Kettle Sour Ales?

Discussion in 'BeerAdvocate Talk' started by AirlessGOOSE, Jul 30, 2019.

  1. AirlessGOOSE

    AirlessGOOSE Initiate (19) Jul 30, 2019 Connecticut

    Trying to add a kettle sour brew to a local brewery, but don't see it as a style option. What's similar that I can use instead/how do I suggest a style?

    (Sorry if this is a dumb question I'm new to the site)
     
  2. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (2,457) May 30, 2005 Michigan
    Society

    IPAExpert69, dcotom, meefmoff and 3 others like this.
  3. Prince_Casual

    Prince_Casual Disciple (323) Nov 3, 2012 District of Columbia
    Trader

    What's the name of the beer? Looking up a similar, existing entry is a good idea. In this situation you're probably going to end up in one of these three:


    Leipzig Gose
    Berliner Weisse
    American Wild Ale
     
    cavedave likes this.
  4. onezendad

    onezendad Initiate (131) Apr 16, 2018 Ontario (Canada)
    Society

    I'm far from an expert, but aren't AWA spontaneous? Rather than kettled, which I always assumed was introduced instead of spontaneous.
     
    WadeBridgman and PapaGoose03 like this.
  5. Snowcrash000

    Snowcrash000 Poo-Bah (1,652) Oct 4, 2017 Germany
    Moderator Trader

    This has been discussed at length and will hopefully get fixed with the next style update, but there currently isn't a Kettle Sour style on BA, which means that there is no other choice but to add them as American Wild Ales for the time being, even though it's very wrong.

    A case could also be made for adding them as Gose/Berliner Weiße, which are Kettle Sours as well after all, but they are a very specific, defined, traditional style of kettled sours that a modern, usually fruited Kettle Sour doesn't really fall under either.
     
  6. Prince_Casual

    Prince_Casual Disciple (323) Nov 3, 2012 District of Columbia
    Trader

    I'm not saying you're wrong, because in spirit I agree, but according to the style on this site, what you just stated is not currently correct. The reason it's not so cut and dry is that traditionally people differentiated between pitching with specific yeasts/ bacteria at all, which some people do with brett and/or barrels, vs traditional lambic which uses only the well used barrels and spontaneous/ open fermentation (inoculation). When these definitions were written there was [lambic], and [tastes like lambic but was made differently], then [berliner] and [gose]. If you were to draw a square with those 4 styles as the corners, I think pretty much everything "kettle soured" fits somewhere within that plane, but obviously some people are hoping for stricter definitions. Most kettle soured beers are Gose or Berliner more than anything IMO.


    https://www.beeradvocate.com/beer/styles/171/

    American Wild Ale
    Sometimes Belgian influenced, American Wild Ales are beers that are introduced to "wild" yeast or bacteria, such as Brettanomyces (Brettanomyces Bruxellensis, Brettanomyces Lambicus or Brettanomyces Anomolus), Pediococcus, or Lactobacillus. This introduction may occur from oak barrels that have been previously inoculated, pitching into the beer, or gained from various "sour mash" techniques. Regardless of the method, these yeast and/or bacteria leave a mark that should be noticeable to strong, and often contribute a sour and/or funky, wild note. Mixed-fermentation examples will display a range of aromatics, rather than a single dominant character.
     
    stevepat, cavedave, beertunes and 2 others like this.
  7. onezendad

    onezendad Initiate (131) Apr 16, 2018 Ontario (Canada)
    Society


    This is a great breakdown. You have to work within the guidelines you are given at the time the question is posed rather than the hypothetical.
     
    Prince_Casual and beertunes like this.
  8. islay

    islay Aspirant (276) Jan 6, 2008 Minnesota
    Trader

    The problem is that this site, along with some other sources, lumps together "wild" yeast (for the most part, various species of Brettanomyces, as opposed to Saccharomyces cerevisiae) with bacteria. Brett in its own right produces various "funky" flavors but never sourness; sourness derives solely from bacteria like Lactobacillus and Pediococcus (or the direct addition of acids). The name "Wild Ale," I believe, comes from the use of that "wild" yeast and has nothing to do with the bacteria. Many wild ales, especially if they're fermented in open vessels or in wood that previously contained wine or sour beer, utilize both wild yeast and bacteria in the fermentation process and end up both funky and sour, and I think that's why some people lump wild yeast and bacteria together. However, I think that's an outdated definition (always wrong but only in the last 5 to 10 years commonly understood to be wrong).

    The vast majority of kettle sours don't utilize "wild" yeast, nor are they open-fermented or aged in wood that may contain wild yeast or un-pitched bacteria, so American Wild Ale, if properly defined, is a terrible fit. I agree that Berliner Weisse and Gose also are stretches in many cases, but I do think Berliner Weisse is the best of bad choices for the vast majority of modern kettle sours.
     
    Prince_Casual and onezendad like this.
  9. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Poo-Bah (1,736) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona
    Society Trader

  10. stevepat

    stevepat Defender (688) Mar 12, 2013 California
    Trader

    Sounds to me like a mixed ferm category might be in order
     
  11. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (2,457) May 30, 2005 Michigan
    Society

    I don't think the question has been raised yet, so if a kettle sour style category is added to BA is there a way to determine if a beer fits that style if it is not mentioned on the label?
     
    drtth likes this.
  12. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,933) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Well one clue, to keeping them separate from lambic, the flavor profile. Sours are just that. Lambics have lots of other things going on that just the light sourness that's sometimes noticable.
     
    PapaGoose03 likes this.
  13. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (2,457) May 30, 2005 Michigan
    Society

    Yeah, I would agree with that. So it may come down to a taste experience for classifying a beer if 'kettle sour' isn't mentioned in the label? I never really notice labels with that info, so I'm going to guess that few brewers provide it. We may not solve the dilemma of needing a new category if it's going to be difficult to decide which beers go into that grouping.
     
    #13 PapaGoose03, Jul 31, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2019
    drtth likes this.
  14. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,933) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Well one rule of thumb that might work, I'don't ever recall having a Brett beer that wasn't either labeled as such, even if indirectly such as lambics, or there was no brewery comment about using that yeast.

    So if Brett is involved, Wild Ale. If not, Sour. (Any brewer who used Brett and isn't telling us about it in advance in some way deserves to be labeled a kettle Sour. :wink: )

    Note: Those would make a big deal out of the fact that the bacteria that do the souring are wild too could be simply ignored for this purpose or challenged to come up with something better that would work better.
     
    #14 drtth, Jul 31, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2019
    PapaGoose03 likes this.
  15. SierraNevallagash

    SierraNevallagash Devotee (452) Sep 23, 2018 Maine
    Trader

    @AirlessGOOSE - I have brought this issue to the site's attention on multiple occasions. It kills me to see kettle sours labeled as "American Wild Ales". It kills me a little less to see them labeled as "Leipzig Goses", which is the most appropriate available option there is right now. "American Wild Ale" should be reserved for...well, wild ales. I think gose is the most appropriate option, as goses are in fact kettle soured. Go with your gut, but for now, until a category is created, I suggest "Leipzig Gose".

    Best of luck!
     
  16. islay

    islay Aspirant (276) Jan 6, 2008 Minnesota
    Trader

    Goses contain salt and coriander, whereas most American kettle sours don't (and those that do typically are marketed as Goses). I still think Berliner Weisse is the broader and currently best though still imperfect category for such beers, and it seems to me that most American kettle sours indeed are marketed as Berliner Weisses.
     
    papposilenus and DISKORD like this.
  17. SierraNevallagash

    SierraNevallagash Devotee (452) Sep 23, 2018 Maine
    Trader

    The
    The thing abouy Berliner Weisses is that more often than not, they aren't even kettle soured, containing no lactobacillus whatsoever. The other issue is that is essentially just a wheat beer, whereas kettle sours can have a whole variety of grist/malt components. I genuinely cannot recall the last time I had a Berliner Weisse that was actually tart. Not to mention the fact that no one is really brewing them. I haven't ever seen a kettle sour marketed as a Berliner Weiss. The style was nearly lost to history altogether, and based on my experience working with breweries and distributors, I just don't see them all that often.

    So the Berliner Weisse is a wheat beer that oftwn lacks tartness altogether, the American Wild Ale is often spontaneously fermented, and contains flavours and characteristics that would never show up in a kettle sour, and goses are kettle soured, generally containing a large portion of wheat, and is only sometimes brewed with coriander. Not to mention the fact that many beers marketed as "kettle sours" often do contain a little bit of salinity, presumably to go after the whole "gose" vibe.

    I'm not arguing with you whatsoever - just to make that clear. Just a friendly debate. I just feel that with only three options - none of which are entirely appropriate, the gose category is the one that has the most in common. It seems only fitting that if a classification ia not provided, that the next most accurate classification should be utilised.

    In the grand scheme of things, I'm sure Todd and everyone who works on these things will eventually add a kettle sour, "tart fruit ale", or something along those lines so that we can all stop meticulously picking apart the definition of "Gose", "Wild Ale", and "Berliner Weisse".

    BAs can categorise them any way they feel is best, and that's fine. I personally will continue adding kettle sours as "goses" until something better is provided. It's the one that hurts me the least.
     
  18. Snowcrash000

    Snowcrash000 Poo-Bah (1,652) Oct 4, 2017 Germany
    Moderator Trader

    I don't know what kind of Berliner Weiße is being brewed in the States, but I've NEVER had a Berliner Weiße that wasn't sour and I drink the style a lot. It's a traditionally sour style that is absolutely brewed with lactobacillus and it's not uncommon for brewers to use brettanomyces as well, which is true to its traditional roots.
     
  19. SierraNevallagash

    SierraNevallagash Devotee (452) Sep 23, 2018 Maine
    Trader

    This is precisely how it should be brewed, I agree 100%. I've had two imported examples that were really nice, and fit the description perfectly, but every single one I've tried from smaller local breweries around the US has really,just tasted like a lightly fruited witbier. It's also a rather uncommon style to find in your average craft beer shop. It doesn't seem to get all that much attention here.
     
  20. islay

    islay Aspirant (276) Jan 6, 2008 Minnesota
    Trader

    Perhaps there's regional variation in the terminology in the United States, but the vast majority of kettle sours, fruited or otherwise (but most are fruited), released in Minnesota -- and there are a ton of them -- are listed as "Berliner Weisses" by their respective breweries and definitely have some lactic acid, even if often less than I would prefer in sour beers.
     
    TheGent likes this.
  21. hoptualBrew

    hoptualBrew Defender (613) May 29, 2011 Florida
    Trader

    My understanding:

    American Wild Ale - Spontaneously inncoulated mixed fermentation beer typically aged in oak for extended periods of time and sometimes blended and/or fruited before packaging.

    Berliner Weisse - Ale brewed with brewers yeast and Lactobacillus that produces a sour acidity and mild to moderate amount of funk. Can be soured quickly or aged. May be fruited prior to packaging.

    Kettle Sour Ale - Ale soured in the kettle before being boiled and fermented with brewers yeast. Produces clean acidity. Almost exclusively fruited and/or backsweetened prior to packaging.

    Gose - Basically a Berliner brewed with salt.


    Kettle sour is NOT Berliner. There is a HUGE difference between killing off Lactobacillus I’m boil kettle versus Lactobacillus usage in cellar. Kettle sours are one dimensional. Just acid. Lactobacillus unboiled, used in cellar, provides acidity and funk.
     
  22. Snowcrash000

    Snowcrash000 Poo-Bah (1,652) Oct 4, 2017 Germany
    Moderator Trader

    Lactobacillus produces no funk, just acidity. Funk comes mainly from fermenting with brettanomyces yeast, although certain bacteria can also contribute to it.

    Berliner Weiße brewed solely with lactobacillus actually isn't that different from a mundane Kettle Sour, which is also soured using lactobacillus, they are essentially the same thing. However, Berliner Weiße is traditionally brewed with brettanomyces as well, which is where things become interesting. They are also oak-aged sometimes, although these are harder to find.

    Gose is traditional brewed with salt and coriander and never fermented with brettanomyces.
     
    islay and drtth like this.
  23. hoptualBrew

    hoptualBrew Defender (613) May 29, 2011 Florida
    Trader

    http://www.milkthefunk.com/wiki/Lactobacillus

    I would challenge your statement. See under section “Secondary Metabolites”.

    My previous statements were from past experience drinking a bunch of “Florida Weisse” when it was first a thing 5+ years ago. To my knowledge, these were not kettle soured back then and were acidic but also a bit “funky”. Not a Brett funk though! But a combination of trace elements mentioned in the article. Trace amounts of butyric acid, isovaleric acid, THP, etc... all came together, from my recollection, to taste a lot different than the clean kettle sour acidity of today’s sours.

    I also brewed a few like this, non-kettle soured and came away with same analysis. One is in the keg right now that was a Omega yeast Lacto blend that was co-pitched with US-05 and allowed to ride at 75F for the past two months. It’s sitting at 3.2 pH but also has a funky (not brett funk) complex to it that I do not find in kettle sours.
     
  24. Snowcrash000

    Snowcrash000 Poo-Bah (1,652) Oct 4, 2017 Germany
    Moderator Trader

    Given the content you linked, I guess we just have different ideas on what constitutes "funky" aromatics and flavors. It's quite common for Berliner Weiße to have estery flavor compounds, which does set them apart from mundane Kettle Sours if brewed to style, but I've yet to taste any "funky" elements in a Berliner Weiße fermented without brettanomyces.
     
    hoptualBrew likes this.