Beer Style: Blended Farmhouse Ale - Bière de Coupage
pH: 3.74 pH
Final Gravity: 0.02° Plato
Packaged On: 12/5/21
Bière de Coupage isn’t so much a style of beer, as a brewing technique. It is a French term used to describe the blending of beer, more specifically the blending of young and old, or fresh and mature beer. It was often used in Belgium to combine the complexity and acidity of mature Lambic with young hoppy beer. This is a technique that is utilised in a modern context amongst breweries such as Jester King, Funk Factory, and Side Project, yielding some amazing results.
In our version, we have taken our Petite Saison and blended it with a barrel of mature mixed culture ale, to reach a proportion of 80% fresh and 20% mature beer. We then dry hopped heavily with Motueka and Belma for 7 days before bottle conditioning to a high level of carbonation. The result is a very dry table strength beer, with a firm bitterness and refreshing acidity. The Brettanomyces and lactic fermentation of the mature beer adds a layer of complexity that allows the drinker to delve further into the beer if they wish, but overall is designed to be enjoyed any time with friends.
Detailed Tasting Notes:
Appearance: Straw-coloured with a hop haze, persistent fluffy white head
Aroma: Honeysuckle, peach iced tea, hay, orange blossom honey, white pepper, lemon sherbert, citrus rind
Palate: White peach, lime, spicy noble hops, lavender tea
Mouthfeel: Spritzy, creamy, finishes dry
Deeds Mixed Culture Program Overview:
It’s nearly three years since we started brewing at our home in Glen Iris, and while we may have become best known for our IPAs, barrel ageing has always been part of our plans. Mixed culture fermentation, with or without fruit, is a love of ours and we’re excited to share these beers and expand this project. We’ve drawn inspiration from around the globe, from Lambic and Gueuze producers in and around Brussels, to more modern interpretations by American sour beer brewers.
The programme kicked off in the last quarter of 2019 when we welcomed our first delivery of wine barrels. We began by building up our mixed culture, preparing it to embark on the grand task that lay ahead. Ned had been brewing with this culture at home for a number of years preceding it’s new adventure at Deeds, and he was filled with a mix of excitement and trepidation to take it from 50 to 1500 litre batches!
Two base recipes were initially used to drive different fermentation profiles of our mixed culture. The first was designed to create similar characteristics to a traditional turbid mash used in Lambic brewing, utilising the same technique of boiling part of the mash, creating a dextrinous wort full of complex sugars for a long slow fermentation, as well as a hot sparge to layer some tannin into the beer. The second recipe also utilises a step mash, but is aimed at creating a highly fermentable wort, favouring a Saccharomyces yeast-driven fermentation, with less acidity in the final product.
The primary fermentation is conducted in an open top fermenter called “The Albatross”, which we converted from of an old, stainless steel grist case. From there, we transfer the beer into French oak for extended ageing. And then we wait.
We watch on as the barrels develop their individual characters, each slightly different from the next. When the beer is ready, we select them for either blending, or macerating on a fruit sympathetic to the character of the base beer. At this point, the production team sit down together for a final sensory session to select barrels and blend compositions for every beer.
In August 2020 new tanks arrived expanding our cellar for our first time. Along with three 100hL fermenters and two yeast propagation tanks came 6 stackable fruiting tanks for the mixed culture programme. These tanks are primarily used for fruiting mixed culture beer, but they also give us flexibility to run many projects simultaneously. Let’s just say these tanks came just in time.
Once the beer has finished ageing on fruit and/or the blending is complete, it is ready to be packaged. A small amount of sugar and fresh culture is added to allow for refermentation in the bottle. We use a 6 head gravity filler, allowing flexibility to fill a wide variety of bottle sizes, currently 375mL, 750mL, and even a few 1.5L Magnums! The bottles are then stored, allowing the beers to carbonate and settle. Scheduled sensory sessions allow the brewers to track the beer's progress and ultimately determine when they are ready to share. Finally they’re shipped to specialty bottle shops and bars across Australia for you to consume and enjoy!