Jester King Craft Brewery

Texas Department of Agriculture Feature on La Cruz de Comal Wines

6 days ago

Here’s a video from the Texas Department of Agriculture on La Cruz de Comal Wines and our friend Lewis Dickson. We love his philosophy on making unprocessed, natural wine unique to the Texas Hill Country. “My secret is that there is no secret.”


Introducing Jester King Bière de Blanc du Bois

7 days ago

We’re pleased to introduce Jester King Bière de Blanc du Bois — a barrel aged, sour beer refermented with Texas-grown Blanc du Bois grapes. Bière de Blanc du Bois is the creation of Adrienne Ballou, Head of the Barrel Program at Jester King. Adrienne came to us about two years ago, having previously studied viticulture at U.C. Davis and worked in the wine industry in France. During her time at Jester King, she has implemented numerous wine making techniques into our fermentations, including our use of punch downs during our fruit refermentations. Punch downs lead to better flavor and color extraction from the fruit during refermentation and aid in keeping acetic acid development (think vinegar) at bay. Bière de Blanc du Bois is one of the special projects that Adrienne has worked on over the last several months. Here is her description of the inspiration, process, and presentation:

“At the start of this year’s past harvest, our friend Doug Lewis, from Lewis Wines, contacted us about some extra Blanc du Bois grapes from east Texas that he would have available. Blanc du Bois, an American hybrid, is an interesting varietal that is often overlooked in the wine world. My interest in this varietal began during my time working in the experimental vineyards at U.C. Davis. The varietal was released by the University of Florida in the 1970s and is a cross between Cardinal, an American species, and Florida D6-148, a cross between several Vitis Vinifera species including Golden Muscat. The varietal was bred to be resistant to Pierce’s Disease, a bacterial disease that often affects grapevines in the south/southeast region of the United States.

When it comes to our fruit refermentations, we often look to the wine world for inspiration. Most winemakers, when making white wine, immediately press the skins off the juice prior to fermentation. For this beer, we decided to take an unconventional approach to how we would use the grapes; we decided to look to the world of orange wine. The techniques used to make these wines have their origins in ancient Georgian winemaking. What makes them unique is that instead of separating the skin from the juice, winemakers leave the skin, and sometimes the stems and seeds, in contact with the juice (or must) during primary fermentation. Some producers will even ferment and age the wine in amphoras placed underground with the skins in contact for several years. This type of aging provides a controlled environment for slow, oxidative aging. These techniques result in some of the most intriguing, complex wines I have had. On the palate, they present more along the lines of a red wine with bold structure and round tannins. In the aromatics you often get slight notes of oxidation, spices, honeysuckle, fruit, etc.

With the release of Bière de Blanc du Bois, we will also be offering glass pours of an orange wine produced by Donkey & Goat Winery out of Berkeley, CA. Donkey & Goat is one of the true pioneers of natural winemaking methods in the California wine industry. This wine, Stone Crusher, is made with 100% Roussanne grapes from El Dorado, CA. The fermentation is in open-top wood vats and has a 14 day contact time with the skins.”

Bière de Blanc du Bois was brewed with Hill Country well water, barley, wheat, and hops. It was fermented with our unique mixed culture of microorganisms, which includes farmhouse yeasts, naturally occurring wild yeasts harvested from our air and land in the Texas Hill Country, and native souring bacteria. After extended fermentation and maturation in oak barrels, it was refermented with Texas-grown Blanc du Bois grapes. Bière de Blanc du Bois is 6.7% alcohol by volume, 3.2 pH, and has a finishing gravity of 1.004 (1.0 degree Plato). It is unfiltered, unpasteurized, and 100% naturally conditioned. The artwork for Bière de Blanc du Bois was created by our in-house artist Josh Cockrell.

Bière de Blanc du Bois will be released at Jester King Brewery when our tasting room opens at 4pm on Friday, December 19th. It will be for sale by the glass, as well as in bottles to go (500ml x $16). Approximately 800 bottles are available with a limit of one bottle per customer per day. Aside from a few special events, Bière de Blanc du Bois will be available exclusively at Jester King. As Adrienne mentioned, we’ve created a special optional pairing for Bière de Blanc du Bois with Stone Crusher from Donkey & Goat Winery. We think the similarities in ingredients, techniques, appearance, aromas, and flavors between Bière de Blanc du Bois and Stone Crusher will make for an interesting comparison and sensory experience. This pairing will be available at our tasting room by the glass while supplies last. Below are photos of Jester King Bière de Blanc du Bois, as well as a few photos from the refermentation in oak barrels with Blanc du Bois grapes.

Jester King Bière de Blanc du Bois

Jester King Bière de Blanc du Bois 500ml bottle & label art

Sampling and performing punch downs on Blanc du Bois refermentation

Adrienne Ballou performing punch downs on Blanc du Bois refermentation

Blanc du Bois grapes refermenting with sour beer in an oak barrel


Jester King Homebrew Recipes

17 days ago

We love homebrewers here at Jester King. Most of us started out as homebrewers, and we always appreciated brewers who were generous enough to give out their recipes. We’ve been receiving a number of requests recently for several of our recipes, particularly those for Black Metal, Commercial Suicide, and Wytchmaker, and we’re happy to pass them along, from Head Brewer Garrett Crowell.

Black Metal Imperial Stout

These are the percentages for Black Metal. Apply them how you would like to your homebrew set up!

OG: 1.085, FG: 1.010-1.015

77% Pale 2-Row
5% Roasted Barley
4% Chocolate Malt
4% Black Malt
2% Crystal 60L
2% Crystal 120L
2% Brown Malt
4% Carafa III

Hops: ~40 IBUs of Columbus @ 90mins

- 90 minute boil

- Primary fermentation with Wyeast 3711 (French Saison Yeast)

Also, Funk Metal is the same base beer so if you’re into some experimentation here’s the process for an approximate version of it:

Inoculate with either a sour blend from whitelabs/wyeast etc., or pitch your favorite unpasteurized sour beer bottle dregs after primary fermentation is finished. If you want more acidity, I’d recommend adding souring bacteria and yeast alongside the 3711 during primary fermentation.

Commercial Suicide Dark Mild

OG: 1.024, FG 1.000

72% Pilsner
7% Crisp Brown malt
7% Crystal 45L
6% Crisp Chocolate
6% Flaked Oats
3% Crisp Amber

Hops: 20 IBUs of goldings @ 60min.

Same fermentation schedule as Black Metal…3711 for a clean beer, or add sour beer bottle dregs for a funkier beer (highly recommended!)

Wytchmaker Rye IPA

OG 1.059, FG 1.000(with wild yeast)

85% Pale Two-Row
15% Weyermann Organic Rye

Hops: 55 IBUs total – you’ll have to play with the additions, as they don’t translate well from production to homebrew scale.
Goldings at 60min (most of your bittering addition)
Chinook at 10min
Falconer’s Flight + Zythos (50/50) during whirlpool
Dry Hop: equal parts Falconer’s Flight, Simcoe, Citra

This also receives the same fermentation schedule as the above two beers. Again, I prefer this beer fermented with a mixed culture of wild yeast and bacteria over single strain lab yeast… Maybe try both!


Garrett Crowell & Adrienne Ballou on Mixed Culture Fermentation

21 days ago

Recently, Jester King Head Brewer Garrett Crowell and Barrel Program Head Adrienne Ballou gave a talk on mixed culture fermentation at the Austin Fermentation Festival. Here is the audio from the talk, where Garrett and Adrienne discuss how Jester King goes about fermenting its beers, how its mixed culture of yeast and bacteria was created, and what mixed culture fermentation means to us. We hope you enjoy listening!


Introducing Jester King Figlet — Our Collaboration With Franklin Barbecue

35 days ago

We’re very excited to introduce Jester King Figlet, brewed in collaboration with the world famous Franklin Barbecue in Austin, Texas! We love working with local artisans doing exceptional and creative things in the food and beverage world, and Franklin Barbecue is of course no exception.

The original impetus for this collaboration came from the filming of an upcoming episode of BBQ With Franklin, which will air on KLRU-TV, Austin PBS. Aaron Franklin set out to explore the use of smoke in beer making for the episode. We wanted to branch out beyond the traditional use of smoked malt and opted to take a local ingredient that was in season — Texas figs — and use it as a medium to impart characteristics from Franklin’s barbecue pits into the beer. Local figs were caramelized with heat and cold smoked at Franklin Barbecue. Aaron charred a portion of the figs, which imparted a subtle burnt, almost leathery, character to the beer. The base beer was designed to integrate the flavors and aromas of the smoked figs with our house fermentation characteristics, which stem from mixed culture fermentation with a blend of brewer’s yeast, wild yeast from the Texas Hill Country, and native souring bacteria. While we typically brew beer with a sizable majority of pilsner malt in the grist, in this case our Head Brewer Garrett Crowell opted for a base of Dark Munich malt, which he felt complemented the smoky and lightly caramelized character of the figs.

Figlet was brewed in early July of 2014 with Hill Country well water, barley, oats, and hops. It then underwent a long-term fermentation over the course of four months, first in stainless steel and then in bottles, kegs, and casks. As is the case with all our beer, the aromas and flavors are largely created by giving a diverse array of microorganisms, many of which are native to our land in the Texas Hill Country, the ample time they need to work with each other (or against each other!) to create unique characteristics inexorably tied to our land. During the last few weeks of the stainless steel portion of the fermentation, the smoked figs were added to the beer and allowed to referment. During this process, the sugars in the figs were broken down by yeast and bacteria. Through refermentation, the aromas and flavors of the smoked figs were transformed, integrated, and elevated in a way that we believe is greater than the sum of their parts. Figlet is 6.2% alcohol by volume, 1.006 specific gravity, and had a pH of 3.7 at the time of bottling in early September.

Figlet will be released at Jester King Brewery when our tasting room opens at 4pm on Friday, November 21st. It will be available by the glass, as well as to go in 750ml bottles ($12, limit 2 per customer per day). Approximately 3,500 bottles are available, and at this point, we do not anticipate Figlet being available outside of Jester King, apart from a few special events. The label art for Figlet was done in house by our own Josh Cockrell.

We’d like to offer a very special thank you to Aaron Franklin for working with us to create our collaboration beer, as well to KLRU-TV, Austin PBS for documenting the process!

Jester King Figlet

(left to right) Banjo, Garrett Crowell, Jeffrey Stuffings, Aaron Franklin, Ron Extract, Adrienne Ballou

Jester King Head Brewer Garrett Crowell with Aaron Franklin during filming for KLRU-TV BBQ With Franklin


« Older