What are these organisms doing in my beer?
When it comes to sour, rustic, and barrel aged beers, it can be pretty wild out there! Enter the world of wild beers.
In the midst of an exciting & constantly evolving industry, traditional and often forgotten beer styles are making a resurgence. Whilst IPA is still king of the craft beer world, what is considered old is now new again. Much of Australia’s craft beer scene is influenced by America’s booming & innovative industry, but some interesting European styles are beginning to break ground down under.
Whether you’re a craft beer aficionado or newly exploring the scene, wild beers are approachable, nuanced and unique enough to attract most palates. Even cider & wine drinkers can appreciate a wild beer with their often tart & fruity characteristics.
Originating from Britain, Belgium, & France, wild beers are often bottled rather than canned, and have a unique rulebook that’s followed in the brewing process. Ballistic’s Bunker beers are one of a handful of wild & barrel ageing beer projects in Australia. Bunker beers aim to elevate traditional & often forgotten European style recipes with a few creative twists along the way... Think blending, wild yeasts, and barrel ageing.
Our dynamic & tropical Brisbane climate influences how we brew these styles. Often these beers call for ambient temperature fermentation and barrel ageing in cooler European climates. Brisbane’s tropical climate has provided surprising results in fermentation and has accelerated the barrel ageing process.
So what makes a wild beer ‘wild’? The main reason is the use of wild yeast strains, paticularly Brettanomyces aka ‘Brett’. There are numerous strains of Brett that can add fruity, sour, funky, and even savoury characteristics to beer. For centuries, Brett has been both the friend & enemy of brewers for its funky & souring characteristics. Often a brew would be considered spoiled if accidentally made contact with Brett. Other times it might have created some ‘happy accident’ brews!
Below are a few substyles that have been brewed under Ballistic’s Bunker Project They’ve all got their ‘wild’ unique attributes, which will continue to evolve over time - although there’s no ‘right’ age to enjoy these beers at! Why not grab two of the same Bunker release to experience the evolution of wild beers yourself? Share one bottle now & another in six months to discover the brew’s ever changing wild flavours.
These styles were traditionally brewed in farmouses in Belgium & France during the colder months. Often these brews were barreled with the addition of wild yeast and let to age for months and then enjoyed by farmworkers in the spring & summer.
Saison & Grisette are amongst the more restrained & approachable wild beer styles. Expect flavour notes of black pepper, clove, musk, banana, and an evolving fruity funk. Try the ‘Graft’ Grisette from the Bunker range to begin your journey into the world of wild beers!
The ‘Solera’ method is a barrel blending technique that originated in Spain for Sherry Wine. Now the method is applied to beer, whisky, vinegar, and even artisan soy sauce! Essentially the Solera method refers to the tiered blending of a new and aged liquid product in effort to accelerate the ageing process. In the world of brewing, a solera beer will have the best of both worlds, with characteristics of a bright & fresh beer married with more subdued and complex tastes of aged beer. The solera method of barreling & blending isn’t just for wild beers - you can also find solera barrel aged dark beers.
Ballistic’s ‘Fractions’ Solera Table beer is a funky mid-strength Saison beer. Fractions is the third iteration of our farmhouse solera project and utilises a residual portion of our previous Saison release ‘Story Over Style’. The basis of this house mixed culture goes back to our inaugural release ‘Graft’ Grisette which was originally brewed back in late 2020. Table beer is lightly sour & funky, and on the lighter side of ABV (usually between 2.5-3.5%). It’s best enjoyed at the dinner table with good company.
Similarly to sour IPA’s, this is where a classic style IPA is soured, but this time it’s done with Brett’. Canned, bottled, or barreled - Brett adds a fruity & funky acidity to beers, and its flavours will intensify & ebb and flow over time.
BARREL AGED IPA
Some Brett IPA’s are barrel aged, but not all barrel aged IPA’s are brett IPA’s! Originating in the UK after the birth of the ‘India Pale Ale’ style, this is a rarer substyle that contradicts the popular belief that IPA is best served fresh. Oak barrels are typically used for spirit & beer ageing, and what the barrels previously held greatly influences the flavour of its fill - for example Ballistic has filled ex-bourbon and wed wine barrels with our annual ‘Coup De Gras’ Imperial Stout release! Flavour wise, you can expect smooth malt flavour and more subdued hop notes toned down from ageing. Earthy & sweet oaky tannins seamlessly blend into a traditional style IPA harking back to the 18th century.
Take your tastebuds on a trip to the wild side! Ballistic Bunker brews offer some intriguing alternatives to ever popular IPA’s & Lagers. Seize the moment and discover Bunker beers for yourself. Once these small batch brews are sold out they are never to be remade!