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Recipe: Soul Barrel Wild African Soul

Based in the wine-growing region about 40 miles northeast of Cape Town, South Africa, Soul Barrel brewed this funky riff on umqombothi in collaboration with Tolokazi—a team of predominantly women brewers making traditional African beers.

Nick Smith Jun 15, 2024 - 4 min read

Recipe: Soul Barrel Wild African Soul Primary Image

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At the 2023 African Beer Cup, this beer won the African Celebration Award, which goes to the highest-scoring beer that uses traditional African ingredients; it also won a gold medal in the Alternative Fermentables Beer category.

Wild African Soul starts as a batch of umqombothi, but after the initial fermentation it is blended in a wine barrel with saison for secondary fermentation and maturation. According to Soul Barrel founder-brewer Nick Smith, the idea is to explore the similarities between American-style mixed-culture beers and traditional sorghum beer—both often featuring spontaneously introduced yeast and lactic fermentation.


Batch size: 5 gallons (19 liters)
Brewhouse efficiency: 72%
OG: 1.055, base saison
FG: 1.012, base saison after primary, ~1.000 post-maturation
ABV: ~7%

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Nick Smith is the founder and brewer at Soul Barrel Brewing in Simondium, South Africa.