The Beer Boutique

Last weekend our Wandsworth Town location took on the challenge of replicating Putney’s Petrus tasting event. From lively photos, enthusiastic phone calls, and general knowledge of what the tasting would be it seemed like a fantastic evening to be involved with . . . not that anyone is bitter about it . . . But really we took on task. Nick “The hairy one” came over from Putney to fill the shoes of Phil and guide our guests through beer, food, and blending (you can read in our previous blog the specifics of the tasting.)

 Being a smaller location we expectedly had a smaller group. This gave everybody the time to get more in depth into the discussion on beer, and really challenge us on our beer knowledge. In my opinion we all left with an even greater appreciation for the art form of brewing. No employee at The Beer Boutique think they know everything about beer – that is probably impossible – so knowledge, opinions, hear say, any and all input is not only welcome but encourage at our tastings. We love learning from you just as much as we love teaching you so if you’re shy about speaking up, just have another drink.

Here are a few questions that arose during our tasting.


How does one make a sour beer?

 Whether letting bacteria grow naturally or adding cultivated yeast it is these components at create a sour beer.

 “For a good deal of human history, beers were sour just as a matter of course. Brewers work with sugar sources in warm, moist environments, which, although ideal for alcoholic fermentation, is also ideal for wild souring bacteria. Oak beer barrels were like hostels for this bacteria. It flourished in the nooks and crannies of the wood, and enjoyed a free meal of sweet unfermented beer while the brewer’s yeast wasn’t looking.”
Jeff Baker, Burlington Free Press
Read full article here


 What is the meaning behind double, triple, and quad?

 A common thought being this is very similar to moonshine. An easy way in early brewing to mark strength was with an “X” from low to high. EX: X = low alcohol and XXXX = high alcohol. It is in this tradition that beers likely got their names.

 Another accepted reason is based on the parti-gyle system of mashing. I am going to let I Think About Beer Blog explain it better than me.

“In this system, you drain off your first running of wort and keep it separate  This leads to a first running with a fermentable sugar content of about 22.5%. The second wash (after the first has completely drained) would be less strong at around 15%.  The final wash would end up with a sugar content of about 7.5%.  Now if you work backwards, the double has 2x’s the sugar as the single and the triple has 3x’s the sugar as the single.  Essentially, you’d have 3 beers of 3 different strengths brewed from one mash.  While most people no longer use this system (they blend all the washes together), it might be a good historical explanation on how these styles got their names.”

Now just like with English styles they have simply become guideline for breweries to label their beers: you can not test a beer to find out its exact style.

The exception to the rules above are with Trappist Rochefort whose numbers are believed to designate the page number where the recipe is found their their ancient and secret brewing cookbook, 


 What is the strongest alcohol percentage a  beer can be brewed at without distillation?

 It generally depends on the type of yeast.  However I seem to remember it being around  15% before needing to go into distillation or  freezing (the water out)

 This is actually a subject I do not know much  about. Perhaps some other beer nerds can help  fill in my answer.




Comment Down Below!

Thanks for reading and don't hesitate to teach us more,

Peace and Yeast


Written by The Beer Boutique — July 31, 2016

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