Barreled Souls Brewing Co. is owned and operated by Chris Schofield and Matthew Mills. Chris and Matt both grew up in Wells, ME and have been friends since the fourth grade. The idea of opening a brewery together came up many times over the years, usually while imbibing on some stellar examples of the craft. The conversation got serious in the summer of 2012 and two years later Barreled Souls was open for business.
About the Brewery
Matt and Chris set out to create the kind of beers they would want to drink and the kind of brewery they would want to spend time at. This meant focusing on making a large variety of beers, using unique ingredients and processes paired with a large, comfortable and professionally run tasting room that carries 12 varieties on draft.
The brewery operates a fifty gallon brewing system. All of the beer produced at the brewery undergoes primary fermentation in oak barrels. The fermentation system is based off of the Burton Union system, which was a method of fermenting beer developed in England in the 1800's. The benefits of this system are really three-fold.
When beer actively ferments in the presence of oak it begins to break the oak down releasing some tannins into the beer along with some flavor and aroma compounds. These compounds create subtle but noticeable changes that occur in all of the beers resulting in a "house character".
The physical dimensions of the barrels themselves create a very comfortable environment for the yeast. The rounded wall of the barrel help the liquid churn and rotate during fermentation allowing the yeast to more easily move around. The fact that the barrel has a much lower width-to-height ratio reduces that atmospheric pressure on the yeast keeping them healthier leading to better fermentation characteristics.
The primary purpose for using the Burton Union system is to allow for a means of re-capturing a healthy and active yeast crop to use for subsequent batches. As the beer ferments, yeast is driven up to the surface by the CO2 created as the yeast multiply. The yeast that rise to the top are the healthiest and strongest yeast cells in the batch. By filling the barrels almost to the top, this "top crop" of yeast is pushed up and out of the barrels and into a catchment system that allows the yeast to be captured and re-used in subsequent batches. Over generations the yeast acclimate to the system resulting in a selectively bred strain the flourishes.
Barreled Souls Brewing Company is not affiliated with AmericanTowns Media