So you’ve gotten through the invaluable essentials such as The Joy of Home Brewing and have Designing Great Beers as your well-worn reference and you’re asking, “Gee, beer is really delicious, fun to make too! I wonder how I can expand my expertise in the craft.” What better way than by trying your hand at brewing a new and increasingly popular style? Simply consult the list below for everything you need to get started harnessing wild yeast and to brew your very own sour ales.
Brew it old school
Before the human race knew of the existence of yeast, people believed fermentation was a gracious act of God, bestowed upon beer and wine as a small gift to help us forget how awful things have been since Eve at that apple. Brewers would leave their fermentation tanks open which would allow whatever wild yeast was floating around to enter the wort. This would yield inconsistent results from beer to beer, but what the hell, it’s alcohol right? Well nowadays, brewers are again allowing wild yeast into their beer with the intention of creating something similar to what our ancestors enjoyed thousands of years ago. If you’re considering experimenting with wild yeasts to create your own sour beers, these reads will teach you how to infect your beer with only the bacteria you want.
“Make a distinctive beer that is expressive rather than imitative, and dedicate yourself to it as if there is nothing else in life.”
Not for the beginning homebrewer, Brew Like a Monk describes just what exactly those solitary brewers of God were up to in their monasteries, explaining the processes used by monks in Europe for hundreds of years. The book also compares traditional Belgian brew traditions with their modern American replicas.
American Sour Ales goes through the techniques and processes used by the most prominent American Sour brewers style by style. It documents the techniques that have brought success to many commercial sour brewers and is the truly comprehensive guide to home brewing sours, there’s even a chapter on cooking and pairing food with sour ales. Pucker up.
Wild Brews features a lot of information regarding the history of wild fermentation, namely in Belgium by sequestered monks. There are 10 recipes contained within but due to the unpredictability of wild yeasts, a home brewer is likely to find it very difficult to duplicate a specific beer. Still, this book is a good option for someone interested in learning how to harness the delicious power of wild yeast.