Episode #17 ­ Sour Beer Blending w/ Lauren Salazar of New Belgium

foudreSour Beer Blending

Blending is one of the most important steps in sour production, blending is essentially combining multiple fermentation’s into one beer. This process helps remove drastic variations between batches and help maintain a more consistent product.

Blending gives the ability to “tailor” a beer by combining various aspects. For example if you have a beer that is too acidic or too oaky you can blend it with another beer to tone down the acid/oak. Also allows acidity/oak to be added to a beer that is lacking in certain flavor components.

Many brewers keep an “Acid” beer on hand at all times for blending purposes a dry “brett” beer is also recommended to have on hand to mellow acidity or Important to note with blending is that you don’t want to use a beer with fermentation flaws and try to cover it up by blending as the beers will change in the bottle and likely develop the same flavors.

First step is coordinating your brewing to have several beers ready at the same time Ideally the beers used for blending  should have a range of flavors. Acidity, maltiness, funky, oaky, etc.

Lauren Salazar from New BelgiumL_Salazar_2

Questions from Milk the Funk:

  • Thought process when developing a blend. Do you sample everything first and then
  • develop the blend? or do you have something in mind first and then figure out how to get there using the stock you have. How do you proceed to a final blend.
  • Thoughts on Brett and esters since NB uses a lager yeast, are esters a motivating factor in the decision?
  • Why pasteurize? Thought process behind decision? Locks in blend but do you think the beers still develop over time in the bottle. Is part of that decision to pasteurize related to keeping some sweetness in the beer? So the brett/bugs don’t chew through everything. (Or is it really because your sours and clean beers share a bottling line?)
  • How should homebrewers setup their pipeline for blending? Should we have for example a golden sour and a red sour several months apart or should it be the same beer over and over?
  • At what stage does NB add fruit to their sours? Recommendations for hombrewers?
  • Why are Felix & Oscar lager bases? What other yeasts and temps did NB try before settling on a Lager yeast.
  • What are the average ferm temps for Oscar and Felix in primary and secondary?
  • Whats new and on the Horizon for NB as well as for the NB sour program
  • Will there be a sour program (Foeder Forest) at Asheville?
  • Is there something we can do on the hombrew level that you wish you could be doing at NB
  • Does NB keep overly acidic or overly funky beer just for blending?
  • How do you go about blending SO MANY std size barrels? Do they still use barrels for La Folie or are they just for special releases?
  • What is the best way to go about starting and maintaining a solera (such as Oscar / Felix)?
  • Where do you think the American craft beer scene is headed in the next 10 years?

Recommended Sites:

  • madfermentationist.com
  • embracethefunk.com
  • Dr Lambic: http://sourbeerblog.com

What has everyone been up to:


  • NC brewer’s collaboration
  • German pilsner
  • Packing up for NJ, hitting up Cape May Brewing again


  • Birthday weekend in Texas w/ Stephen Williams. Calling in via Skype


  • Brewed a Dunkelweizen
  • Finishing the Kegerator Build
  • Went to the North Carolina Brewers Celebration at BB&T Ballpark courtesy of House of BrewsPinkee Brewster

Pinkee Brewster:

  • Filling in for Daan while he is in Texas
  • Recovering from Marathon Brew month
  • Working on equipment build and upgrades


  • Not much brewing a lot of transferring & Kegging.
  • Naturally keg carbed Farmhouse Sour (GigaYeast Famhouse Sour fermented in a Barrel)
  • Kegged a Hop Drop inspired IPA w/ Omega DIPA (Heady Topper yeast) w/ Equinox and Amarillo.
  • Getting geared up for vacation!
  • Also looking forward to the Beer Bloggers Conference & The Wicked Weed Funk Asheville event w/ Daan

Upcoming Events:

  1. Wooden Robot soft opening this weekend and full open 7/11
  2. Free Range Brewing Opening soft opening this week, full open Thursday, July 9th.
  3. Red Clay Cider opening July 18th
  4. Beer & Branding http://charlotte.aiga.org/event/beer­branding­kickoff­2015/
  5. Asheville brewers conference 8/22
  6. Unknown Collaboration 9/13
  7. The Great NC Beer Map on Kickstarter
    1. Map will feature more than 160 craft breweries, festivals and general information about brewing

How To Find Us:

Beer/Brewery industry news/updates:

  • Contract Brewing is legal in NC
  • NC Distillers can sell product on Premise
  • L.E. is cracking down


  • House of Brews
  • 17th Annual Charlotte Oktoberfest on October 3rd. (Biggest beer fest in SouthEast) Sponsored by Lagunitas (We will be giving away 2 pairs of tickets) Charlotteoktoberfest.com Premium & General Admission Tickets Ferm Nation booth selling craft beer bottle candles for charity.
  • Saluds ­ 3306 N. Davidson end of Noda before the railroad tracks.

July Specials from House of Brews!

US Golding Pellet Hops: Mild and delicate with sweet floral characteristics 6.5%

1 oz-$.50
1 LB-$7.00

Eng Challenger: Challenger is a granddaughter of Northern Brewer with some Northdown in its lineage as we 9.6%.


Target: Excellent bittering hop with a classic English character. 7.1%\


Please come see us at our retail store located at 3611 Tryclan Drive-Charlotte, NC 28217 or visit our website at www.House-of-Brews.com