Van Diemen's latest beers are spontaneous in name but certainly not in nature as the four-year process to launch the brewery's 'spontaneous ales' series comes to fruition next week.
Unpredictable Spring and Long Shadows are both produced through spontaneous fermentation: where fermentation of beer is affected by natural yeast and bacteria in the air at the time.
Van Diemen brewer and owner Will Tatchell said he was eager to release the spontaneous ales after years in the making.
"I've always said I don't have the patience to be a distiller yet here I am sitting on beers for four years developing, maturing, adding complexity to them in barrels," he said.
"All around us are micro flora yeast and bacteria that are reflective of the natural environment.
"All we're doing is utilising those yeasts and bacteria that are native to us to create a beer and the difference is that it takes a much longer time period for that to occur."
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Mr Tatchell added that because the yeast used in spontaneous ales are not lab-cultured, commercial yeasts, and are more dependent on natural factors making the fermentation process longer.
"We [Van Diemen Brewing] need time to allow the nuances of each of those yeasts to showcase themselves but then also develop flavour, aroma and complexity into the beer," Mr Tatchell said.
Wind variations are a huge factor in the brewing of spontaneous ales, as the process of yeast and bacteria making contact with beer (known as inoculation) is affected by what's in the air.
"We take weather snapshots 72 hours prior to get an understanding of what weather conditions are producing certain characteristics in the beer," Mr Tatchell said.
"We started to learn that fronts coming across South Australia that reach us within 48 hours result in a rapid fermentation pickup. Whereas when that doesn't happen, we get a bit of a lag phase and it's a bit slower on pickup."
Mr Tatchell said Unpredictable Spring is a blend of one, two and three-year-old spontaneously fermented ales inspired by young Lambic beers, while Long Shadows is a drier, Brettanomyces wild yeast-driven beer that has been aged in bottle for eight months.
The ales will be launched at Preachers Bar, Hobart on August 7 and at Saint John Craft Beer, Launceston on August 16.
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