Jester King Craft Brewery

Jester King Black Metal

Tomorrow, May 8th, when our tasting room opens at 4pm, we’ll be releasing our first batch of Black Metal Farmhouse Imperial Stout since the fall of 2013. Black Metal has always been an interesting beer for us. It originated from a time when our tastes sometimes brought us toward more extreme beers. It was also originally fermented with pure cultured brewers yeast (White Labs 007 — English Dry Ale to be exact). Since we first brewed Black Metal with pure cultured brewers yeast in 2010, the beer has evolved, much like our brewery. In the fall of 2011, we began using French Saison yeast (Wyeast 3711), another pure culture strain, for all our primary fermentations. Out of this came “Farmhouse Black Metal”, which we liked better than its English Ale yeast counterpart, but definitely drew the ire of those who enjoyed the previous version! Eventually, during the latter half of 2013, we became enamored with working with native micro-flora for fermentation, so as to better create a sense of place in our beer. Out of this inspiration came our house mixed culture of microorganisms consisting of brewers yeast and native yeast and bacteria harvested from the air and wildflowers around our brewery in the Texas Hill Country. Our Head Brewer Garrett Crowell created our mixed culture, which we’ve used to ferment all of our beer, aside from our 100% spontaneously fermented beer, from the summer of 2013 to present day.

Tomorrow’s release marks the first batch of Black Metal fermented with our house mixed culture. Naturally, because of its unique fermentation with native microorganisms, the beer is different than previous versions. We’re quite happy with how it turned out, and we’re excited to release it. However, for fans of the original Black Metal, or “O.G. Black Metal” as it’s known, we feel as though we need to borrow the famous line from Stone Brewing Co.‘s Arrogant Bastard Ale: “You probably won’t like it.” Like all our beer, the flavors and aromas of the current batch of Black Metal are very much fermentation derived and rely far less on copious amounts of malt and hops. This is what we like to drink. We like dry, balanced, drinkable, tart beers with some interesting yeast complexity. We feel we’ve achieved this with Black Metal, and hope others enjoy it as well. There will be those that don’t, however, and wish we’d return to the days of fermenting this beer with English ale yeast, and that’s OK. We’d just bring up one of our favorite and most inspirational brewing quotes, which we’ve actually chosen to display on the label of this batch:

Black Metal was brewed in October of 2014 with Hill Country well water, malted barley, oats, and hops, and fermented in stainless steel with our house mixed culture for five months. It was packaged in March of 2015 and was 100% naturally refermented in bottles, kegs, and casks. Black Metal is 9.1% alcohol by volume, has a finishing gravity of 1.015, was 3.6 pH at the time of packaging.

Black Metal will be released at Jester King when our tasting room opens on Friday, May 8th at 4pm. It will be available by the glass, as well as to go in 750ml bottles ($12, limit 3 per customer per day). Approximately 3,000 bottles are available. Some of this batch of Black Metal (Batch 16) will be distributed to on-premise accounts.