Barrel-Aged Basics & BHZ Location

Here’s to our first blog post! Seems right to start with info on barrel-aged beers and move on to our quest to finalize a location.

Barrel-Aged Basics

Sour Beers. These beers follow the Belgian brewing style. They are based on traditional terroir winemaking techniques, with barrel fermentation followed by aging in barrels, new or used. The formerly used barrels are often of winemaking origin, though they could be spirit barrels or reused beer barrels. Lots of options.

The beers are often fermented with selected “wild” yeasts and bacteria that form communities of fermentation. Some are even allowed to “spontaneously ferment” from whatever fermenting organisms have developed in the local environment, also known as terroir.

Using wild yeasts and bacteria will produce both alcohol and lactic acid (similar to what’s found in cultured yogurt) in contrast to pure, single yeast strains that evolved to almost exclusively produce alcohol. And yes, the lactic acid component helps account for the sour, tangy flavor you’ll find in these beers.

Spirit Barrel-Aged Beers. Here you’ll find beers aged in barrels that previously aged distilled spirits such as rum, whiskey, tequila, cognac, sherry, port, etc.

These beers are typically fermented first in stainless steel, using pure yeast cultures (lactic acid is not desired). Then they are aged in spirit barrels to impart the “fifth ingredient” of the distilled spirit preserved in the wood. The wood and the extent of the char used to make the virgin barrel also contribute considerable flavor components. The longer the beer ages in the spirit barrel, the more pronounced the flavors become.

A good comparison is that of an oak-aged wine which offers notes of wood & toast that an un-aged wine would not possess.

BHZ Brewing
& Our Location

Equipment has been ordered and we are hoping to give the manufacturer our address for delivery soon. A few details are still pending, but it’s fair to say that the location will be South of Boston and in a highly functional, though less than glamorous, spot. We are good with less glamor because we just want to make great beer. As soon as the lease is signed, we’ll announce it here.