Beer Maverick

Wood- and Barrel-Aged Sour Beer

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Category: Hybrid
BJCP Comparable Category: 28B - Mixed Fermentation Sour Beer

Style Description

This is the description of how the Wood- and Barrel-Aged Sour Beer style of beer should taste, feel and look. However, there may be perfectly fine beers in this style that fall outside of these ranges and descriptions. This information is just to show the most commonly accepted ranges for the Wood- and Barrel-Aged Sour Beer beer style.

These are any traditional or experimental style of lager, ale or hybrid beer aged in either a wooden barrel or in contact with wood, and exhibiting acidity derived from exposure to bacteria. These beers are aged in the presence of microflora (either present in the wood or introduced at some time in the brewing process) with the intention of introducing sourness to the beer. These beers are aged with the intention of developing unique attributes imparted by the wood and/or by liquids that had previously been stored in contact with the wood. Wood aging does not necessarily impart wood flavors but does result in distinctive sensory outcomes. Used sherry, rum, whiskey, tequila, port, wine and other barrels are often used, imparting complexity and uniqueness to a beer. A balance of aroma, flavor and mouthfeel results from the marriage of new beer with attributes imparted by the wood or barrel, and with sourness and/or other attributes derived from bacteria. These beers may or may not have Brettanomyces character. For purposes of competition, entries made with fruit are categorized as Fruited Wood-Aged Sour Beer. Entries made with spices are categorized as Herb/Spice Beers. Entries made with combinations of and or fruit(s) and or spices and or other ingredients, and which therefore represent combinations of multiple hybrid beer styles, are categorized as Experimental Beer. Versions made with fruit(s) will exhibit attributes of wood-aging, acidity and those added fruit(s). Competition organizers may choose to create subcategories for Wood-aged sour beers made with fruit or other ingredients. When using these guidelines as the basis for evaluating entries at competitions, brewers may be asked to provide supplemental information about entries in this category to allow for accurate evaluation of diverse entries. Such information might include the underlying beer style upon which the entry is based, or other information unique to the entry such as length of time aged, type of wood or barrel, age, char level or previous liquids held by the wood, micro flora present if known, other ingredients or other processing which influence perceived sensory outcomes.

  • Color: Varies with underlying style and can be influenced by the color of added fruit(s) if any
  • Body: Varies with underlying style
  • Malt Flavors & Aromas: Varies with underlying style
  • Hop Flavors & Aromas: Varies with underlying style
  • IBUs/Bitterness: Varies with underlying style
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Typical of underlying style of sour beer being aged
  • Common Ingredients: Virtually any style of beer. Usually fermented by Lactobacillus and/or Pediococcus, often in conjunction with Saccharomyces and/or Brettanomyces. Can also be a blend of styles. Wood or barrel aging is very common, but not required.

Brewing Properties of Wood- and Barrel-Aged Sour Beer

These are the functional brewing properties of Wood- and Barrel-Aged Sour Beer beers, as descided by the Brewers Association. These guidelines reflect, as accurately as possible, the historical significance, authenticity or a common profile in the current commercial beer market.

The alcohol by volume is shows the amount of alcohol this style of beer should have.
The International Bittering Units (IBU) scale is used to approximately quantify the actual (not perceived) bitterness of beer.
SRM is a scale for measuring the color intensity of a beer. Low SRM grains impart a pale straw color while higher values mean it will add a darker color to the wort. Learn more »

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