What an exciting start to 2013! In January we received four more oak foeders that are each roughly 60 hectoliters, bringing our total number of foeders to eight! We realize that many people are unfamiliar with the term “foeder”, so we wanted to provide a simple background on these beauties for you to better understand a critical element in Crooked Stave’s fermentation and blending process.
For hundreds of years coopers have crafted foeders for wineries and breweries. Since wineries limit their usage of these large oak fermentation vessels, breweries will scoop them up to use for wild beers. Since the 17th century foeders have been an important part of the Belgian beer culture and have helped evolve the iconic Flanders, Saison, and Lambic styles that are so prevalent in society today. The benefits of aging beer in large foeders compared to wine barrels are numerous. Brewers love the larger oak vessels because they breathe life into the wild yeast and mixed bacterial cultures present, but have a much lower level of oxygen ingression due to a decrease in overall surface area. Additionally, foeders make it easier to blend young and older beers together because of their larger capacity compared to individual barrels. The process of blending into foeders adds a level of complexity, sometimes gained from the smaller wine barrels, as well as palatable nuances that cannot be achieved by fermenting beer on its own in a stainless steel fermenter.
Furthermore, we have received a lot of inquiries as to what we are going to be doing with these four foeders. The first foeder will be designated to a beer called St. Bretta, a continuation of our Wild Wild Brett Orange, and it will have different citrus fruits added depending on the season and availability. Our second foeder will house a beer by the name of HopSavant, a continuation of our Wild Wild Brett Green, and we will use different hops in each batch depending on what we think would compliment the beer best…starting to see a pattern??? The last two foeders will be used for the base blend of Vieille Artisanal Saison and Surette Provision Saison. Ultimately, with the addition of these four foeders we are able to increase our production significantly and get a Crooked Stave beer in your glass (or cellar) more often!
To stay up to date with Crooked Stave’s progress and updates please subscribe to the Crooked Stave Artisan Beer List in the upper right corner. And for those of you who live in Denver or will be passing through, we hope to see you in the Barrel Cellar taproom!