Kyle and Clark are swingin’ for the greens with Brew&A #3! We tee off our third Brew&A focused on our Jenny’s Raspberry Sour and which we began originally with just a 15-gallon batch in 2017 where this year we upped it to a whopping 30-barrel batch. Our Jenny’s Raspberry Sour is the official tournament beer for the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational that is an official stop on the LPGA Tour. This time around we cover the history, the process, the story behind the Jenny’s Raspberry Sour and a few other topics. Let’s get it started and hit the links! (Or questions, we’re excited)
Clark: The original thought behind the Jenny’s Raspberry Sour, tell me about where it came from.
Kyle: We began with brewing just a 15-gallon batch, because no one here really knew how to brew a sour and I only knew how to in theory. We gave it a go and it went well. From there we realized a need for more fruit beers and with how fruit and sours go together, it sort-of just grew from there.
C: You could say it just so happened to come to fruit-ition?
K: It definitely just came to fruit-ition.
C: So, you mentioned you didn’t have any actual experience with brewing sours when you started; Did this lead to a lot of trial and error, where mistakes made?
K: A lot of it came down to research and I reached out to some of the brewers that I knew at the time and just asked them about what they do. We started out with a straight bacteria pitch with a pretty mild lactobacillus strain and now I know a whole lot more about them, but at the time it was a whole new world.
C: *Performs serenading rendition of “A Whole New World” from Aladdin*
C: You mentioned you consulted some other brewers for advice about brewing sours. Is it a normal thing amongst those that find themselves in the craft beer industry to work together and collaborate?
K: Yeah, in general the brewers are very collaborative amongst each other. A lot of us share or bounce the ideas of recipes and techniques off each other for feedback or thoughts on such things. True brewers are more about making their beer and not always focused on beating someone else. It is a collaborative art in this industry.
C: We talked about making sure that a sour isn’t contaminated beyond the intentional contamination with the Margarita Gose in Brew&A #1. Is this the same aspect when working with the JRS or is there other possibilities that can occur because of the different fruit being used.
K: It’s pretty much the same process with kettle sours each time, but this was different as we were doing a 30-barrel batch with a 15-barrel brewhouse. That called for us to do a 15, let it sit in the boil kettle and then brew another 15, let that sit all before moving it to the fermenter. That waiting period is crucial, because there’s no yeast to combat it and it being a low IBU beer makes it easier for the batch to be contaminated beyond the intended purpose.
C: With this being a fruit-heavy beer, what types of food would you pair this with?
K: Ice cream, especially a lime ice or even a sherbet! It would probably go really well with breakfast, like pancakes.
C: Day drinking it is, everyone.
C: How come this sour is a cloudy sour beer? It’s not as transparent as the Margarita Gose or Mango Sour so what’s different between those and the JRS?
K: It’s caused by the sheer volume of fruit that we have added. Inherently, fruit contains pectin which causes haze and correlates with the amount of raspberry that we add to the batch.
C: So, this year Jenny’s Raspberry Sour was a special beer. It was the official tournament beer of the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational of the LPGA Tour. Was there anything that made brewing this beer a challenge or that really made this unique?
K: Yeah, it was a cool experience. We met with their people and they were looking for a good summer beer, so I thought the Raspberry Sour would be a good fit. When Dave asked if we could brew 30-barrels, I realized I hadn’t thought about that part so this would be our first double brew of a kettle sour. That had me a little worried and I was stressing out, but it turned out great and learned some things from it.
C: You’re saying we added A LOT of raspberry, so we need to let the people what we mean by A LOT. How much did actually add?
K: We added just over 900 pounds. This beer has the highest ratio of fruit-to-barrel of all of our beers that we have ever made.
C: How does the process of adding the raspberries take place and when during the brewing process does that happen?
K: We do that at the end of fermentation. Once the beer has fermented, we add in the fruit before we crash cool the tank. Then after it has sat for a bit and the fermentable sugars that are present and have been fermented, we crash cool it.
C: How many different types of bacteria are out there that can be used in the brewing of sour beers?
K: Thousands. There are thousands of different strains of bacteria. Here I use a solo strain, but in breweries that specialize in sours they study bacteria like I study hops.
C: With the sour and Gose fad that seems to be on the rise, what would you like to see other breweries experiment with, and consumers be more receptive to?
K: I would like to see more people open to the funky sours. When you see weird descriptive words like, “horse blanket”, they might get freaked out. However, when they try it, they realize that’s a good word to describe it.
C: What’s the average shelf-life of a sour?
K: Some sours last a long time; It depends on the intentions it was brewed for. Some age well and will continue to mellow out, meld together. Sours may have residual sugars that will keep the bacteria busy and the beer will continually change.
Well, all good things must come to an end and sadly this is the end to Brew&A #3. As always, thank you for reading! We hope you either learned something or at least found it interesting and you managed to kill some time.
Check out our Jenny’s Raspberry Sour Cheesecake Recipe!
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