Hello, Helio! It’s time to welcome back Wooden Soul: Heliotropic, a Brett Saison Aged in Oak Barrels. The original release from our wild, sour, and barrel-aged Wooden Soul series, Heliotropic returns this summer in handy 375 ml bottles for your on-the-go, beachcombing, park roaming season.
Wooden Soul: Heliotropic is a Brett Saison that’s aged in oak vessels for five to six months. But before you pop that cork, there’s a lot more to uncover. The journey begins in our Northeast brewery where Heliotropic is brewed with a Belgian saison yeast strain, several kinds of malt, and Hallertau and Willamette hops. After fermentation, the beer is moved to our off-site warehouse and barrel room. There, several wild yeast strains are added to the beer and it ages at room temperature in oak barrels and foeders (essentially giant wooden barrels) for around half a year.
While Heliotropic ages, it develops flavors of tropical fruit, over-ripe fruit, and funk and is tasted multiple times for quality control (and for fun). After five to six months, we believe this beer starts to peak, and is almost ready to drink. The beer from both the barrels and foeders is blended, then brought back over to the brewery for packaging. At this time, we begin the lengthy process of hand bottling (we can only fill about two bottles per minute vs. our canning line which can run at 40 cans per minute!). Heliotropic is then bottle conditioned, meaning extra yeast and sugar are added before the bottles are corked, creating a more lively carbonation. The bottles are left to sit and let the yeast do its thing (convert sugar into CO2, #science) for another few weeks. Then the bottles are hand labeled and boxed up to ship out to stores.
So, are we ready to taste now? At first pour, big vinous aromas will greet you, with notes of passionfruit and plum, plus a hint of bubble gum and fruit flavor. Straw colored with a copper glow and haze, Heliotropic is dry, waxy, tart and well-balanced with fruity flavors from the Brett yeast strains. Its moderate to high carbonation (thanks bottle conditioning!) make it a fizzy and refreshing treat on a sunny, summer day. We think Helio is ready for your mouth right now, but you can age it for up to one year to produce even more vinous, wine-like flavors.
Wooden Soul: Heliotropic hits shelves in 375 ml bottles next week. You can also find it on tap in select locations in the Twin Cities and beyond, or try it on the patio of our Northeast taproom. They say life is all about the journey, but in Heliotropic’s case, that first sip sure is a fine final product.