RECIPE: FerMENTORS Series – Black Project Spontaneous Ales

Black Project Spontaneous and Wild Ales is known for creative beers that incorporate spontaneously inoculated wort. To make things even more interesting, the Black Project Culture is a mix of both coolship and grape-derived microbes.

Founder James Howat recommends using a high mash temperature and increasing the amount of wheat used for beers that will be aged for extended periods of time. As with any of Black Project’s beers, oxygen is the enemy and so James advises against oxygenating starters, wort, or using small format barrels unless necessary.

Since this culture is partially sourced from grape skins, try a fun take on this recipe by introducing locally sourced grape must.



Mash Temp: 160F (71C): pull out a small amount of starchy liquid shortly after mashing in and reintroduce in the boil. This will leave  starch for the post Sacch fermentation phase.

Pilsner Malt – 88%

White Wheat Malt – 10% (increase percentage the longer the beer will be aged)

Unmalted Wheat – 2%


Aim for at least 25 IBUs. Using higher AA hops will reduce wort loss and inhibit bacteria from producing excessive acidity. Aged hops are not necessary.


Black Project Spontaneous Culture

Knockout wort at 75F for pitching and let fermentation temperature free rise as warm as possible  

About Jeff Mello

Chief Yeast Wrangler @bootlegbiology. I play with yeast so you don't have to. You may have already met my beard.

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