10 days ago
We’re pleased to introduce Amicis Mortis — a farmhouse ale brewed with sweet potatoes, chili peppers, and coconut in collaboration with Brasserie Dunham in Dunham, Quebec. We first tasted beer from Brasserie Dunham at Shelton Bros. The Festival in Los Angeles, California in the fall of 2014 and were completely and utterly impressed. The integration of yeast character, acidity, dryness, bitterness, and effervescence in their farmhouse ales was staggeringly good, and they’re wonderful people to boot. We instantly knew we wanted to work with them.
In March of 2015, Eloi Deit of Brasserie Dunham came to Jester King to brew with us. The inspiration for the beer came from a dish cooked with sweet potatoes, chili peppers, and coconut we had with Eloi at Odd Duck the night before brewing. We felt kinship with Eloi through food. We also share a love for low alcohol, slightly bitter, quenching beers. Thus, we wanted to make a very drinkable, table strength beer. We also decided we would add a relatively large dose of hops to the beer, so as to impede bacterial fermentation in favor of more yeast character and bitterness.
Amicis Mortis was brewed with Hill Country well water, malted barley, raw wheat, hops, sweet potatoes, and chili peppers. Sweet potatoes were added to the mash, and a small dose of chili peppers were added late in the boil. It was fermented in stainless steel with our mixed culture of microorganisms consisting of brewers yeast and native yeast and bacteria harvested from the air and wildflowers around our brewery. A couple of weeks into fermentation we added coconut and more chili peppers to the beer. Amicis Mortis was packaged on May 20th, 2015 and refermented in bottles, kegs, and casks. It is 4.2% alcohol by volume, has a finishing gravity of 0.999 (zero degrees Plato), and is 32 IBU.
Amicis Mortis will be released at Jester King when our tasting room opens on Friday, August 21st at 4pm. It will be available by the glass, as well as to go in 750ml bottles ($12, limit 2 per customer per day). Approximately 2,400 bottles are available. We do not anticipate Amicis Mortis being available beyond Jester King, aside from a few special events.
The beer name and label art for Amicis Mortis was created by our in-house artist Josh Cockrell. Here is Josh’s description of his thought process:
“I took visual inspiration from medieval works produced in the aesthetic of memento mori (Latin for ‘remember to die’), a practice of focusing on mortality.” The ingredients for this beer all create pause to reflect on death. The word “coconut” comes from old Spanish for “skull.” Chili peppers are in the nightshade family, made famous by the poison created from one of its members atropa belladonna. Sweet potatoes, which are in the morning glory family, with blooms lasting only one day, have long represented mortality. The crown hanging from the skull comes from the coat of arms of the city of Dunham, Quebec, and represents that none of us are above death. I found it interesting that our friendly collaboration ended up settling on ingredients symbolic of mortality, and so named the beer Amicis Mortis meaning “friends of death.”
12 days ago
When our tasting room opened on July 31st, we released two new beers: our Bière de Syrah and our third batch of Ambrée Farmhouse Amber Ale. Ambrée may have gotten a little lost in the excitement over a new wine grape refermentation, but at Jester King, we’re just as enthusiastic about this new simplified, scaled-down batch of Ambrée.
To be perfectly honest, Ambrée started out bearing the fingerprints of our early days as homebrewers. Back then, we attributed complexity largely to the sheer number of ingredients in a beer. If you want to make a beer complex and interesting, load it up with a bunch of different ingredients is what we believed. This mentality led to Ambrée being brewed with EIGHT different malts! It contained Munich, Two-Row, Pilsner, Carared, Amber, Crisp C-120, Melanoidin, and Roasted Barley.
As time has progressed here at Jester King, we’ve come to very much appreciate and subscribe to the principles of subtlety, simplicity, and restraint. We’ve found that some of the most beautiful and enjoyable beers really subscribe to these principles. More specifically, we’ve discarded the mentality that more specialty malts necessarily equate to complexity of flavor. In the culinary world, a few simple ingredients prepared well can be just as complex and elegant a dish made using a ton of specialty ingredients. We wanted Ambrée to reflect the same kind of refinement and balance.
Our initial inspiration for Ambrée came from some of our favorite farmhouse ales from French Flanders, notably the beers brewed by Brasserie Thiriez in Esquelbecq, France. But for the third batch, we looked much closer to home for inspiration: Live Oak Brewing Company in Austin. We’ve gotten to learn much from Live Oak during the last year or so while collaborating with them. Live Oak makes beautiful wort using very simple ingredients. For instance, for Kollaborationsbier they took two malts and worked with them using a technique called a decoction mash to create some of the richest, most delicious wort we’ve ever tasted. Decoction mashing involves separating out a portion of the mash, boiling it in the kettle, and then returning it to the mash tun.
For our third batch of Ambrée, we took inspiration from Live Oak and appreciation for subtlety, simplicity, and restraint to create a simple, amber farmhouse ale. We brewed it with three malts (Pilsner, Munich, and Vienna) instead of eight using a decoction mash. The wort was then fermented with our mixed culture of brewer’s yeast and native yeast and bacteria harvested from the air and wildflowers around our brewery. We also scaled down the gravity of Ambrée, which resulted in a lower alcohol by volume. Our third batch of Ambrée is 4.5% ABV, whereas before it was in the 7% range. We think this has lead to a more drinkable, enjoyable beer. We also believe Ambrée now has some nice symmetry as a middle ground between Le Petit Prince Farmhouse Table Beer and Commercial Suicide Farmhouse Mild.
Ambrée Batch 3 was brewed with Hill Country well water, barley, and hops. It was fermented in stainless steel for five weeks with our mixed culture, then naturally conditioned through refermentation in the serving vessel for another four weeks prior to release. It is unfiltered and unpasteurized. At the time of bottling, it had a finishing gravity of 1.002, a pH of 4.39, and was 25 IBUs. Ambrée is available on draught in our tasting room and in 750ml bottles, both in our tasting room and in stores throughout Texas.
24 days ago
We are excited to introduce Jester King Vulgar Affectation — a nearly one year old farmhouse ale brewed with native lemon beebalm and horehound growing in the fields surrounding our brewery. The inspiration behind Vulgar Affectation came from a couple of different sources — our desire to make beer with a sense of place unique to our land in the Texas Hill Country, our enjoyment of foraged beers, and our specific admiration for Pissenlit from Brasserie Fantôme, which is brewed with wildflowers gathered from around their brewery in Soy, Belgium.
To make Pissenlit, Fantôme’s Dany Prignon picks wild dandelions, dries them, and makes a concentrated tea that he adds at the end of the boil. In the summer of 2014, an intense purple field of lemon beebalm wildflowers (pictured below) grew around Jester King. Our Head Brewer Garret Crowell picked some of the leaves and flowers and dried them for several months. On brew day in late September of 2014, he picked fresh horehound around our brewery and added it to the dried lemon beebalm leaves and flowers. He then made a concentrated tea of horehound and lemon beebalm and added it at the end of the boil.
This process exemplifies our mission at Jester King, to make beers that embody the place and time in which they’re made. Using the seasonal resources that grow around us ties our beer to our location, and a specific moment in time. Vulgar Affectation spent close to six months fermenting in stainless steel tanks, and then another four months bottle conditioning, which means that its release coincides with the time of year when lemon beebalm and horehound are growing in our fields once again!
Vulgar Affectation was brewed with Hill Country well water, barley, wheat, rye, rolled oats, lemon beebalm, horehound, and hops. It was fermented with our mixed culture of brewers yeast and native yeast and bacteria harvested from the Texas Hill Country. It is unfiltered, unpasteurized, and 100% naturally conditioned in bottles, kegs, and casks. Vulgar Affectation is 5.0% alcohol by volume, 38 IBU, 3.6 pH at the time of packaging in April 2015, and has a finishing gravity of 1.002 (0.5 degrees Plato).
Vulgar Affectation will be released at Jester King when our tasting room opens at 4pm on Friday, August 7th, with a special pre-release during the Alamo Drafthouse Rolling Roadshow presentation of Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me on Thursday, August 6th. It will be available by the glass and to go in 750ml bottles ($12/bottle, limit 3 per customer per day, approximately 3,000 bottles available). A very limited amount of Vulgar Affectation will be available by the glass in our tasting room. Outside of special events, Vulgar Affectation will only be available at our tasting room. The label art was created by our own Josh Cockrell.
Field of Lemon Beebalm
Jester King Horehound
Dried Lemon Beebalm
Adding Horehound to the Tea
Head Brewer Garrett Crowell Adding Wildflower Tea to Whirlpool
31 days ago
We are pleased to introduce Jester King Bière de Syrah — a barrel-aged sour beer refermented with Syrah grapes. Bière de Syrah consists of a blend of beer fermented in oak barrels for nine to twelve months with our mixed culture of brewers yeast and native yeast and bacteria harvested from the air and wildflowers around our brewery. The blend was then refermented with Syrah grapes for about two weeks, transferred off of the fruit, then aged for an additional nine months in oak barrels. After packaging, the beer naturally conditioned for an additional two months prior to release. Altogether, Bière de Syrah is roughly two years old.
Bière de Syrah spent considerably more time aging than most of our other fruited sour beers. This is due to the fact that our Barrel Program Head Adrienne Ballou likes the practice of racking (transferring) beer refermented with wine grapes back into oak barrels for further maturation. Adrienne came to Jester King from the wine world and brought several winemaking techniques with her. According to Adrienne, maturation in oak barrels following fruit refermentation allows the beer to take on more complex characteristics than just bright fruit character and acidity.
The grapes used in the refermentation of Bière de Syrah came from the 2014 harvest in California. We attempt to use native Texas fruit whenever possible, but in this case, we had difficultly sourcing Texas grapes last year. Most of the grapes from the 2014 Texas harvest went to winemakers. Fortunately, we’ve developed some great relationships with wineries in our area, so hopefully this will be the last time we source grapes from California, or anywhere outside of Texas.
Bière de Syrah was brewed with Hill Country well water, barley, wheat, oats, and hops. It was fermented with our mixed culture of brewers yeast and native yeast and bacteria harvested from the Texas Hill Country prior to refermentation with Syrah grapes. It is unfiltered, unpasteurized, and 100% naturally conditioned in bottles, kegs, and casks. Bière de Syrah is 7.3% alcohol by volume, 9 IBU, 3.2 pH at the time of packaging in June 2015, and has a finishing gravity of 1.001 (0.25 degrees Plato).
Bière de Syrah will be released at Jester King when our tasting room opens at 4pm on Friday, July 31st. It will be available to go in 500ml bottles ($16/bottle, limit 1 per customer per day, approximately 2,700 bottles available). A very limited amount of Bière de Syrah will be available by the glass at our tasting room. We’ll be tapping one gravity keg (20L) of Bière de Syrah at 4pm on Friday, 1pm on Saturday, and 1pm on Sunday and selling 4 ounce pours while supplies last. Outside of special events, Bière de Syrah will only be available at our tasting room. The label art was created by our own Josh Cockrell.
Jester King Bière de Syrah
Syrah grapes prior to refermentation
59 days ago
We’re pleased to introduce 2015 Vernal Dichotomous — a blend of mature barrel-aged beer brewed with rosemary, lavender, and spearmint with young farmhouse ale refermented with Texas kumquats. 2015 Vernal Dichotomous is our fifth seasonal saison, and our first inspired by the spring. The Dichotomous series is our effort to present sensory characteristics from the various seasons of the year through beer. The particular season (in this case, spring) is representative of the time of year from which the beer received its inspiration, rather than, like most seasonal beers, when it is released. This is because our Dichotomous series, like all our beer, isn’t fermented in mere days or weeks using pure culture brewers yeast. Instead, it slowly ferments and develops over the course of months in the presence of our mixed culture of brewers yeast and native yeast and bacteria harvested from the Texas Hill Country.
For 2015 Vernal Dichotomous, we once again returned to the practice of bière de coupage, which involves blending or “cutting” old beer with young. In fact, the old beer we blended had been aging in oak barrels at our brewery for over two years. It was originally brewed in November 2012 with rosemary, lavender, and spearmint, and comes from the same old barrel stock we used in the blend of 2014 Hibernal Dichotomous. The old barrel stock was blended with young farmhouse ale refermented with kumquats. Here is our Head Brewer Garrett Crowell, in his own words, on his inspiration for 2015 Vernal Dichotomous and his decision to use kumquats:
“Spring is always a ‘fresh’ season to me, with everything tender and green. I felt the kumquats and the floral barrel-aged blended beer would approximate the delicate air of blossoming trees and flowers. The kumquats are the most springlike ingredient in the beer, as they were picked only a few days before going into the beer. So there is this interaction between the sensory and agricultural aspects of spring, that oftentimes are tangents of one another. There is even a metaphorical evolution of this season when tasting and smelling the beer. First you smell the flowers, and then the kumquats, just as you’d smell the citrus blossoms on the citrus tree followed by the citrus itself.”
The blend for 2015 Vernal Dichotomous contains old beer brewed in November 2012 with Hill Country well water, barley, wheat, hops, rosemary, lavender, and spearmint, and young beer brewed in March 2015 with Hill Country well water, barley, spelt, and hops. Both the old and young beer was fermented with a mixed culture of microorganisms consisting of brewers yeast and native yeast and bacteria harvested from the air and wildflowers around our brewery. As mentioned, the young beer was refermented with kumquats. 2015 Vernal Dichotomous was blended shortly before packaging on April 20, 2015. It is 100% naturally conditioned in bottles, kegs, and casks. 2015 Vernal Dichotomous is unfiltered, unpasteurized, 5.4 percent alcohol by volume, 20 IBU, 3.95 pH at the time of packaging, and has a finishing gravity of 1.001 (0.3 degree Plato).
2015 Vernal Dichotomous will be released at Jester King when our tasting room opens early for the holiday weekend at 12pm on Friday, July 3rd. It will be available by the glass, as well as to go in 750ml bottles ($14/bottle, limit 3 per customer per day). Approximately 3,700 bottles are available, and at this point, we do not anticipate 2015 Vernal Dichotomous being available outside of our tasting room, aside from special events. The label art was created by our own Josh Cockrell.
Head Brewer Garrett Crowell cutting kumquats
2015 Vernal Dichotomous