Friday, April 18, 2014

Introducing Council Brewing's Barrel Program

It's finally time to share some information about Council Brewing. I've been waiting to release information as I wanted to ensure everything was going to happen (unlike a previous attempt with another brewery). It is now official. I can say this because there is an article in a real publication (San Diego Reader) and it even has my picture and name in it.

I have known Liz and Curtis Chism for a couple years through our homebrew club, QUAFF. They were always interested in sampling my sour beers and it was good to get feedback from them since they both have great palettes. When they heard I was no longer going to help with Urban Jungle Brewing, they asked if I was interested in doing a similar program at Council Brewing. This was an easy decision, but I didn't want to get too excited until the opportunity was more "real".

Well, it's "real". Council Brewing is fully licensed (we could sell beer now!) and permitted. Liz and Curtis are  finishing construction and assembling the 3 BBL system from Stout Tanks. The plan is to ferment in plastic conicals on bases with wheels that can be moved in and out of the partitioned cold room. We actually received the old fermenters from Mike Hess of Hess Brewing and will be adding a few more to have a nice variety of beer on tap. The Chism's have been brewing for quite a while and have done well to understand a lot of different styles. The flagship beer or even "core beers" will be determined by the customers. The goal for the barrel program is to always keep at least one sour or Brett beer on tap. I'm not sure of the demand we'll have for it, but we should find out quickly. 

Here are some of the highlights of the sour and barrel program:

Sour Table Saison Solera - This will be my work horse beer and the one project I'm the most excited about. I have currently been experimenting with 3 different blends:

  • ECY 029 - Sam at Eureka Brewing sent me this blend and it is isolated from Alvinne. So far it has a very nice clean citrus character with a nice mild tartness after about a week. It is not attenuating well so a Sach or Brett strain will probably be needed.
  • Cascade Blend - Bryan at Slow Beer and Wild Yeast sent me this blend. Currently, this is my least favorite of the strains. It is pretty mild with only a slight tartness.
  • Master Blend - Robert Masterson, this is a blend of dregs from Hill Farmstead and Sante Adairius Saison Bernice and some additional White Labs Dupont strain. This blend is very nice, it has just enough Saison character and develops some acidity quite quickly.
The idea behind the solera is that I can keep the lactic acid bacteria culture happy by feeding it often. The wort will come from brewing extra Saison wort and running it off as soon as it comes to a boil, then diluting it down to ~1.036. (We are even toying with the idea of using second runnings from some of our big beers). I'm not sure of the frequency of pulls and the volume yet as that will be determined by my results. This base beer will be served as is and with different flavorings (seasonal fruit, dry hopped, Brett finished). I'm obviously very excited about this project and it will be neat to see how it progresses.

Draft Faro (or pFaro or pharo): This will be the Sour Table Saison with Belgian candi sugar and served on cask. 

White Wine Barrel Fermented Saison: We will be brewing this next week and it will be strongly based on the success of the Chardonnay Barrel Saison. We sourced the barrels from a local winery and should be ready be late summer.

Red Wine Barrel Fermented Flanders Red - More barrels from a local winery with my most recent Flanders Red recipe and using my 4th generation Roeselare strain. It should be ready by Council Brewing's First Anniversary.

A few other styles I want to work into the pipeline:
Biere de Mars - Here's a good write-up on the style
Cognac Barrel Aged 100% Brett Belgian Quad
Barrel Aged Oud Bruin with sour cherries

To keep up to date on the progress - check out the Facebook Page or Instagram


  1. Congrats on the project. Invite me down for an upcoming brew day.

    1. A bunch of these replies got stuck in my SPAM folder. Sorry about that or I would have invited you yesterday.
      We will probably have another barrel filling brew day next month if you are interested.

  2. Awesome news! I think this is a really smart move for Liz and Curtis to pair with you. A freshing, tart simple table sour is what a local brewery needs as a standard offering.

    Can't wait for a tasting session

    1. I think it will be a nice addition to the tap list. It will be very interesting to see the demand for the beer.

      We will be having a soft opening soon for friends and family. I'll keep you posted.

  3. Congratulations! Sounds like a great plan. I'd love to hear how it develops and what you've learned as you go on with it.

  4. Very awesome Jeff! Sour beer in San Diego in those small amounts isn't going to last long!

    I am really surprised that the Cascade culture that you received from Bryan is so mild. I've used Cascade dregs before, and the result was a VERY sour and fruity beer. I did a lot of aging on the first round, but the stuff soured up a brown ale on the second generation within 3 months. Or maybe I am missing something in regards to your culture. =)

    1. For souring I want it to be tart within a couple weeks. The idea is to try to keep this beer on a short production rotation.

  5. This is very exciting, sounds like you have some awesome things planned out. If I only I lived closer, road trip!

  6. Looks like you have everything moving in the right direction. The solera sounds incredible, and the flexibility you're retaining with your approach will make it even better, I'm sure. It'll be interesting to see how your Flanders Red (a great beer!) translates in larger scale. Keep us posted!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...