Summit Unchained #11: Old 152 release October 22

Old 152 revives American beer history
Old 152 revives American beer history

What the heck is a Kentucky Common? It's the next release in the Summit Unchained Series called Old 152, that's what. For this one brewer Eric Harper has dug back in time to pull out a uniquely America beer style, one that had for the most part been relegated to the history books. Popular in and around Louisville in the days before Prohibition, Kentucky Common is marked by a relation to bourbon, an interesting brewing process, and flavors that are potentially unfamiliar to many. Harper's version will be released to Twin Cities beer fans the week of October 22.

Two things made Kentucky Common similar to the Kentucky bourbon whiskey produced in the area -- the grains used in the recipe and the mash process used to extract sugars from those grains. Kentucky Common brewers were said to have used an inverted version of the whiskey grain bill -- 70 percent barley, 20 percent corn, and 10 percent rye instead of 70 percent corn, 20 percent rye, and 10 percent barley. They were also reported to have adopted the sour mash process used by whiskey makers, in which the steeping grains are left overnight, allowing naturally occurring bacteria on the grains to produce a bit of sour acidity. Rather than being distilled, the sour mash was boiled with hops and then fermented with brewer's yeast. The resulting beer was described as an easy-drinking, slightly sour, malty brown ale.

The press release from Summit doesn't say whether Harper used a sour mash to make Old 152, but it does state that the beer won't be sour. According to the release, we can look forward to a beer that "pours a chestnut color with a slight haze and exhibits flavors of biscuit, toast, and rye."

Here are the specs for the beer nerds:

AVB: 5.8% IBU: 55 Color: Chesnut Hops: Cluster, Northern Brewer (Dry hopped: Cluster) Malts/Grains: Pale Malt, Victory®, Crystal Medium, Rye Malt, Distillers Malt, White Wheat, Maize

Harper will available at launch events throughout the metro beginning with a beer dinner on October 18.

  • October 18: Beer Dinner -- Kincaid's in St. Paul, 6:30 p.m.
  • October 23: Bean bag battle with Harper for Summit prizes -- Sweeney's, 4-6 p.m.
  • October 25: Beer Dinner -- Gold Nugget Tavern & Grille, 7 p.m.
  • November 14: Hunter's Dinner -- Jax Café, time TBA

Cheers, Michael Agnew Certified Cicerone A Perfect Pint

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