The first thing we did was to place a bucket filled with sugary beer wort underneath the apple tree in our garden and wait for the magic to happen. And it did! After a few days the wort was turned into a natural, wild beer utilising the yeast and bacteria in the air. While the beer itself was not anything we would drink, it did show some promise. Over the course of many months we inoculated dozens of different worts at different temperatures. We ended up with a culture that provided the unique fermentation character we wanted with enough acid producing bacteria to make the beer lightly tart, which was exactly what we wanted. We called the resulting culture “The Garden Party”.
In 2015 we found the location we needed on the harbour of the little fishing village of Tejn. After several months of hard work cleaning, painting, installing equipment and then some more cleaning, we finally got to make our first beers to fill our many barrels.
We had the goal of creating balanced beers where the acidic component serves as a balancing character without taking the stage from the malt, hops and yeast flavours. We already knew that our Garden Party culture could produce the result we wanted if it was kept cool, so all our wild barrels ended up in a huge cool room, where it would sit until ready.
What we did not expect was that it would take almost three years before we had the perfect beers we were looking for. But what we did believe is that it would be worth the waiting time, to get the unique balance and depth of flavour from a long slow fermentation.
In the autumn of 2018 the first four beers became available and in the summer of 2019 we will have another few available. Being only two people in the brewery, production is limited. Our ambition is to be able to add a few beers per year to our core range with an annual yield of approximately 30.000 bottles.
It has been a long, tough and challenging journey. I hope you agree with us, that it was worth all the work and the long waiting time.
… And why “Penyllan”?
My family were some of the first settlers in Western Australia and before that they came from Wales. Generations before that Penyllan was the name of the family homestead on top of a hill in Wales. The name has been passed down and used for many things over the years, recently being a yacht and my uncles house (on top of a hill) in Western Australia. So I trekked back there and asked permission to use the name. And he said yes.
Jessica Andersen, Penyllan brewer & blender
Doing things the hard way does not necessarily lead to a better end result. But being involved on in every step of the process is what allows us to create beers with a personal expression. Every beer starts by being mashed in by hand in small batches and hand bottled after fermentation and maturation. Our labels are hand drawn and the labels are manually signed and applied manually to the bottles.
Wood has been the traditional fermentation and maturation vessel for beer for centuries. We use wood for several reasons. For some beers we use fresh wood where the tannins and wood sugars provide structure and mouth feel to the beer. For other beers we use freshly emptied wine- and spirit barrels where the product previously hosted in the barrel lends its character to the beer. Finally, wood is a living and porous material that allows the microorganisms in our yeast and bacteria culture to thrive and keep producing aromas and flavours for years.
Time may be our most expensive ingredient. We put our barrels in our insulated warehouse, where the beer ripen slowly and cool for years. The culture we inoculate our beers with is a mix of wild yeast, bacteria and fungus, that unlike regular beer yeast, is not optimised to live in the harsh environment a beer is. However, given enough time the micro organisms will slowly and steadily develop rich, complex and smooth flavors, while the extended contact with wood provides the luscious mouthfeel we seek in our beers.
Every beer is carefully monitored during maturation. We regularly sample our barrels to taste the progress and make trial blends. Working with wild yeasts and bacteria means extra effort has to be taken to obtain a stable and consistently good end result. Some barrels loose beer over time – the so called “angels share” – and needs to be topped up to compensate. Others do not go in the direction we look for and will need to be inoculated with a fresh culture of micro organisms. Some may even need to be dumped so the barrel can be put to better use.
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© 2018-2019 Penyllan
Havnevej 8D (entrance from Vestkajen 1).
Tax Warehouse ID: DK31303990301