Jester King Craft Brewery

First 100% Spontaneously Fermented Beer Bottling


Today was a special day here at Jester King! We bottled our first 100% spontaneously fermented beer! Back in February of 2013, we began filling our coolship with wort and allowing it to chill overnight, exposed to the native microorganisms in the air. We then racked the wort into oak barrels and allowed it to ferment 100% spontaneously — meaning that we did not pitch yeast. Rather, fermentation was the by-product of native microorganisms that exist all around us at our ranch in the Texas Hill Country. Why are we doing this? We’re seeking to make a beer inextricably linked to a particular time and place, never to be precisely recreated again. Beer that has a sense of place and time is what intrigues us, and motivates us to be immensely patient with a project that is now three years old.

Yesterday, we blended our first 100% spontaneously fermented beer. We created a three-year vertical blend of coolship beer from the winter of 2013, winter of 2014, and winter of 2015. Today we’re packaging the blend in 750ml and 375ml bottles, as well as kegs. We opted for olive green bottles with a cork and cap finish. The blend will condition in bottles and kegs for quite some time. One often overlooked component of farmhouse ales and spontaneously fermented beers is the importance of the time the beer spends refermenting in the serving vessel. We anticipate our spontaneous beer will spend six to nine months slowly refermenting in the bottle prior to release. Why are we committing so much time to a beer that’s already partially three years old? “Magical” things happen in the bottle over time! As the yeast struggles to survive in a hostile environment that’s low in nutrients, higher in alcohol, lower in pH, and that has pressure building from the CO2, it tends to behave differently and produce some very interesting flavors and aromas. That’s why we view the refermentation phase that our spontaneous beer goes through, starting today, to be absolutely critical.

Ultimately, if all goes well, the beer will be ready for release in several months. We’re hopeful this will be sometime in 2016. Until then, we’re very excited to see this special project finally begin to materialize into something that can be shared with beer drinkers and that is an embodiment of a particular place and time.