What are secondary fermentation ales?
The Oak | The Barrel | The Taste | The Yeast
According to the BeerAdvocate website, "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 spontaneously, or from oak barrels that have been previously inoculated, pitched into the beer, or gained from various "sour mash" techniques."
Consider for a moment that for decades, brewers and breweries have been indoctrinated in the ways of good sanitation, cleanliness, pure strains of yeast. In a essence: Stay the hell away from anything wild! This obsession lead to the use of pedigree strains of yeast and extreme avoidance of wild yeast and bacteria, deemed undesireable...the Wild Beer program turns this doctrine on its head. Firestone Walker's next chapter in barrel fermenting and aging, willfully and enthusiastically includes adding these wild 'critters' to beer, producing a range of strange, interesting, wonderful, pleasing and refreshing character.
Our Brewmaster, Matt Brynildson (Merlin) and our Quality Control Manager, Jim Crooks (Sour Jim) have been quietly working on our wild beer program for years, experimenting with wild yeast and bacteria, as if they were working with uranium on the "Manhattan project". A cramped, unassuming building, without an address, located off premise, was the location for perfecting the art of wild oak fermented and aged creations. But this could never be anything more than a 'grand experiment' in its present location, and besides, with brewery expansion knocking on the door, an eviction notice was anticipated.