The Shapiro Brewery in Beit Shemesh has issued the fourth annual edition of their Strong Sour.
It's a "kettle-soured" beer because the souring takes place in the mash kettle before the boil. For the first edition (2019), Brewmaster Yochai Kudler and Head Brewer Ory Sofer used a wild yeast which they collected from almond blossoms blooming around Jerusalem in the early spring.
The wild yeast and accompanying microbes are what give the beer its sour taste. When the wort is boiled, the single-cell organisms die and the souring ceases. Afterwards, domesticated Saison yeast is added for a second fermentation.
I was at the launch of 2022 Strong Sour at the Shapiro Brewery. Ory Sofer told us of his great love for sour beers, which he calls "my babies," and explained in great detail how the first Strong Sour was conceived and created.
He explained that after the first year, a culture of the yeast was kept and used to brew the successive editions. However, like other living organisms, each new generation of yeast brings changes – and these have made the differences in each year's aroma and taste.
[For my take on the first Strong Sour beer, please click here.]
in beers is a taste most of us have not yet acquired, but these beers are
"wildly" popular in parts of Belgium and France.
At the launch of the 2022 Strong Sour,
held at the Shapiro Brewery in Beit Shemesh,
Head Brewer Ory Sofer gave a complete
background history of the beer.
Shapiro's 2022 Strong Sour (7.7% ABV) is a cloudy, mid amber color with dull carbonation. The aroma is definitely sour: A dank sour with pear cider, green apples and some farmyard aromas in the background. The taste is vinegary sour rather than yogurt sour. My drinking partner Moshe and I felt that all other tastes were just overwhelmed by the sourness.
"It's probably good for a sour beer," said Moshe, "but it's too tough for me." I myself actually found the sourness "soft," not harsh, and a step in the right direction towards my appreciation of this beer style.