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WINTER IS COMING

A Belgian Dark Strong Ale for the winter

We were always fans of winter beers, we loved the labels with snow, Santa Claus, mistletoe or fairy creatures, so since we opened our brewery we were restless and we wanted to make a winter beer. And since the winter beers are usually dark and strong in alcohol, we started to think about the recipe in the summer time.

The brewing was in the first days of July and while everyone was sunbathing and enjoying the summer, we were thinking about our winter beer.


Winter

It started with a recipe of a Belgian Dark Strong Age: six types of malt, two types of hop, Belgian dark candi syrup and extra, we added during boiling some spices (grains of paradise and coriander) and lots of cocoa husks. And of course we fermented with a fresh yeast blend (Belgian strains). After the fermentation ended, we wanted to do more and we transferred in the secondary tank on cherry wood chips, a couple of kilos of organic cocoa beans from Ivory Coast, more cocoa husks and grains of paradise.

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COLLABORATION BREWS

Experimental batches of new beers


QuadIPA

There is a time in the life of each brewer when it comes natural brew beers in collaboration with other brewers. The craft beer scene is very friendly and is a continuous exchange of experience and knowledge.

The story of our collaborations starts simple and we chose the month of September to brew both beers.

The first collaboration brew was with Sunstone Ale from Chisinau, Moldova. We’ve known Kirill for some years now from the time we were homebrewing and it was obvious to make a beer together. We got along from the first time we met and we have always tried each other beer and loved them. So it was normal to start thinking in making a beer together.

Choosing the recipe wasn’t so difficult because we are into Belgian stuff and he is into hoppy beers, so the winner style was a Quadrupel IPA, brewed with lots of hops and fermented with Belgian liquid yeasts.

The brew day was as much fun as it could be, honestly since we opened the brewery we haven’t considered that the stuff we are doing are working stuff because we enjoy it, maybe except for the bottling because it takes a lot of time. Returning to the main subject, it was a super fun day where we talked about beers and beer things related. Stas from Elvis brewery from Chisinau joined us in discussions and we tasted beers meanwhile brewing.

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LIMITED EDITION BEERS

From core range to limited edition

Here, at Oriel Beer, we like to play with recipes and because of that we decided to change a little our base recipes of Oriel Blond and Oriel Dubbel.

Blond WIld

Let’s start with the blond one because everyone likes blondes. We brewed it like the basic one with a primary fermentation of two weeks using a Belgian yeast strain. All good and nice until now. After the primary fermentation, we moved the beer into a second tank where we added Brettanomyces Bruxellensis, a spontaneous yeast, that is naturally found in the air. The strain of this wild yeast was isolated from brewery cultures of Brussels and it’s commonly found in lambic-style beers.
For the second fermentation we kept the beer for a month and then we bottled it and let it rest for three months.
With this type of yeast is all about time because it eats slowly and it will continue to eat and break down sugars long after packaging. Beers fermented in secondary with Brettanomyces will change over time, often becoming dryer and continuing to produce esters and phenols.
One famous trappist beer, Orval that is seconadary fermented with Brettanomyces is sold at the brewery aged in bottle for three years. And the taste is just wonderful.

Don’t be afraid of this kind of taste because it is normal to be slightly sour, funky and with an earthy character. Some have described it as having a “barnyard” or “wet horse blanket” flavor. Don’t laugh, is normal.
That’s how it was with the Blond so be wild, drink wild.

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THE STORY OF A BARREL AGED BEER

From barrel aging in homebrewing to barrel aging at the brewery

Barrels

Barrel Aging is a well established tradition in brewing and we started to apply it since we homebrewed so it was normal to start doing this also at the brewery.
The beer ages with the aim to convey the unique character of the wood and the flavour of what has previously been in the barrel.
When we homebrewed at home we used a small bourbon barrel of 20 liters from a small distillery from the United States, so for the first batch we decided to go with similar aromas and we chose the Jack Daniel’s Tennessee whiskey barrels because of their unique flavour. We were impressed by the balanced sweet and oaky character of this whiskey as well as by the vanilla and caramel notes.

Brewing a Belgian inspired Quadrupel

Back in 2017, in October, in full licensing process to produce and sell beer, we brewed this beer as our third beer from our portfolio, after Oriel Blond and Oriel Dubbel. We choose five types of malt from Germany and Belgium malt houses, two types of Slovenian hops from a small Slovenian farm, of course Belgian dark candi syrup, which is often use in this type of beer and last but not least, a special blend of liquid Belgian strain yeasts. After one month of primary fermentation in the tank, we moved the beer into two Jack Daniel’s barrels of 190 liters and forgot about it for the next six months.

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THE BREWING

About the process

Brewing beer is not as difficult as everyone thinks. Yes, you may need some knowledge in chemistry, but it may be enough just to read and read some books about the process of brewing and just practice. And not to forget about creativity. When the brewer is creative, the beer will be good. You can find so much information nowadays about beers and how they are made, the only thing that you need is just time for it and some interest.

But with all this information, I realized that not everyone who drinks beer knows how beer is made. Yes, we all know about Reinheitsgebot or the German Beer Purity Law which says loud and clear that beer is made of water, hops and barley. They forgot about the yeast, but no worries, they did not consider it an ingredient in 1516.

Ingredients for beer

The ingredients


Apart form water, hops, barley malt, wheat and yeast, many other ingredients can be used. Ingredients like herbs or spices, syrups, fruits, lactose, just to name a few. There are a lot of types of malted barley and hops and each of them is used in a specific type of beer. Depending on the type of beer, can be used from one barley malt to maybe eight or ten types and same goes for the hops, each one giving different flavors. The yeasts may be top-fermenting for the ALE BEERS, bottom-fermenting for LAGERS and Spontaneous for SOUR BEERS. There are literally hundreds of varieties and strains of yeast, naturally each of them acting different.

The barley is not used as it is harvested from the field, it goes through a malting process in which the grains are made to germinate by soaking in water, and are then halted from germinating further by drying with hot air.

We have the ingredients, so let’s get back to the process.

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THE BEGINNING


Oriel

Homebrewing

Once upon a time

More precisely in the summer of 2010, we brewed our first beer kit. At the beginning I did not take it seriously, I thought it was just something Laurentiu wants to try once to see how it is. When we met, he told me he is passionate about beer, collecting crown caps from beers all over the world.
At that time I didn’t know much about beer. To be honest, like most of the people, I thought that beer is that clear, yellowish, whatever beverage. And for sure not for my taste. But I was so wrong and I am thinking now that so many people don’t have any clue about beer, being fooled by the big companies with their marketing campaigns.

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