Podcast Episode 114: Phil Joyce of Amalgam and Westbound & Down on What Does (and Doesn’t) Matter in Mixed-Culture and Sour Beer

Creating sour and funky beers with depth involves many factors. But according to Phil Joyce, those factors aren't what you may think. Malt? Don't sweat it. Hops? Maybe. Water profile? Definitely. Yeast? Obviously.

Jamie Bogner Dec 22, 2019


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There are as many ways to make sour and funky beers as there are brewers, but for Phil Joyce of Amalgam Brewing (Denver, Colorado) and Westbound & Down Brewing (Idaho Springs, Colorado), the things some brewers focus on have less impact on the finished beer than the things they tend to overlook. In this episode, Joyce tackles some misconceptions, and shares the things that make their sour and funky beer successful:
- Water chemistry has one of the biggest long-term impacts on texture and mouthfeel - The first 7-14 days of fermentation are far more important then the following 6-18 months - Stacking and staggering yeast pitches, while incorporating yeasts typically used in other styles, can create building blocks for the mixed culture to work on - A slow start tends to produce more nuanced beer over the long run - Most fruit is one dimensional, but ingredient and process tweaks can produce far more complex and interesting beers.

Toward the end of the episode, Joyce moves past sour beer and delves into their process around ingredient additions in their highly regarded Underground Breakfast barrel-aged imperial stout.

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Jamie Bogner is the Cofounder and Editorial Director of Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine®. Email him at [email protected].