Wildflower St Phoebe 2022: Ebony Sun will be available online and for tasting and take-away/collection at our cellar door from 12pm (AEST) on Friday 3 March 2023.
The second of two variants for St Phoebe 2022, this ale was made by blending barrel aged golden mixed culture fermentation ale with 990kg of fresh, whole, tree ripened, Ebony Sun plums from Thornbrook Orchard in Nashdale, NSW. After a 5 month maceration and refermentation of fruit and beer, it was bottled and allowed to naturally carbonate and mature for 8 months before release.
Topher's production notes
I took a whole new approach in making Phoebe '22 than I did in '21. There was something about the '20 release that the '21 didn't quite reach... the sweetness of the plum, the clarity of the fruit... While I liked the '21, I really set out to see if I could repeat the '20 in this '22 ale.
A practice we use quite commonly and almost religiously use is a period (days/weeks) of carbonic soaking of whole fruit in tank before we add beer. For the fruit, this allows a moment of super-ripening as well as allowing the microflora on the fruit to bloom a bit and be present in the eventual refermentation. In '21 we let that run a bit longer than I did in '20 and there was a fair bit more fruit in a single tank... so in '22 I split the fruit between various tanks so as to not allow for additional compaction of the plums at the bottom and watched/smelled the carbonic soaks everyday to make a call as to when to add beer. What I realised is that I'm trying to hit an axis of fruit ripeness and microflora bloom... letting the former go as far as it can before the latter becomes dominant.
Like '21, this '22 Phoebe is one of the last fruit beers from the harvest to be released. It spent three months macerating with fruit and has been conditioning in bottle for over 6 months now. The barrel selection in this 'St' this year, if I can say so, is really nice. It's apparent in the final beer, a really complex, intriguing experience.
The base beer is brewed entirely with NSW-grown regenerative certified organic cereals from Chris and Sam Greenwood's farm in Coleambally NSW. Organic raw red wheat with organic Schooner barley malted to a pale roast by Voyager Craft Malt. It is made with filtered Sydney water and Motueka (NZ) and Saaz (CZ) hops. Finally, it was fermented with our house culture of microflora wholly foraged from native flowers in NSW. It was bottled on 11 July 2022 and naturally conditioned through refermentation for 33 weeks. At bottling it was 5.8% ABV.
Luke's tasting notes
Sweet red fruits dominate the nose. Bright raspberry, sweet jammy strawberry and dark broody plum. Lifted red confectionery sweets and musky perfume. Wafts of funk, oak and frankincense. Intense palate. Brimming with vibrant ripe fruits, raspberry, plum and cranberry. A funky vinous element gives wonderful dimension and complexity. The oak is present yet controlled, perfectly interlaced with the fruit. The finish is racy, cleansing the palate in a whirlwind of raspberry acidity.
And like all our beers, St Phoebe 2022: Ebony Sun is best enjoyed when decanted off a settled natural yeast sediment at cellar temperatures (10-12°C).