Wild Ales Series
From the small batch brewing process, to handling and caring for the barrels, to sourcing the fruit from local farmers (some of it literally by hand), to each hand-labelled bottle; this is really a labour of love and the team at Campio is very proud of this project. It showcases what we do best and what we love about this craft.
Our wild cellar includes four 2000 litre barrels - which serve as our main blending stock – as well as twelve 500 litre barrels, all filled with a diverse array of fermentations to add acidity, depth, and complexity to our blends.
We aim to use as many local ingredients as possible, including microbes produced in Canada, grain and malt from Alberta, local hops, and fruit! This gives our wild ales a particular local flair - a terroir even! – that makes them truly unique. Stop by Campio or grab a bottle at your local liquor store and take a walk on the wild (ales) side.
tart brett saison
Starting with a base saison brewed with a mix of grains, including barley, wheat and rye, this beer was then blended with a splash of sour ale and rested in Foeder #3, where a mix of wild yeast and souring bacteria were added and given time to do their thing. The result? A funky, fruity and lightly tart saison, and an example of things to come from the Campio cellar.
For our first bottle release from the wood, we thought we’d keep things simple. Let the barrels and bacteria do the heavy lifting. Brettanomyces yeast brings notes of white wine and citrus, and a subtle acidity with the ex-Chianti wine barrels adding a pleasant tannic, drying feeling. This beer was then bottle conditioned for around 5-6 months, adding a bright carbonation and elegant effervescence, completing a years-long journey from grain to glass.
Grain: Pilsner Malt, Wheat Malt, Flaked Wheat, Flaked Rye
Hops: Magnum, Citra, Galaxy
Yeast: Spooky Saison, Berliner Brett 1 (Brettanomyces Anomalus) from Escarpment Labs
Other: Lactobacillus, Time
cab sauv sour
The journey from grain to glass on this beer was significantly shorter than many of the others that will be coming out of the Campio cellar, thanks to the help of a new innovative yeast from Escarpment Labs called Optimus Primary. This special strain was designed to develop the funky acidity found in wild fermented beers that usually takes years to develop in a much shorter time frame of about a month. After funk flavours began to develop, this beer was hit with Cabernet Sauvignon wine must for a secondary fermentation and then racked into ex-Chianti wine barrels to age for six months. After the right barrel characteristics found their way into the beer, it was then off to conditioning tanks and eventually bottles.
Expect a beer reminiscent of your favourite glass of natural red wine, but with added layers of complexity. Notes of dark fruits, plum and citrus are balanced with a tannic oak barrel character, and funky yeast notes of tropical fruit and pineapple.
Grain: Pilsner, Wheat
Yeast: Opitimus Primary
Other: Lactobacillus, Cabernet Sauvignon and Granbarile Wine Must
You may be asking what is a “wild ale” and how is it different from your standard beer? We talked to our Brewery Operations Manager, Teaghan Mayers, and our Head Brewer, Brett Geislinger to break it down for you. The key ingredients you’ll find in every beer are water, malt, hops, and yeast – but it’s the yeast component that make wild ales so unique. “Brewers typically work with pure cultures of a single type of yeast that has been selectively bred to ferment beer with predictable flavour profiles known as brewer's yeast.” explains Teaghan. “Wild ales, on the other hand, are fermented by many different species of yeast, most of which live in the wood of the barrel where they are aged – ‘wild’ (or natural) yeasts. The final flavour will depend on the types of ‘wild’ microbes in the barrels, how many are present and how they interact with each other over the time that the beer spends ageing in the wood. The result is often unpredictable and occasionally magical! These wild ales often take several years to make from start to finish!”
Wild ales are known for complex and unique flavour profiles with descriptors like funky, barnyard, hay and earthy. And, in many cases, fruit is added to the brew to add further character and dimension. While these may sound unusual, trust us, they’re delicious. “The barrels used in the brewing process also contribute pleasant wood and oak notes to the beer,” says Brett. “All of the barrels we use at Campio are ex-Chianti wine barrels. The previous wine content adds a certain tannic depth and a touch of red fruit character to each beer.”
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