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Finding Success with Sours

Effectively working with mixed-culture fermentation and barrel aging can be a tricky, time-intensive business. Three of the industry’s best offer their insights.

Tom Wilmes Apr 27, 2016 - 11 min read

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Like many makers of wild and sour ales, Jester King Founder Jeffrey Stuffings adopts a philosophical attitude when it comes to time and space. Namely, if allowed ample time and appropriate space, wild yeast and bacteria can coalesce to create a multitude of interesting and unexpected flavors and aromas in a beer. But of course, the results aren’t entirely predictable, and the timeline is never linear.

“Everything takes a backseat to our microorganisms,” says Stuffings, who notes that his beers typically require anywhere from four months to a year of fermentation time before release.

“Our most expensive ingredient is time,” he says. “To paraphrase Jean Van Roy of Cantillon: ‘I’m not a brewmaster. I’m simply a companion of the beer.’”

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