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Bottlecraft / Toolbox / Vesper "Spiral Light"

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Spiral Light

Brewed and Bottled by Toolbox Brewing Company
San Diego

ABV: 8.1%
Style
: Blended Sour Blonde with Grenache and Carignan Grapes Added
Size
: 750ml

We teamed up with Toolbox Brewing Co. and Vesper Vineyards to create a blended sour blonde ale aged in French Oak with Grenache & Carignan wine grapes and dubbed it "Spiral Light".

Here’s what Ehren Schmidt -  Headbrewer of Toolbox Brewing Co. - has to say about the beer:

"Spiral Light is a blend of two different beers. 75% of which is American Wild Ale aged for 6 months in French Oak Chardonnay Barrels. It was fermented with Brettanomyces Lambicus, Brettanomyces Bruxellensis, Saccharomyces Fermentati, a wild Saccharomyces Cerevisiae strain isolated from Californian grown fruit, Lactobacillus Delbrueckii, Lactobacillus Brevis and Pediococcus Damnosus.  

The other 25% is 13 month old spontaneously fermented beer that came out of our “koelschip” that was fermented and aged in neutral French Oak barrels.

We blended the beers and then racked it on top of 1.25 pounds per gallon each (2.5 pounds per gallon total) of Grenache and Carignan grapes grown in San Diego at Vesper Vineyards (Pauma Valley).

The aroma of the beer after being fruited is grapes all day including bright cherry, mild raspberry and a hint of elderberry. It is backed up with a nice French oak aroma. The base beer was fruity to begin with. It has a solid stone fruit flavor and aroma backed up with a strong acidity that commingled with the spontaneous beer perfectly. It has some nice oak flavors and a strong white wine character.

The flavor is fruity grape, musty funk, and oak. Black currants dominate, but only slightly over raspberry and cherry flavors. A hint of tobacco follows, but is out competed by the acidity. It has a wonderful texture in the mouthfeel brought about by the contact time the beer had with the grape skins. It’s not mouth puckering sour, but balanced. 13.2 g/L TA isn’t too sour, but enough acid to be considered “sour” and not tart.

This beer is a perfect harmony between wild ale and wine. It has the qualities of each, all while doing so without compromising the integrity of the beer that could come about with a wine/beer hybrid (overly acidic, boozy, too fruity, lacking complexity, etc).

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