Pucker Up

Sour Beer HRGrowler Review Recipie

Pucker Up: Sour beers are on the rise 

You may have noticed there’s always some new trend or “hot ticket” beer in the craft brew scene.

One month, it’s adding hot sauce to the brewing process. The next, it’s crafting a beer in such limited batches, people are selling it on the craft beer black market.

It’s fun to see what the breweries have in store next, but there’s one style gaining lots of new fans: sours. 

Sour beers get their tartness from certain bacteria, yeast strains and aging techniques, most commonly being stored in barrels for years at a time.

If you’re a newbie, you might want to start with Lindemans Framboise, a raspberry lambic that’s sweet as well as sour. It’s very sippable on its own, but is even easier to drink when mixed with a wheat beer.

New Belgium’s La Folie, a sour brown ale, might be an alternative gateway to sour love. Rich and malty like your typical brown ale, the additional oak barrel aging is where the acidic and fruity sourness emerge.

A few of the top American-made sours are by California-based brewer Russian River, but they’re hard to come by on the East Coast. Russian River is still a privately owned brewery; it only uses a handful of distributors, and the demand exceeds supply.

With monikers such as Supplication, Temptation and Consecration, these sours have lived up to their names and have become top-rated on beer fan sites. If you’re curious but don’t plan to visit the Philadelphia distribution area or don’t have a hookup on the West Coast, we’ve included a home brew recipe to try.

Get ’em while they’re hot, beer lovers. Discover (or further explore) the complex world of sours, and unearth those acidic brews that perfectly pucker your palate.

Beach Brewing Co. will release Alchemical REM (5.8 percent ABV, 6 IBU), a Berliner-style Weiss, Saturday, Jan.17. For more info, visit: beachbrewingcompany.com/alchemical-rem/

Homebrew recipe:

Beer Name: Russian River Consecration Clone
Beer Style: American Wild Ale \ Sour Ale
Recipe Type: All Grain
Batch Size: 5 Gallons
Mash Type: Single Infusion
 (60 Min), 158F Saccharification Rest (10 Min), 168F Mash Out
Grain Bill: 11 LBS Rahr 2-Row, 1/2 LBS Acid Malt, 1/4 LBS Carafa I
, 1/4 LBS Special B
Malt Hops: .5 oz Styrian Goldings (90 Min), 1 oz Sterling (30 Min), 1 oz Sterling (1 Min)
Other: 2 LBS Dark Belgian Cany Sugar Syrup (15 Min), Whirlfloc Tablet (5 Min)
, 1/2 LBS Dextrose (1 Min)
Yeast: Abbey Ale Liquid Yeast
Fermentation: For 3 Week Primary @ 65F.  Then add Wyeast Roselare Belgian Blend for 4 Months Primary @ 65F
Notes: At secondary fermentation when you add in the Wyeast Roselare Belgian Blend, you will also want to add 2 LBS of fresh or dried currants. Do you best not to let your temp go above 65 F. Taste the beer at about 3 months to gauge the sourness, if it is just about right then soak 4 Oz's of either oak cubes or oak chips in Cabernet Sauvignon (Vinnie Cilurzo from Russian River recommends using a Kenwood Cabernet Sauvignon since it is widely available and of good quality), place it in the fermenter and let the beer finish up for a month or two. As a last step, prior to bottling add some Rockpile RP-15 dry wine yeast to allow the beer to bottle condition.