Wood- and Barrel-Aged Sour Beer – Hybrid/Mixed Lagers or Ale

Wood- and Barrel-Aged Sour Beer Style

  • Color: Varies with underlying style and can be influenced by the color of added fruit(s) if any
  • Clarity: Varies with underlying style
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Varies with underlying style
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Varies with underlying style
  • Perceived Bitterness: Varies with underlying style
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Typical of underlying style of sour beer being aged
  • Body: Varies with underlying style
  • Additional notes: These are any traditional or experimental style of lager, ale or hybrid beer aged in either a wooden barrel or in contact with wood, and exhibiting acidity derived from exposure to bacteria. These beers are aged in the presence of microflora (either present in the wood or introduced at some time in the brewing process) with the intention of introducing sourness to the beer. These beers are aged with the intention of developing unique attributes imparted by the wood and/or by liquids that had previously been stored in contact with the wood. Wood aging does not necessarily impart wood flavors but does result in distinctive sensory outcomes. Used sherry, rum, whiskey, tequila, port, wine and other barrels are often used, imparting complexity and uniqueness to a beer. A balance of aroma, flavor and mouthfeel results from the marriage of new beer with attributes imparted by the wood or barrel, and with sourness and/or other attributes derived from bacteria. These beers may or may not have Brettanomyces character. For purposes of competition, entries made with fruit are categorized as Fruited Wood-Aged Sour Beer. Entries made with spices are categorized as Herb/Spice Beers. Entries made with combinations of and or fruit(s) and or spices and or other ingredients, and which therefore represent combinations of multiple hybrid beer styles, are categorized as Experimental Beer.
    Versions made with fruit(s) will exhibit attributes of wood-aging, acidity and those added fruit(s). Competition organizers may choose to create subcategories for Wood-aged sour beers made with fruit or other ingredients. When using these guidelines as the basis for evaluating entries at competitions, brewers may be asked to provide supplemental information about entries in this category to allow for accurate evaluation of diverse entries. Such information might include the underlying beer style upon which the entry is based, or other information unique to the entry such as length of time aged, type of wood or barrel, age, char level or previous liquids held by the wood, micro flora present if known, other ingredients or other processing which influence perceived sensory outcomes.

Wood- and Barrel-Aged Sour Beer Vital Statistics

  • Original Gravity (°Plato) Varies with style 
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) Varies with style 
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) Varies with style 
  • Bitterness (IBU) Varies with style
  • Color SRM (EBC) Varies with style

2020 Brewers Association Beer Style Guidelines used with permission of Brewers Association.

Credit: 2020 Brewers Association Beer Style Guidelines – Hybrid/Mixed Lagers or Ale – Wood- and Barrel-Aged Sour Beer