Austin, TX – Jester King Ambrée was inspired by the rustic farmhouse ales of French Flanders, particularly those brewed by Brasserie Thiriez in Esquelbecq — one of our favorite breweries in the world. Ambrée is a dry, tart, naturally conditioned amber ale fermented and matured with dozens of different strains of brewers’ yeast, native wild yeast, brettanomyces yeast, and souring bacteria. It’s 6.4% alcohol by volume, has a finishing gravity of 1.005, and is 3.5 pH.
What perhaps is most unique about Ambrée is the time it was given to slowly ferment. Ambrée underwent a three and a half month fermentation, with the first two months spent in stainless steel and the final six weeks spent in bottles, kegs, and casks. The reason we devote considerable time to the fermentation of Ambrée, just as we do with all our beers, is because we really like the funky flavors and aromas that our yeasts produce late in fermentation. At the outset of fermentation, our yeasts are quite happy. They have plenty of food and nutrients and are able to thrive and multiply. But as time passes, the food sources dwindle, the alcohol and CO2 content rises, and the pH drops, resulting in a much less hospitable environment. As the yeasts, which are living organisms, struggle to survive they become “stressed”. It’s at this point in the fermentation we start to see development of the flavors and aromas we’re after.
Ambrée could be made much faster if we wanted. It only takes about 7 to 10 days for the sugars in the unfermented beer, or wort, to be consumed by the yeasts. At that point, we have drinkable beer. Most ales, in fact, are made fairly quickly in a total of just two or three weeks. There’s nothing wrong with this, especially in the context of Anglo-American brewing. But as we mentioned, we allow our yeasts to continue to slowly ferment long after the initial sugars have been consumed. This is what we call allowing the beer to ferment to completion, which in our opinion, is one of the key elements that defines farmhouse brewing.
A gravity keg of Ambrée will debut at the Austin Beer Guide Winter Issue Release Party at The ABGB on Thursday, December 19th at 6pm. The following day Ambrée will be on draught at our brewery during our tasting room hours and will continue to be served throughout the weekend at Jester King. Bottles of Ambrée (750ml) will be released at our brewery in January or February, depending on how label printing goes.
The artwork for Ambrée was created by our own Josh Cockrell and is entitled “Franco-American Gothic”.