Are sour beers actually beer?

Answered by Tom Adger

Sour beers are indeed considered beer, although they have some distinct characteristics that set them apart from traditional beers. While they may not follow the typical brewing process and ingredients, they still fall under the beer category due to their fermentation and alcohol content.

One of the main differences between sour beers and other types of beer is the use of different types of yeast. Traditional beers often use saccharomyces cerevisiae, a type of brewer’s yeast that is responsible for the fermentation process. However, sour beers usually utilize a different variety of yeast, such as Brettanomyces or lactobacillus, which contribute to the souring and unique flavors of these beers.

Another difference is the brewing environment. While most beers are brewed in a sterile and controlled environment to minimize the risk of contamination, sour beers are often intentionally exposed to wild yeast and bacteria. This exposure allows for spontaneous fermentation, where the natural microorganisms present in the environment contribute to the fermentation process. This method of brewing gives sour beers their characteristic tartness and complexity.

It’s important to note that not all sour beers are created equal. There are different styles and techniques used in sour beer production, resulting in a wide range of flavors and intensities. Some sour beers may have a subtle tanginess, while others can be intensely sour and acidic. This diversity adds to the appeal and enjoyment of sour beers for beer enthusiasts.

Personal experiences with sour beers can vary greatly, as taste preferences differ from person to person. Some may find the sourness of these beers to be refreshing and exciting, while others may find it off-putting. It’s a matter of personal preference and exploration.

To summarize, while sour beers may deviate from the traditional brewing methods and ingredients, they are still considered beer due to their fermentation and alcohol content. The use of different yeast strains and intentional exposure to wild yeast and bacteria give sour beers their distinctive sour flavors. Exploring the world of sour beers can be a fascinating journey for beer lovers looking to expand their palate.