Golden Wild Ale and Amber Wild Ale

The inspiration behind Third Leap was drawn from many sources. Regarding wild ales, I am specifically fond of Black Project’s perspective. Essentially, Black Project produces either “spontaneous” or “wild” beer, but the monikers vary quite significantly from current commercial brewery use. The “spontaneous” term is self-explanatory (beer made without adding cultured microbes whatsoever), but the “wild” term is more controversial.

While many commercial beers use the term “wild,” the reality is that very few of them are truly brewed with wild microbes. Instead, these beers are often brewed with domesticated Brettanomyces, Pediococcus, and/or Lactobacillus that have been purchased from a commercial yeast lab. Similar to Black Project, when I use the term “wild” it means that the beer was brewed using foraged or spontaneous microbes. At Third Leap, these fall into one of four categories, respectively:

  1. Foraged microbes from local environment (New England)
  2. Foraged microbes from remote environment (California, Idaho, Belgium, etc)
  3. Repitched spontaneous microbes from homebrew lambic/gueuze beer
  4. Repitched spontaneous microbes from commercial lambic/gueuze beer

At the time of brewing these recipes, the only foraged microbes (either local or remote) available to me were yeast (not lactic acid bacteria). Additionally, my first lambic attempt was still conditioning, meaning that the spontaneous microbes were not yet available for repitching. Therefore, I opted to use repitched spontaneous microbes from commercial wild beers for the Golden Wild Ale and Amber Wild Ale.

Fortunately, in late November 2015, I participated in a blind commercial wild beer tasting. In total, 13 beers were shared including Allagash Coolship ResurgamBoon Oude GeuzeBruery Terreux Rueuze (not 100% spontaneously fermented as lambic), Cantillon Gueuze 100% Lambic-BioDrie Fonteinen Oude GeuzeHanssens Artisanaal Oude Gueuze, Homebrew Wild Ale (not 100% spontaneously fermented as lambic), Lindemans Gueuze Cuvée RenéRussian River BeatificationSt. Louis Gueuze Fond TraditionThe Lost Abbey Duck Duck Gooze (not 100% spontaneously fermented as lambic), Tilquin Gueuze à l’ancienne, and Timmermans Oude Gueuze Lambicus.

After each beer was poured, I dumped the dregs into sanitized 50 ml conical tubes and propagated the favorites for a split batch experiment. A few weeks later, I brewed 10 gallons of golden ale and 10 gallons of amber ale, and split the 20 gallons among one-gallon fermentors. Each gallon received a different co-pitch of house yeast and wild beer dregs, save one gallon of each which was left outside overnight for spontaneous inoculation (no yeast or dregs).

I’m looking forward to trying the final products next year!

Wild beer tasting

Golden Wild Ale

Style: 28B – American Wild Ale – Mixed Fermentation Sour Beer

Description: A complex, pleasantly sour but balanced wild wheat beer that is highly carbonated and very refreshing. Characteristic barnyard, horse blanket, and leather characteristics intermingle with citrusy fruity flavors and acidity.

Batch size: 10 gallons
OG: 1.051
FG: 1.005 (est.)
Efficiency: 81%
ABV: 6.2% (est.)
IBU: 10
SRM: 5


36% Domestic 2-row (Great Western) @ Mash
36% German pilsner (Best Malz) @ Mash
17% Domestic white wheat (Great Western) @ Mash
6% Domestic flaked oats @ Mash
4% Belgian Vienna @ Mash
1% Domestic chocolate @ Sparge

10 IBU Willamette pellets @ 60

House yeast plus various wild beer dregs (see above)

Water treatment: Untreated Holland, MA well water
Mash technique: Infusion @ 160°F
Kettle volume: 12 gallons
Boil duration: 60 minutes
Final volume: 10 gallons
Fermentation temp: 68°F
Notes: See below.

Amber Wild Ale

Style: 28B – American Wild Ale – Mixed Fermentation Sour Beer

Description: A sour, fruity, red wine-like Belgian-style ale with interesting supportive malt flavors and fruit complexity. The dry finish and tannins completes the mental image of a fine red wine.

Batch size: 10 gallons
OG: 1.064
FG: 1.006 (est.)
Efficiency: 77%
ABV: 8.5% (est.)
IBU: 10
SRM: 16


36% Belgian Vienna @ Mash
36% German Munich @ Mash
18% Domestic white wheat (Great Western) @ Mash
7% Domestic flaked oats @ Mash
3% Domestic chocolate @ Mash

10 IBU Willamette pellets @ 60

House yeast plus various wild beer dregs (see above)

Water treatment: Untreated Holland, MA well water
Mash technique: Infusion @ 158°F
Kettle volume: 12 gallons
Boil duration: 60 minutes
Final volume: 10 gallons
Fermentation temp: 68°F
Notes: Brewed solo on 12/30/2015 as back to back batches (Golden then Amber). Golden pH readings were 5.46/5.73/5.81/5.73 (mash/1st run/preboil/postboil) and Amber pH readings were 5.53/5.68/5.74/5.59/5.45 (mash/1st run/2nd run/preboil/postboil).

No oxygen. One gallon was run off into a two-gallon, open top fermentor and moved outside for ~10 hours. The fermentors were retrieved early due to impending rain.The remaining 9 gallons was cooled and split among one-gallon fermentors. House yeast co-pitched with dregs.

Fermentation began at 68°F, but was allowed to free rise during storage at room temperature. Consistent monitoring of the fermentors showed a peak fermentation temperature of 68°F over the first two months.

Fermentation activity was evident in all fermentors 1/6/2016, except for the spontaneous inoculated Amber fermentor. In mid January, krausen from the spontaneous inoculated Golden fermentor was transferred to the Amber to initiate fermentation. Krausen was visible by 1/20/2016. Some pellicles also began forming at this time.

In early April, the fermentors were moved from room temperature (upstairs) to cellar temperature (downstairs). The downstairs temperature was approximately 50-55°F in April.

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