Jester King Craft Brewery

Blueberry FAIL

Texas blueberries refermenting in an oak barrel

We consider ourselves an experimental brewery. Part of what this means is we dump beer down the drain from time to time. If we were selling every drop of beer we made, that would mean we’d be selling you our failed experiments, which would not be cool.

Back in August of 2013, we refermented blueberries from the Tyler, Texas area with mature, barrel-aged, sour red ale. Unfortunately the beer turned acetic, which means it developed harsh, vinegary flavors. Acetic acid is our mortal enemy at our brewery. We despise it in beer. Our goal for all of our barrel aged, wild beer is for there to be a soft, lactic acidity. We go to great lengths to keep the development of acetic acid in our beer to an absolute minimum, primarily through temperature control of our barrel room. But sometimes, we still end up with beer that’s acetic, and sadly in the case of our blueberry refermentation, down the drain it went!

We’ll get more blueberries this summer and try again. We think we can make some changes to hopefully keep the beer from going acetic. Specifically, we relied on carbonic maceration of the blueberries with our first effort. Next time we plan on crushing the blueberries prior to refermentation. We may freeze them as well next time in order to potentially reduce amount of acetobacter, which is responsible for the production of acetic acid, on the skin of the fruit.

We of course like to make it known when things go right with our fermentations, so it’s only fair that we shed some light from time to time on when things go wrong! We’re just happy we can tell you this without you having to find out for yourself after purchasing the beer.

Texas blueberries prior to refermentation