Jester King Brewery is no stranger to the process of barrel aging beers with fruit, but its newest beer takes the aging part to a whole new level.
The newest beer from the Austin, Texas-based brewery is Bière de Syrah, a 7.3 percent ABV barrel-aged sour beer refermented with syrah grapes from the 2014 harvest in California. The beer was first fermented in oak barrels for nine to 12 months with ” a mixed culture of brewers yeast and native yeast and bacteria harvested from the air and wildflowers around our brewery” before being fermented with the Syrah grapes for two weeks. The fruit was then separated from the beer, and it was aged for an additional nine months in oak barrels before being transferred to bottles for an additional two months of conditioning before being released.
According to Jester King, Bière de Syrah is about two-years-old and received significantly more time aging then most of its other fruited sour releases.
“This is due to the fact that our Barrel Program Head Adrienne Ballou likes the practice of racking (transferring) beer refermented with wine grapes back into oak barrels for further maturation,” reads a posts on Jester King’s website. “Adrienne came to Jester King from the wine world and brought several winemaking techniques with her. According to Adrienne, maturation in oak barrels following fruit refermentation allows the beer to take on more complex characteristics than just bright fruit character and acidity.”
Bière de Syrah is the fourth sour beer that Jester King has brewed with grapes, following Cerveza de Tempranillo (9.4 percent ABV) utilizing tempranillo wine grapes in early 2014; Bière de Merlot (8.5 percent ABV) utilizing Texas-grown merlot grapes in early 2014 and Bière de Blanc du Bois (6.7 percent ABV) utilizing Texas-grown Blanc du Bois grapes in late 2014.
Bière de Syrah will be packaged in 500ml bottles ($16) and will be available today. There will be a one bottle per person per day limit. About 2,700 total bottles were produced.