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Lil’ Raspy: Raspberry Sour Beer
Lil’ Raspy is a little sensitive. He’s low ABV, got a soft, white, fluffy cap and the raspberry puree he’s brewed with gives him a pinkish hue. And that makes people think he isn’t tough. But he’s a prickly sucker… definitely one of the most sour beers the Mad Scientists have released in recent memory.
We made Raspy using a process called kettle souring, an innovative technique that lets brewers quickly and accurately create sour beers. Generally, to make beer, you begin by steeping grain in water in a process called mashing, in a vessel called the mash tun. After getting the sugars, proteins and enzymes needed to make beer out of the grain, you transfer this sweet liquid called wort into the next vessel, the kettle. In the kettle, generally, the beer is boiled and hops are added.
But kettle souring involves putting another step in the process prior to boil. When the wort has been moved to the kettle, souring agents, specifically lactobacillus, are pitched. Lactobacillus is the same organism that makes yogurt tart – it eats sugars and spits out lactic acid, which makes beer sour.
Then, you boil the beer as normal, stopping the lacto in its tracks. You transfer to a fermenter, pitch yeast, and you’re back on track making beer in traditional fashion. That’s part of what makes kettle souring so interesting and attractive – by boiling immediately after souring, you don’t risk infecting the other beers in the brewhouse, and you can make complex and sour beer in relatively short order.
For Raspy, we let the lacto go wild, creating a tough, crisp, sour bite. Don’t sleep on Lil’ Raspy. He’s tougher than he looks!
After he was soured, fermented and ready to go, we shipped Lil’ Raspy out to the Oregon Brewer’s Festival in Portland as a speciality brew (but don’t worry NYC you get some too). He was nervous at first, but eventually got pretty pumped to head west…