On the long list of beverages in the world, beer takes a top position. It comes in different varieties from conventional beers to the most exotic ones. Sour beer is also gaining traction in the United States. What sets sour beer apart from the rest? Well, truth be told; sour beer is unique. Beer consumption is all about the experience, and sour beer offers a unique drinking experience in comparison to what you enjoy in other beers. You can’t help but wonder, aren’t all beers the same? Sour beer is made from different yeast other than what is used in the conventional beers. Nonetheless, it shares the same tradition of innovation and antiquity with the rest of the varieties.
The History Of Sour Beer
The demand for sour beer in the current beverage market has instigated scientists to research more about it. In their quest, they have discovered new yeasts and bacteria that make this beer one of a kind. The rise of sour beer started with a unique technique called the Belgium ancient lambic brewing. It involves leaving the sweet liquid extract from a grain mash and the wort out in an open cask. Here, the wort is exposed to both bacteria and yeast from the brewing room’s surroundings before the actual fermenting that goes on for up to three years. The fermentation is now set to take place in scrubbed wine barrels with low oxygen diffusion. The process imparts sherry characteristics, softens bitterness, and adds aromatic compounds that make the sour beer even more fascinating.
Sour Beer Microbial
Unlike other beers made of Sacc, sour beer is made of both the Brettanomyces yeast and the Lactobacillus bacteria. Conventional brewers consider these two beer elements as spoilage organisms. However, scientists in the study of sour beer admit that they are the contributors of the lactic acid that makes its flavor distinct.
With sour beer gaining wide acceptance in the market today, alliances are increasingly being formed between brewers and microbiologists. The partnerships are aimed at finding new brewing yeasts and bacteria that will improve the drinking experience of the sour beer. The sour beer can now be produced in great volumes to meet its market demand. Brewers admit that the sour beer is quickly selling compared to other beer varieties. Its sale is high to a tune of 16% this year compared to 2016 while breweries taking up its production are gradually creeping into the industry.
Making Of Sour Beer
Successful sour beer brewing involves two processes; the primary and secondary fermentation. In primary fermentation, the wort’s sugar is fermented into alcohol by an ethanol-producing yeast. The preferred yeast must be subjected to a narrow range of temperature in order to produce ethanol, the aromatic compounds, and a desirable flavor. As for secondary fermentation, the production of organic acids like the lactic acid and acetic acid that give the sour beer its taste is evidenced. With the introduction of a variety bacteria and wild yeast, a different mix of flavors is produced, ranging from fruity and floral to spicy and leathery.
The origin of sour beers is traced back in Belgium and Germany. Before the idea crossed borders to America, its production was already underway in these two European countries. However, the US brewers have added an interesting twist to the process with the addition of fruits and other ingredients to draw out more flavors than those created originally in Belgium like Gose, Lambic beer, and Berliner Weisse.
The beer was first discovered through spontaneous fermentation by natural yeasts. It is not different even in the contemporary world. Sour beer is produced by making use of these natural microbes in brew houses and barrel rooms to give it its local flavor and distinct character. It is made from unmalted wheat in combination with malted barley and oxidized hops that factor in the essential antibacterial properties. The turbid mash sustains the bacteria in the beer once fermentation is completed.
The sweet grain wort is placed into open barrels overnight for the purpose of cooling and also a collection of both bacteria and yeast from the open air. Later, the mixture is transferred to larger casks for the fermentation process, which roughly takes at least one year to achieve the required sour beer acidity.
To make the different types of sour beer, older and younger lambics are blended. The mixture is then subjected to a secondary fermentation process in bottles and added finishes and bubbling effects with the oak aroma, balanced acidity, and fruit esters. A perfect example is the fruit lambics that is made by introducing a whole fruit or just the pulp as an additive. The fruit plays a crucial role in balancing the acidity and also instigates secondary fermentation.
Sour beer is unique int that it appears to have gone the extra mile to attract people who were not previously enticed by beer. Just like wine, sour beer is prepared using similar criteria of blending, aging in oak casks, and in acidity and sweetness balancing. Therefore, if you are a lover of meat, cheese, and fruits, then you have a great accompaniment to sour beer.
Sour beers are light drinks with a generally dry finish. The science behind their manufacture is becoming less complicated because information is now readily available online. Moreover, they are now being produced with less waste and better consistency leading to more sales revenue. They are gaining appeal to many since they offer similar crispy and refreshing characters just as fine wine. Hence, if you are out tending to your kitchen garden on a hot day or just relaxing after having your dinner, then sour beer is among the most opportune beverage of choice.