Jester King Craft Brewery

Wild Primary Fermentation in Oak

We’ve begun taking portions of our farmhouse ale wort and having it undergo primary fermentation in oak barrels with Brettanomyces. Our goal in fermenting some of the farmhouse wort with brett instead of standard brewers yeast (Saccharomyces), is to create a series of barrels exhibiting an additional layer of complexity that we can draw upon when it ultimately becomes time to blend the finished beer. We expect the barrels with 100% Brettanomyces fermentation to have a somewhat more intense level of funk and rustic, barnyard character than their counterparts that undergo primary fermentation with brewers yeast before a long term secondary fermentation in barrels with wild yeast and bacteria.

Again, our goal in doing some 100% Brettanomyces fermentations is to have an additional range or array of flavors to draw from when it comes time to start blending. With blending I’ve always been partial to the analogy of a chef choosing various ingredients to prepare a dish. We have some individual barrels that are tart, sour, citrusy, spicy, relatively sweet and funky. The oak primary fermentations with brett will lend us a few new flavors, or ingredients, to choose from when we start crafting the finished beer.