From the Brewer: Oude Funk

Straight from the source!

©Heather Hanson Photography LLC
Kevin Welch, Co-Owner & Head Brewer                                              ©Heather Hanson Photography LLC

Oude Funk, definitely the high point of my brewing career so far. This is a beer which got its start even before the brewery got its. In the tradition of the great Lambic breweries of Belgium, this beer is an authentic example with only the exception of a koelschip. The beer is fermented with two different cocktails of microbes. One was acquired from Pajottenland region one of our trips to Belgium just prior to opening the brewery. The other was the result of a spontaneous fermentation that occurred from the air of southwest Minneapolis where we used to reside just before opening Boom Island. The Belgian microbial mix was used to inoculate the first barrel that we acquired and it became home to a 60 gallon batch of turbid mashed wort for the next 2 years. The first real challenge we came across was when we experienced our first expansion, which included a move. The entire move was planned around how to deal with the liquid in that barrel. We had just acquired several more used wine barrels and placed them strategically in our new brewery just two blocks down the street. On the final day of the move, I tasted the spontaneously fermented two-year old beer. It exceeded my expectations in complexity and maturity. It was everything one could hope for in a straight unblended old lambic. The barrel was carefully drained into four kegs bunged up and moved into place in the new brewery. The delightfully sour beer was then used to inoculate the newly acquired, used (but clean) wine barrels. The following day the antiquated technique of turbid mashing was once again in action around the brewery. The old beer was reunited with itself in a single barrel and new wort filled the rest. This beer proceeded to undergo the same fermentation process as the first vintage with very consistent results. One of the barrels had a slightly slower rate of maturity but given just a couple of months more, it followed with very similar flavor development. One year later, juggle a few more barrels and repeat process. (oh yes…try not to sample to much…very limited quantities.)

The real fun happened when blending day arrived. Three vintages of spontaneously fermented, barrel aged sour beer produced from a turbid mash. Why the long explanation instead of just saying “Lambic”? Also pointing out that by blending these three vintages, then allowing them to referment in the bottle a la Méthode Champenoise would turn it into an Oude Geueze type Lambic.

Actually the use of the term, Lambic, is regulated in the European Union just like the term “Champagne”. Considering that much of my personal inspiration comes from our visits to one particular Lambic brewery whose head is a strong advocate for limiting the usage of the term, I prefer to keep those friends rather than dishonor the tradition that they and generations before have struggled so diligently to preserve.

© Heather Hanson Photography LLC
© Heather Hanson Photography LLC

As a result, I have always seen this beer is an homage to that ancient tradition rather than an effort to imitate it. It is for sure spontaneously fermented. A turbid mash was executed and it was brewed with old oxidized hops. Absolutely, it was aged in old wine barrels of 1, 2, and 3 year old vintages then blended. It was refermented in the bottle creating natural carbonation, just like every single beer we bottle. It is Oude, (which simply means old in Dutch). And it is Funky.

This Friday, October 2nd 2015 at 6pm, we present to you: “Oude Funk”

Cheers,
Kevin

See what Growler Magazine has to say about Oude Funk in their recent article on the release, here.

Join us at the Taproom: 2014 Washington Ave N, Minneapolis, MN

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