Our story started in 2011. On the very beginning there was an idea of good pure nature fruit beer... Due to that target we met wild fermentation and begun new adventurous chapter of our life.
Spontaneous fermentation and wine yeast
We had a lot of interesting tests with plans what research to start with during our first “trial” years (started in 2011). But adding any other new project to not finish spontaneous fermentation was refused that time. We already had enough complications.
Some of those tempting ideas were dust off after several years. We found original notes and completed some of our first ideas.
Wine is on the first place in our region. It means: works in the vineyard from February till October, harvest, post-harvest handling, fermentation, aging, preparation for bottling... (and drinking). We use what we can from our vintner’s practice. Wine airborne yeast is living all around us, why not to try some concrete yeast strain? Does it impart the anticipated bouquet strongly enough to recognize it? Well, we all know that precursors of aroma character in the grape juice are very specific. It means we can not expect same results. But still, the question is tempting... We need to try. As usually we need to do tests, measure it, write it down, do other tests, measure it, write it down etc, etc again and again. In the end we analyze the data and do another testing to confirm if the upshot is correct.
posted: JITKA /17-11-06/
Herbs were used in beer sooner then the hops. Usually it was a mixture which varies from region to region. I do not have ambitions to brew original Gruit. This is just an experiment. We have so many lovely herbs on our Palava hills! Lets see if we find anything usefull.
I want to add the herbs into young spontaneously fermented beer. Not to the boil or whirpool. Alcohol should help to gain the aromatic substances better. We will see. Herbs are dried (I was considering all possibilities too long...).
Maybe it´s good to say that we should use only herbs we really know.
posted: JITKA /17-09-26/
When the Winter asks...
we work in the vineyards long enough to be used to the vagaries of the weather. But this season has no boundaries. Especially sour cherries were driving me crazy since spring. Hard freezes in April during blossom period were the first sign of tough year. While the vineyards and apricots stayed untouched, chance for good sour cherry harvest was gone. It is not so simple to find new ones. Not every variety is good enough for (our) beer. Moreover not every orchard with proper variety has the right treatment.
Pictures: Sour cherries are sorted manually. All green parts have to be removed (leaves, stems).
Well, as you can see on the pictures the worst scenario didn´t happen. We don´t have the biggest quantity but the quality is perfect and it´s exactly what I wanted.
And what about apricots? A lot of people solve what we add to our apricot beer, why it is so aromatic. The answer is in fruit and well prepared beer. We use our own orchard with very old varieties. I am not able to identify nor name a lot of them. I know the fruit, I process the fruit every year, all my life. Differences between old varieties and new ones are big. The old ones are very (very!) small but unbelievable aromatic with full taste.
Pictures: Apricot tree in our brewery (left). Old small apricot variety (right)
posted: JITKA /17-08-2/
Sour Beer Forum - Arrogant Fest
When I heard about Arrogant fest for the first time? It was from some Polish guys who visited our brewery about 2 years back. It was far and in the middle of the season... No way that time. When I met Kuaska it was just before Christmas 2016 in Prague. He was burning with excitement when described the Arrogant fest and I opened my eyes. Possibility to discuss spontaneous fermentation with European and US brewers? Listen to their experiences from various trials? Who would say no?!
Reggio nel´Emilia is beautifull green city. The old monastery where festival took place is marvelous. I love Italy. Starting day with glass of Xyauyu (alc 14% vol) made the day even better…
It´s not a secret that we use a lot of vintners techniques in our brewery. One of the most interesting practice I listen to was cooperation between Belgian brewery and Italian vinter. The vintner combined young lambic with his own white wine (1:1) and let it age. It was really interesting. Not something I want to do but such experiences are always useful. Well, the lecture was in Italian so I have to admit that some fine details stayed in the mist.
I envy the US brewers the possibility to innoculate the batches in different places. When I described my husband experiences of Paul from The Ale Apothecary, his reaction was quite quick: "Calm down and don´t even think about moving the innoculation vessels outside brewery!"
Pictures: Forum called "Spontaneous fermentation outside Belgium" with Jester King, De Garde Brewing and Oersoep.
posted: JITKA /17-06-20/
Arrogant Sour Beer Festival
this great beer festival is quickly approching (2.6.-4.6.). Come and meet us! We are bringing 4 different types of beer.
posted: JITKA /17-05-26/
Czech beer crowns
Spontaneously fermented beers are not among the traditional ones here in Czech. No surprise that the competitions are usually for lagers (mainly) and top fermented ales. This year was open special category judged by international jury (Carl Kins, Tim Hampson, Rick Kempen and others). Perfect!
posted: JITKA /17-04-24/
How does the beer market look like when consuption of destillates is twice more than in Russia (4xtimes more than in Czech). The total consuption per person (15+) is almost 10l. Whoa, that´s unbelievable.
Of course sour beers were the main target for me when I had free time. Thanks to advices from Wild Waves I knew the best places where to go for tasting. Unfortunately it was not possible to taste sour beer with lactobacillus from traditional korean food kimchi (fermented cabbage leaves). I didn´t find any spontaneously fermented home production but they are obviously preparing for.
It was a fun to visit original Czech brewery in Busan. We´ve tasted Wild Creatures samples, Czech beer, Czech wine... that was good evening.
posted: JITKA /17-02-28/
Interested in discussion about spontaneous fermentation? Come to Homebrewers meeting. One of the lectures will be about our experience and it will be a pleasure to discuss all your questions.
link with address and all details:
posted: JITKA /17-02-28/
Discovery of the year 2016
Thank you very much for this nice award. After many years of research and development it´s a joy!!
posted: JITKA /16-12-10/
There were few notes and interviews in the press last days. Well, I´am really glad that Czech people want to discuss spontaneously fermented beer. Few years of experimental brewing is not enough for any final conclusions, I know. But in this stage I need to share.
Sure, lambic beer inspired me on the beginning. It´s a joy to hear that Wild Creatures is compared to belgian beers. But I need to say that cloning belgian beers is not our target. We live in wine region in Czech Republic. Possibility to implement our own vintner´s techniques is thrilling. We don´t have the same technologies and procedures. And we don´t have same beer either.
I met Tim Webb few weeks ago and he asked me about our wine barrels that cause often issues. I was taken aback a bit. List of our troubles is endless but amazingly barrels are not among them. Maybe our vintners practice helps who knows... Even more interesting was the description how do the Belgian solve the potential off flavors that the barrels might bring. They clean the barrels and dry. This is not common in our winery area. We usually clean them and fill again immediately. Well, different region, different tactic. But always good to know.
And what about you? Do you have any experiences you want to share? Write me!
posted: JITKA /16-12-06/
Where to buy Wild Creatures
First bottles are available! Where?
posted: JITKA /16-10-30/
Wine harvest 2016
Don´t be confused. This is really about beer...
We choose Traminer and Irsai. Both are typical for our region. They are lovely aromatic and do ripe easily with higher sugar content. What´s the difference between ordinary and naturaly dried bunches? Well, the dried ones are really, really ugly, but we need to hang in. It does worth it. One small berry is like a flavor explosion, higly extractive and rounded sweet. I am really looking forward to the beer but we have to wait. Again.
posted: JITKA /16-10-06/
Salone del Gusto
When Adreas Falt came to our wine (beer) cellar about 2 weeks before Salone del Gusto and asked me how many bottles do we sale I had to replay: none. It was true. We did our best to finish all paper work just before the trade fair to be able to bring Wild Creature’s beer to Torino.
Back to beer! The second day came to our booth Lorenzo “Kuaska” Dabove with Anna Borelli and Ian Garrett and the best part of trade fair begun. Thank´s to these sourbeer lovers I gain the opportunity to participate on lecture about lambics the next day. Opportunity to discuss beers with Jean Van Roy, Armand De Belder and other much more experience people than me, man doesn’t have every day. We had different kinds of krieks. It was nice comparison. I´ve always admired Lou Pepe. Nothing changed. AWESOME beer. I spent so long times with balancing the cherry notes at home. How do they do it, I still don’t know. It is so impossible deep with ripe cherries everywhere. I love it.
Thank you guys! It was an experience I will not forget. And now back to reality. Grapes for Tears of St. Laurent are ready, so rain boots, gloves and my favourite little tractor – vineyard is waiting!!
posted: JITKA /16-09-30/
Dark sour beer
All batches we were experimented with were pale or amber (mainly due to Vienna or Munich malts). Thanks to long aging in the barrels the final color is darker - in some cases almost semi-dark (Meditation). The question is: what about dark beer? How does this beer behave and taste?
posted: JITKA /16-07-12/
A visit from Italy
when I have the opportunity to get to know any new information I never hasitate. Cooperation with Italian University of Gastronomy started few years ago and always it is a joy. this time we discussed and tasted Wild Creatures products and situation of brewing in northern Italy. Combination of wine and beer flavours is very popular (among beer experts). They do a lot of experimental fermenting with wine yeasts. Oh lucky region...
It was no surprise that one of the best appreciated samples was Tears of St. Laurent. And (and that was a surprise) my marmelades from wild beers. I am happy to say that I´ve got the possibility to take our products to Italy in the autumn. Not only our beer but definitely also the jellies. OMG. I am really happy to see that marmelades are so praised, but when I will produce so many marmelades and jellies... that´s a question.
posted: JITKA /16-05-24/
Reconstruction of old cellar
It wasn´t easy to find proper place for our wild beer. Thanks to years we´ve spent with spontaneous fermentation, we already know what´s important during the production. It is the nature wine microflora. That´s why we´ve decided to use the wine cellar. As we all know Brettanomyces is loved by brewers but hated by vintners. It´s a nightmare for the winemakers. So possibility to use our own family wine cellar is out. I think, it wouldn´t be good to destroy my father´s wine...
OK, combination with wine is out of question. We have an offer from the friend to use old (very very old) cellar which used to be a brickfield furnace. Afterwards there was a winery.
posted: JITKA /16-03-07/
Sour Beer Meeting vol 1
I may look like a hermit. Focusing on research and development of Wild Creatures beers entirely. And time flies. Years are gone. I was thinking about some meeting quite often but did nothing. When is the beer good enough? There is no end on the horizon. Friend and organizer of "Homebrewers Meeting" finaly solved my inner fight and planned the meeting. Thank you Petr!
I prepared a lot of samples. 3 kinds of Veritas, Meditation (still and sparkling), Tears of St. Laurent (also still and sparkling) and apricot and sour cherry Fly with me. Degustation was great. I thing all of us did enjoy it. We drank also samples brought by guests and from our brewery Mamut. A lot of samples...! :-)
Some samples were tested for the first time. One thing I really do not know. What kind of cork is used for champagne bottles (fermentation in the bottle)?? I´ve bought standard corks for champagne - big fat cork beasts. A lot of energy was necessary to get it inside the bottle. To be sure I add a cage (we are talking about fermenting in the bottle so who knows what can happen...).
posted: JITKA /16-02-20/
New year´s celebration
Last time when I cooked the beer jelly, an inspiration hit me. Onion chutney with red ale! I need red onion and something with really good sharpness. I choose old red ale (cca 18 months in the barrel). Now its simple. I caramelize the sugar with slized onion on the saucepan. Then add beer and let it boil for a while. It should be sticky whithout redundant sauce. On the other hand the onion shouldn´t be too soft or even broke down. Finally I am satisfied. My chutney seems to be perfect. Rost pork neck is already hapilly smiling!
And now something extravagant for the New Years celebration. Hot fruit beer with fruit. I heat up the pot with Fly with me (not boiling to keep alcohol). Add sugar, sliced oranges, apples and traditional Christmas spices. And that´s it. Simple. The whole kitchen is flooded with the aromatic apricot "Fly with me" since I opened the bottles. I can´t resist and taste immediately. So the New Year´s celebration already begins...
posted: JITKA /16-01-06/
„Why, why, why?" I heared million times. Why not? I am a women, I love cooking, baking, pickling... Sour beer is great material. I can´t let it be, it tempt me to process it in the kitchen too!
I started with jelly from bohemian lager "Mammoth 12°" and IPA Little White Mammoth (58 IBU, Cascade hops). Result? I didn´t became fan of lager jelly. Maybe I didn´t open mind enough to imagine new jelly flavors... But tasting 1 spoon was just right. IPA jelly was better. Nicely aromatic but too bitter and sweet. Not well balanced. As we said at home: "More interesting than well tasting".
Thanks to these experiments I got to know what I want. I want jelly with sour component. I remember one beer jelly from U.S. That was really good, but it was combination with cider. Now I understand. Back to experiment with my sour beer.
Basis of the jelly is "Fly with me" beer. No other adjustments, I like it as it is. Bold sour flavor is balanced with sugar. I can´t overlook the malt background. Despite strong fruit aroma and taste, it is a beer. Not bad. Next experiment I boil for a while to reduce the content. Flavors are bolstered it has almost zesty character.
posted: JITKA /15-10-14/
/* In the Czech Republic (and Austria and Germany as well) we use so-called Germanic system for classifying wines. We measure the sugar content in the grape juice at the time of harvest./
posted: JITKA /2015-10-04/
St. Laurent grapes for Tears of St. Laurent beer ripe
Wine harvest is approaching. Grapes look great. Time of the harvest is critical. We need well riped grapes but too overriped berries could be rotten. So I have to check it very carefully! Today I went to do the quality check with the most qualifed persons :-)
posted: JITKA 15/09/18
Time for fruit!
Apricots ripe! I love this juicy fruit. It’s great in apricot pie as well. But be focused on beer now… We wait few days, we want the apricots a bit overripe – to boost its flavor. This can man afford only on his own orchard. We come every day and taste if the quality is good enough. Apricots are handpicked and put into the fermentation vessels afterwards.
It’s also time of black sour cherries. All fruit in one week. Lucky us… Cherries are from orchard without chemical treatment and that’s very important for good spontaneous fermentation.
posted: JITKA /15-07-24/
March 2015 – Kostelecke Chmelovarek (meeting of homebrewers with the longest tradition in our country). Our first opportunity to test our beer on public. We were asked to prepare short lecture about spontaneous fermentation together with taste samples (usually the most important part). I want to prepare something special. Blend would be great. I have just 2,5 and 1,5 year old batches but it is good occasion to see its potential. The older one is dry to bone and very sour. I can feel the oak barrel and something, something what’s similar to Tokay wine we had not long ago. Hmm, nice. It would be great with caramelized sugar (inspired by faro). Handmade caramelizing sugar on the saucepan is adventure… After short tasting we decided to add 20g per liter.
Samples are ready – apricot beer, beer with St. Laurent and blend.
Kostelecke Chmelovarek is taking part at a small village. It’s raining. Despite that it’s full. I enjoy the meeting and discussion. It’s great to see that other people are also trying their own ways to unusual beer.
posted: JITKA /15-04-04/
Moravian Homebrewers Meeting - first public taste
First taste we prepared for Moravian Homebrewers Meeting in November 2014. We had just few bottles of apricots and black cherries. It would be better to let it age for a while yet, but Homebrewers meeting can’t wait. I hope I meet someone with same interest. I don’t know if Czech homebrewers are interested in this beer…
As I see on the meeting I know nothing about Czech beer community. Of course, fans of wild beer are also here. So back to samples. As I supposed, apricots are better. Black cherries are somehow weak. Beer lacks proper aroma and full taste. Generally in comparison with apricots it is not good enough. I miss sour cherries batch. Anyway, apricots are amazing! It really is summer in taste and smell. I love this fruit. It is not the most acidic wild beer I’ve tasted but that was the plan. Just nice, smooth, fruit sour beer. Beer could be drier, more time would fit. On the other hand carbonation is OK. Generally I am satisfied.
posted: JITKA /14-12-03/
Our first interesting batches. We meet and test one important thing – wild beers are blends very often. Usually it is a mixture of beers produced in different years. Same as spices. The result is more interesting flavors.
Wine harvest approached so we could tried our new idea. We add destemmered St. Laurent grapes to the sweet wort. And let it age in the wooden barrel.
(I start the Blog in year 2014 and write it retroactively)
posted: JITKA /14-09-04/
First trial homebrew batches of wild beer. I’ve studied the main influence on the fermentation and how the flavor is developing. I didn’t know that we have so many awful off-flavors! It was all hopeless. I got to know the only one thing (except the off-flavors) – I know nothing. I´ve dumped also trial batches with fruit. It was hard to admit, that there is a long way to the "end" yet.
(I start the Blog in year 2014 and write it retroactively)
posted: JITKA /14-09-04/