Getting all Experimental: 5.0

King Leonidas knows his beers... In embarking on this venture oh so long ago (seems ages now), I remember telling myself that even though it's going to be a long, arduous & bumpy journey - to simply remember to appreciate the small things, the tiny victories, the many reasons that when put together, assisted in the ultimate launch of GrassLands. In looking back at our recurring Getting all Experimental series (see versions 1.0, 2.0, 3.0 & 4.0), I quickly could see the fun I was having when I got the chance to try something different. That's what this week was all about.

For those of you receiving our Fermentation Fridays newsletter (if you're not, get with the picture!), we've been teasing the idea of a collaboration brew with GrassHopper Andrew P. for a while now - I'm sure he's been feeling a little teased as well, considering this was an idea born several months ago and now it's finally come to fruition. As you very well know, we've become entranced by the awesomeness that is the sour beer. If there's one thing that the seasoned vets in the NFBL and BOA are good at, it's souring up some malt beverages :D. I can only hope to join their ranks!

So with the motive firmly set in place, Andrew P. and I came up with the idea to put our own stamp on The Bruery's Tart of Darkness - a sweet stout that's soured with a yeast blend primarily composed of Lactobacillus ("Lacto"), Brettanomyces ("Brett") and Lambicus ("Lambic) strains. The yeast itself is called "Roselare" - which is what we used in Wednesday night's brew - lovingly being referred to as This...Is...TARTA!!! For those of you who've seen the awesome movie "300", you'll get the joke.

We were helped by our awesome GrassHoppers: Andrew P., Thomas C., Mike E., Corey F., Sean P., & Brantley C. - hard not to make a good batch of beer with the talent at GrassLands' HQ! Ultimately, this will be a heavy oatmeal stout that'll sour over the course of 6-9 months. Around 6 months, Andrew P. and I will split if off (currently fermenting in one vessel) in equal amounts and infuse bourbon-soaked oak in one and sour cherries in the other. The end product should be something extremely complex - a sweet(ish) stout that has a slight puckering sour taste to it with a slick & full mouthfeel. I seriously cannot wait to see how this sucker turns out.

This...Is...TARTA!!! is an example of innovation in brewing - taking a style and flipping it on its head. We love the experimental approaches being used and celebrated in the craft beer industry - and we're very eager to help further that cause. As we've mentioned in the past, GrassLands will launch with 10 taps - and once we get brewing, 2-3 of those 10 taps will always, repeat ALWAYS be designated as special/experimental releases that are taproom only. How cool is that? Throw in a barrel aging program and the locals will be salivating! :P

So we'll keep track of this one for you guys & gals. It was rocking merely a few hours after we pitched the highly active Roselare yeast, so stay tuned!

Yeast_StarterNext week we get down to some basics. I've learned that many of you dear readers are relative novices in the brewing arena and there are some things that I refer to that aren't quite as easy to understand as I make it sound. With that in mind, we'll make the next several weeks dedicated toward some of the basics of brewing; leading off with perhaps one of the most important steps: Creating the yeast starter!

So with that said, have an excellent weekend, my dear readers, because you most definitely freakin' deserve it!

Prost!