Podcast Episode 270: Sapwood Cellars Turns Research into Creative Practice with Hoppy and Wild Beers

Helmed by authors Michael Tonsmiere and Scott Janish, Sapwood Cellars’ shared focus on hop-forward beers and oak-aged mixed fermentations was a given. However, over the past four years, they’ve pushed into new territory and found spaces for even more creative exploration.

Jamie Bogner Oct 28, 2022 - 5 min read

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What do you get when Michael Tonsmiere, aka the Mad Fermentationist and author American Sour Beers, joins forces with Scott Janish, author of The New IPA, start a brewery in a Maryland suburb between Baltimore and Washington, D.C.? Pretty much what you’d expect: a brewery that tends to focus on creative expressions in the pale ale and IPA space, as well as progressive approaches to wood-aged, funky, and sour beers. Yet Sapwood Cellars has done much more than just meet expectations over their first four years of existence—they’ve also honed approaches to both of these focuses, while creatively blending the two with smart mash-ups in the liminal space between them.

In this episode, the founders of Sapwood discuss:

  • the evolutionary “royal rumble” process behind their mixed-fermentation program
  • building intensity of flavor and points of difference for broader experiences
  • controlling acidity through processes such as co-pitching Sacch when adding fruit or dry-hopping tart, oak-aged beers
  • multi-step fermentations with wine yeast
  • employing more potent hops to hold flavor at lower pH levels
  • avoiding oxidized hop flavors in sour beer through careful barrel preparation
  • aggressive rousing of dry-hopped beers at cold temps
  • using hops high in survivable compounds on the hot side
  • maximizing thiols with new yeast strains
  • finding synergies in hops that produce more than just “generic” tropical flavors
  • the problem with Galaxy hops

And more.

This episode is brought to you by:

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