Green Lead Burning Rock Ale: A different brewing process to say the yeast.

All craft beers need to tell a story on the label, and, with very little real estate, they generally need to quickly sell me on the contents. Seeing the bottle’s simple and oddly styled label I picked it up and went in search of a story.

Two things jumped out for me enough to lay down my sheckles on a bottle of Green Leaf Brewing Burning Rock Ale – “red hot granite stones” are dropped into the brewing kettle, and it’s bottle conditioned – ‘nuf said.

It’s alive!

With most beers, the yeast is removed after the fermentation cycle is complete, and the CO2 added during the bottling process. Bottle conditioning is where the beer goes through a second fermentation right in the bottle. This provides additional conditioning, alcohol, and the CO2 (aka. bubbles).

As for the rocks, that’s an ancient German technique (steinbier or stone beer) where super-heated granite or sandstone is added to the wort, leading to a caramilizing of the sugars.

Cool! This will be a first.

Here goes nothing

Cracking it open I was surprised by an initial volcanic flow of foam that slowed to a trickle, relieved only by pouring the contents into an awaiting glass.

It has a unique sweet scent that reminded me a bit of plumb pudding. A pleasant bi-product of the steinbier technique I guess.

Being a bottle conditioned beer I was kind of expecting a bit of a yeastieness to it but that certainly didn’t materialize.

With bottle conditioned beer you need to be careful pouring to avoid stirring up the yeast that settles on the bottom.  Sometimes its best to leave a bit of the beverage in the bottle unless you’re okay with mirking up the beer a bit and adding to the flavour.

Caramel aftertaste, with an unidentifiable essence that was a bit earthy (probably what happens when you add rocks to a beverage).

A smooth 26 IBU rating means it is a relatively mild beer that should be flexible enough for a variety of situations. However, the heaviness of the caramel, 5.5% ABV, and the odd aftertaste make it more of a boutique beverage. For me this is would make a nice beer to share with a friend, complimenting a cheese and meat platter.

That’s it for now, gonna go quench that panda sized thirst… cheers eh!

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