Interview: Kevin Osborne, Cellador Ales
One of the greatest things that comes from our homebrewing community is how humble some brewers can be. Some of the best beers have come about from the most critical palettes. Kevin Osborne is one of those talented new brewers to unleash his mixed-fermentation beers to the L.A. beer scene out of another rural industrial complex with the focus only on unique and exceptional mixed-fermented ales that are 100% oak barrel-fermented using high quality local and organic ingredients.
Starting off as a homebrewer, Kevin caught the bug brewing up with five years under his belt and like most homebrewers, determined the best path to opening his own brewery. Taking the necessary steps to fully understand the switch from homebrewing to commercial brewing, he invested himself in positions from both Golden Road and an internship at Stone Brewing. With 100 barrels and an ambitious nature, his brewery has a collection of thick, developed pellicles in 1 and 5 gallon carboys stashed in the corner. Just another example of the amazing homebrewed inspiration left through his current brewing practice.
Inspired by farmhouse-style ales such as Jester King and historical beers such as Midas Touch by Dogfish Head, there is a clear path between the romantic progression of microflora that inspires Kevin’s mixed-fermentation process to impart into Cellador’s lineup. With the yeast as expressive as they come, his passion to integrate mixed fermentation has developed over time. Starting with their initial homebrew culture, Cellador’s culture began and has developed over numerous generations beginning with cultures from Saison Dupont with the ever evolving additions of dregs from Crooked Stave and Jester King. Although there is no specific house strain allocated to the brewery, his addition of commercial strains such as cultures from Bootleg Biology, East Coast Yeast, and Yeast Bay, these bugs will continue to evolve and develop. In reference to Wicked Weed, Kevin shares that most mixed fermented cultures find a sweet spot after 40 generations, which would be difficult for most homebrewers, but Kevin has set it as a goal for himself and develop these cultures over time and watch the natural shift.
To narrow in on his craft, much of his early stages of homebrewing came to getting feedback, Kevin proceeded to share his homebrew with friends and compete to gain more insights to his beers. In fact, more, one of his most notable awards being “Best of Show” in the Bruery’s homebrew competition, which he brewed Batch 1731 – A Hoppy Brett Beer.
Although a still relatively new blendery at 100 barrels, Kevin has his eye set on the relation between fermented flavors of brett and it’s transformative properties of dry hopping and fruited variants. Personally, this is one area that I cannot wait to hear more information on since much of what occurs during the natural bottling conditioning process and the interaction and transformation between brett & hops is still somewhat unknown. His inspiration as a homebrewer has carried over to concentrating his time on mixed fermented, dry hopped and fruited ales.
Here is a few of his recent releases to showcase his strength to this style:
FIREGOLD – Funky Farmhouse ale brewed with Mosaic and El Dorado, aged on oranges and orange peel. 5.8%
PALIMPSEST BOURBON BARREL BLEND – Fermented and aged in oak barrels with a mixed culture of saison yeasts, brettanomyces’ and lactic acid producing bacteria. Brewed with Bohemian Pilsner, Wheat, Oats ,Spelt, Aromatic, CaraMunich and CaraAroma. 8.5%
AKIMBO – Table sour aged in Chardonnay Barrels with Masumoto peaches and dry hopped with Nelson Sauvin. 4.2%
RESTIK – Blend 1 with Mosaic & El Dorado Hops Fermented and aged in oak barrels with our house culture of saison years, brettanomyces’ and lactic acid producing bacteria. Brewed with Pilsner Malt, Wheat, Vienna, Oats, Spelt and Aromatic. 5.8%
Be sure to pick up a (self distributed) bottle at your local homebrew shop! Cellador Ales also has a membership program, Single Barrel Syndicate as well (which I am definitely looking in to joining). A lot of great beer will be flowing out of Cellador and I’m extremely excited to see how they develop. They are also in the process of launching a tap room, so hopefully on-site consumption will be a normal thing for them.
Mixed Fermentation Tips for Homebrewers:
– In most of his beers, he accounts for a large portion of oats in the range of anywhere from 15-30% to account for mouthfeel for lack of glycerol in conjunction with fermenting with brettanomyces
– Kevin begins most of his beers with a single infusion @ 147-148 to dry out relatively fast + the addition of spelt, raw oats, and raw wheat to also achieve mouthfeel while achieving a deferment malt profile
– Consider fermenting with honey instead of dextrose (be sure to account for a 10% increase in honey)
– Co-pitch your saccharomyces strains along side brett & LAB cultures for a primary fermentation