Upland Brewing Company began brewing lambic-style beer March of 2006. We initially started by trading eight cases of Upland beer for four 265L white oak barrels from Oliver Winery. Since then we’ve grown the sour program every year. In 2015 we expect to release 20 different sour ales including many fruited and non-fruited styles. We currently sell these beers through our sour lottery system. See our Sour Lottery page for more information.
We also have a Secret Barrel Society. This program allows members to skip the sour lottery process as well as have access to special events and several new experimental beers. Click here for more details.
We only currently brew three base sour beers, a blonde lambic-style beer, Dantalion, and Malefactor.
Base Lambic Style
This base beer is where our sour ale program began. In 2006, we traded the Oliver Winery several cases of beer for four of their used white oak wine barrels. We attempted to create a lambic-style beer as traditionally as possible using these barrels. A turbid mash is conducted during the brewing process, incorporating 30% of unmalted wheat into the malt bill, which is boiled and mixed during mashing. Aged, old hops are used in the kettle boil, to reduce their anti-microbial properties, yet retain their important flavor characteristics. A selection of Belgian yeast, wild yeast, and other microorganisms that cause souring (the development of lactic and acetic acid) are added to our oak foudre for the fermentation process to occur. The beer is then divided into multiple oak barrels for long aging periods, most of the beer is not ready, by taste, up to 8 months or longer.
Once the base lambic-style beer is ready, we select barrels that fruit will be added to. We use only fresh, whole fruit, desiring minimal processing, juicing, pulping, or crushing. The fruit is frozen to break the cell walls before use, to allow easier access to sugar content of the fruits during refermentation. 3 pounds of fruit per gallon are typically added, and for 3 months the fruit is actively fermented in oak barrels until it fully attenuates. Depending upon the type of fruit, fruit color, flavor, and aroma meld with the base beers innate sour characteristics.
Dantalion Dark Wild
Dantalion is our demonically named sour ale based on the Oud Bruin beer style. Medium brown in color, Dantalion has hints of chocolate, Munich malts, and rye. We also incorporate a spice blend containing ginger, coriander, star anise, grains of paradise, and black pepper to create a gentle halo of spice character. The beer is fermented on the same selection of yeasts and microbes as our base lambic, and aged for up to 8 months or more in white oak barrels.
Developed as a stronger version of a Flanders-style Red Ale, Malefactor is our only sour aged in bourbon barrels that have been previously used to age beer at least once. This creates petite notes of bourbon character, and darker, charred wood character. Malefactor also undergoes a turbid mash, with a portion of flaked maize being boiled with the rest of the malt bill, including Vienna and caramel malts. A different cocktail of microorganisms are involved in fermentation, which creates sour notes, and hints of cherry pie. Malefactor is aged for up to 8 months or more before packaging.