Beer Reviews

Moonburst (Fruited Sour Ale)

A galactic tug-of-war between stonefruit satellites reverberates with notes of ripe apricot, nectarine peel and muted oak. Light golden with a slight haze, Moonburst (6.64%) erupts with restrained acidity and a brisk, satisfying finish.

Review courtesy of our Sensory Specialist, Travis Houston, a Certified Cicerone and FoBAB judge.

Vintage: 2019

Months Aged: 14

Culture: House Brettanomyces, House Lactobacillus, Wild fermentation from fruit skins

This beer stayed busy during secondary fermentation. Talk us through what inoculation and wild fermentation mean, and what each of these processes adds to the final product.

In brewing, inoculation refers to intentionally introducing different microbes, either yeast or bacteria, to beer. In Moonburst, we started with our house wild yeast (Brettanomyces) and souring bacteria (Lactobacillus) to perform the primary fermentation. Alcohol and acid were produced during this phase, along with a range of by-products that microbes create during fermentation. Wild yeast and bacteria also live on the skin of fruit; the cloudy spots on the skin of grapes is actually brewer’s yeast, for example. The next step was to add the fruit, which introduced the wild yeast and bacteria that lives on the skin. The fruit also introduced large amounts of sugar, giving these new microbes something to ferment. The wild yeast and bacteria produce different by-products, which add some really unique and interesting flavors to the beer. Since this wild fermentation is unpredictable, we were pleasantly surprised with the final product. 

Rhinegeist Oak Foeder

An oak foeder, where the beer is inoculated with our house cultures

What makes you want to drink this beer?

The fresh fruit character is incredible. It’s very noticeable that this beer used whole fruit; hints of fruit skin, juice and rind are all present. All these layers are amplified by the complex acidity imparted by wild fermentation, along with hints of oak from the foeder where it underwent primary fermentation. 

What are some of your favorite mixed culture or wild fermentation beers?

Instead of specific beers, I’ll list some places who have my favorite house mixed cultures. Jackie O’s and Little Fish both make incredible beer, but their mixed culture fermentations are on another level. Wicked Weed also has an insanely good house culture, and their use of fresh fruit is always impressive.

Bottle of Rhinegeist Moonburst with Fruit display

Appearance: Light gold and hazy with minimal white foam.

Aroma: Fresh, bright stone fruit. Apricot and nectarine skin and flesh.

Taste: Medium acidity and massive amounts of stone fruit flavor.

Mouthfeel: Dry and thin, with some lingering fruity acidity.

Overall: Fresh stone fruit, namely apricot and nectarine, are packed into this light-bodied, medium acidity sour beer.

What foods would pair well with Moonbusrt?

This would go great with a goat cheese board.

Ideal glassware for Moonburst?

A snifter.


Rhinegeist moonburst bottle atop a barrel