Kombucha from Buddha’s Brew Kombucha in Austin, Texas.

Buddha’s Brew, which was first released in 2012, harkens back to the early origins of Jester King Brewery. Its first incarnation was a homebrew experiment where I tossed dregs from Buddha’s Brew Classic Kombucha into a batch of beer at bottling to see what would happen. After about a month of bottle conditioning, the beer had been fundamentally transformed by the microbes in the kombucha and became something entirely unto itself. This homebrew experiment provided the inspiration for Buddha’s Brew Batch 1.

This mentality and approach still strongly guides us to this day. We like to introduce a host of microorganisms that are beyond our knowledge and control into a beer, and then see what happens. Ultimately, after much time and patience, we use our palates to accept what we think is good, and reject what we think is bad. That’s probably the most distilled version of what we do.

We’re excited to have Buddha’s Brew back and for people to taste it again! We’d say the microorganisms in the “raw buch” definitely “took” during this go around. The beer tastes and smells remarkably different now that it has been blended and refermented with kombucha. Speaking of blending, Buddha’s Brew is 90% farmhouse ale and 10% kombucha. In a way, Buddha’s Brew can be looked at as a “culture swap” with our friends at Buddha’s Brew.

Speaking of Buddha’s Brew Kombucha, they’ll be at Jester King this Saturday afternoon to celebrate the release! They’ll be sampling their delicious Kombucha for our tasting room guests.

Buddha’s Brew will go on sale this Friday at 4pm at our tasting room. It will be available by the glass, as well as in bottles to go. We have about 4,000 bottles available with a limit of three per customer per day (750ml/$14). At this point, we do not foresee Buddha’s Brew being available outside our tasting room aside from special events.

Jeffrey Stuffings
Jester King Brewery


First Brew with Texas Grown Malted Barley from Blacklands Malt!

17 days ago

Monday was a very special day! We brewed our first beer with 100% Texas grown malted barley from Blacklands Malt in Leander, Texas! The day was nearly four years in the making. Back in 2012, Blacklands began its mission to revitalize native malted barley in Texas, and yesterday, that mission saw a major milestone with the brewing of the first 100% Texas malted barley beer in modern history!

The first Texas malted barley came from Brownfield, Texas, located not far from Lubbock. It’s a two row, winter barley called “Endeavor” that was planted in 2015 and harvested in 2016. Blacklands used the Endeavor barley from Brownfield to make a 20 SRM Munich malt. They chose to make a Munich malt from the barley given its relatively high protein content. The high protein makes the malt conducive to more color and flavor development. The name of the first Texas malted barley in modern history is “Brown Field 20”.

Blacklands Malt’s road to this milestone has been fraught with setbacks and challenges. Events like drought, heavy rains, and hail have led to crop failures throughout the last several years. Brandon Ade, founder of Blacklands Malt, has had to be very patient and persistent along the way. “It has been an ongoing consistent battle against the random, uncontrollable elements of the universe”, says Brandon. But finally, after nearly four years, the first Texas malted barley is here, and we’re very grateful and appreciative of Brandon’s remarkable drive and determination to make this day happen.

Why is this important? We think it’s important for several reasons. Perhaps most importantly in our opinion, it falls in line with a beer making philosophy of working with what nature gives you, so as to make beer that’s unique to a time and place. Science, technology, and transportation have made it possible to access high quality raw ingredients from around the world at practically anytime. It’s now possible to bypass the limitations of time and place when it comes to making beer, which has many positive attributes.

But what we find worthwhile and meaningful is to strike a partnership with our natural surroundings and allow them to dictate to us the type of beer we make. For example, Brandon at Blacklands Malt didn’t set out to make the first Texas malted barley a 20 SRM Munich malt. Nature dictated to him what the first Texas malted barley would be, and we followed suit by making a beer with a malt character inextricably linked to a time and place. This to us is very exciting! In a world that’s dominated by commoditization and homogeneity at the macro-level, poking small holes in this system is something we consider to be a worthwhile endeavor.

The first 100% Texas malted barley beer in modern history was brewed at Jester King on October 3rd, 2016. We mashed with raw well water and a grist of 100% Brown Field 20 malt. We boiled and hopped the wort with a relatively small amount of hops, so as not to overwhelm the malt character. The beer is presently fermenting in stainless steel with our mixed culture of brewers yeast, native yeast, and native bacteria. We don’t plan on extended fermentation and maturation time for this beer. We plan on releasing it while it’s still relatively “clean”, before the yeast and bacteria fundamentally transform it over time.

We want to thank Brandon Ade of Blacklands Malt very, very much for all his hard work and persistence. This accomplishment of his has been a true labor of love, and he has now made a major leap forward toward revitalizing a dormant industry in Texas. We consider Brandon to be a true pioneer, and we’re very grateful he’s allowed us to work with him along the way.

Jeffrey Stuffings
Jester King

Brandon Ade of Blacklands Malt

100% Texas malted barley mash

100% Texas malted barley beer a fews days into fermentation


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