Yesterday, on my way to the Boonville Beer Festival, my first stop was Russian River Brewing, specifically the new production brewery. The first brew in the new facility was done the previous night and Vinnie didn’t leave until almost 4:30 in the morning. I was on hand for the first “public” brewing and few other friends and colleagues stopped by throughout the day, as well. Since Vinnie’s still learning the new system, the first beer brewed is a new one, a sour beer called Consecration, a fitting choice to consecrate the brewery. Consecration has been brewed only once before, at the brewpub, but has not yet been released because it needs to age for nine months before it’s ready. That beer was described on the website as “a dark Belgian style ale aged in American oak Cabernet Sauvignon barrels. Not only do we use Brettanomyces, Lactobacillus, & Pediococcus, we also add currants to beer while it is aging in the barrels.” The Consecration is also brewed with bitter orange peel. The final beer should be around 26 IBUs and around 8.5% abv. It was made with 2-row malt, Special B, and a few other malts and Styrian Goldings and Sterling hops. It’s brewed with an Abbey Ale yeast, and Brettanomyces, Lactobacillus, & Pediococcus will be added during the barrel aging process, along with Zante currants, which are essentially raisins.
The Zante currant (Vitis vinifera) or currant is a variety of small, sweet, seedless grape named after Corinth (currant) and the Ionian island of Zakynthos (Zante) and not to be confused with the Ribes berries “currants” (eg blackcurrant, redcurrant), which are in a different family altogether. Their name apparently comes from Old French “raisins de Corauntz”; “Zante” was recently prepended to the name to distinguish them from the ribes berries “currants.”
If all continues to go well, the first batch of Pliny the Elder should be brewed on Sunday, which would make it ready for bottling the first week of June. So look for bottles to start being distributed in mid-June, though initially I suspect they’ll be primarily in the Bay Area.
The gang from Russian River Brewing just before the mash-in of Consecration.
Vinnie Cilurzo flips the switch to begin the mash-in.