Notes from New Belgium Blending Symposium
I’ve had these on my note pad since Seattle Beer Week so I decided I need to put them online and store them where I could find it again.
They are as follows.
New Belgium Blending Symposium – Seattle Beer Week – 5/16/2012 – Stumbling Monk, Seattle WA
Hosts are Eric & Laura Salazar from New Belgium Brewing
- 10 people per panel in every taste test, look for trends, 70 testers in total
- Trial & Error is key, there are no easy solutions
- 7000 Hectolitres of Wood & Barrels
All the sour beers start from two different worts, a light and a dark.
- Dark Wort
- La Folie
- Light Wort
- Eric’s Ale
- Le Terroir
- Higher ABV
Both worts are brewed with a lager strain in stainless steel. Must reach terminal gravity before any acidification processes
Acidification takes place in wood. Add any juices after acidification, then add yeast and blend.
Things to keep in mind with wood
- Too much headspace is bad
- Organic Materials (Beer Stone, Calcium) is bad, scrape out the wood.
- Cleaning, use Soda Ash, Citric Acid, Sulfur Soak, never use steam.
- Used French Oak is best, especially from Red Wines
Hoppy and High Alcohol beers will kill your lactic bacteria. Feeding your barrels and keeping them happy is a good thing. You can train bad barrels by transferring out half of the bad beer and adding good beer to it, but have patience. Many will take up to two years in the barrel and Pedio takes up to 18 months to create lactic acid.
Taste every barrel when it comes time to blend. Write less notes, but figure out what you need and what that barrel is saying. Mark it as either, Use, Blend, or Wait.
Once bottled, DRINK IT! Don’t cellar the beer for too long, New Belgium pasteurizes their Lips of Faith beers, they are at their peak of flavor once they hit the shelves.
The following was my custom blend ratio from their casks.
- 10% – Young – Dark fruits, some bitterness
- 30% – Mid Fouder 14 – Malty, Cherry, Slight Sour
- 20% – Mid Fouder 17 – Less Sour, Cherry
- 30% – Oude – Sour on the back end, warming
- 10% – La Folie