RECIPE: FerMENTORS Series – The Rare Barrel 3

The early days of American wild and sour beer brewing were full of hearsay and guesswork, as Americans paid homage to centuries of European mixed culture brewing.

Out of that darkness came Jay Goodwin, Co-Founder and CEO of The Rare Barrel, whose show The Sour Hour interviewed the most talented and knowledgeable people in the industry.

Armed with heaps of knowledge and years of experience, The Rare Barrel continues to innovate in modern sour beer brewing. Bootleg is honored to release The Rare Barrel’s house culture on the masses.

This unique blend of Sacch, Brett and lactic acid bacteria cultures is lead by a classic bubblegum and clove Belgian saison strain and big tropical fruit and pineapple producing Brett culture. Acidity is reliably controlled by different levels of IBUs.

According to Cellar Manager Tommy Kim, The Rare Barrel’s main recipe for wort production has changed throughout the years and is rarely the same batch to batch. The recipe below is good representation of a classic Rare Barrel recipe.

Starting Gravity: 12 Plato (1.050)

70% Base Malt (Weyermann Pilsner or Rahr Standard 2-Row)
12% Malted Wheat (Gambrinus or Rahr)
6% Spelt Malt (Weyermann)
6% Vienna (Weyermann)
6% Flaked Oats (Grain Millers)


Based on hop variety preference. A small boil addition of a low-AA hop to inhibit bacteria
0-5 IBU range: Should acidify within the first two weeks of fermentation.
5-15 IBU range: Should acidify within a couple of months.
15-30 IBU range: May take as long as 3-6 months to fully acidify.




Pitch between 68-70 F and let free rise to 72F. Once it reaches 40% attenuation, allow fermentation temperature to rise to 75F until reaching a stable gravity close to 1.5 Plato (1.006).
When used as a secondary culture after a Sacch primary fermentation, acidification typically occurs within 6 months.

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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3 thoughts on “RECIPE: FerMENTORS Series – The Rare Barrel

  • Darren Vaughn

    Hello, I’m using rare barrel as a secondary fermentation in a 10 gallon oak barrel. I used a saison recipe I liked, and set IBUs for 6 months maturation. It’s now in final weeks. Tasting great. My question, I keep my barrel topped up into the bung. And I top it up once a month. It looses about 24 ounces a month. The barrel is stored indoors, temp 65-75F. I topped it recently and noticed a pelice trying/beginning to form. Should I be concerned? And should I continue topping it up also. I spray starsan on bung before pulling it, and apply again before sealing it up. Thanks!

    • Jeff Mello Post author

      Hey Darren! I would probably only worry about topping up that size barrel every 3 to 6 months. Volume loss is pretty natural with wood aging. A pellicle forms in the presence of oxygen. It’s possible when the bung is being removed oxygen is getting into the beer. Probably not the end of the world if the beer isn’t tasting acetic. You can try pushing CO2 into the top of the barrel after removing the bung or ensuring fermentation kicks off again if topping up.

      • Darren Vaughn

        Okay thanks! I’m thinking I’ll change the IBU, maturation to 3 months instead of 6 after this. I didn’t think about the introduction of finished beer still fermenting with this culture. My FG was 1.010, with anticipating a new finish of 1.005 with the rare barrel culture. Thank you very much! Cheers!