Behind the Scenes: Foeders Arrive in Baileys Harbor
In late March, we received a shipment that we've been eagerly awaiting since announcing this Hacienda project back in February—three oak foeders from Foeder Crafters of America in St. Louis. Foeder Crafters have made foeders for a bunch of well-known sour producers in the US, including New Belgium Brewing, Side Project Brewing, The Bruery, and Trillium Brewing, among many others, and are the only producers of American foeders. Although ours are on the smaller size (7 barrels each), these oak vessels will allow us to substantially increase the production of our mixed fermentation beers. The first of these three foeders will be the home of a rye Brett saison that is currently undergoing primary fermentation with our house saison yeast strain. We can't wait to see how this first beer ages in its new home.
Foeders are simply large oak barrels typically set on end and used for either long-term fermentation or primary fermentation. Compared to normal oak barrels, foeders allow for a higher beer to wood ratio to ensure a slower ingress of oxygen into the beer and a slower acidification process. These oak tanks are frequently used in wine making and traditional European brewing. If you're interested, here's a pretty cool video of one of New Belgium's giant foeders being built.
We had to take each foeder off its frame to squeeze it through the small door of our barrel-aging facility—which is located in our old production space down the road from our current taproom in Baileys Harbor. In addition to these three foeders, we have 16 used wine barrels that will join our other barrels in this space.