Clone Recipe – Goose Island – Halia

I frequent the Whole Foods that had this beer. Over the course of about 2 weeks prior to a bottle share that I hosted, I was at Whole Foods about 5 times getting groceries and looking for rare new beer releases. Each time I was there, I went to the beer section, stopped in front of Goose Island’s Halia, looked at the $23.99 price tag, read the description on the bottle, and felt the internal struggle. The bottle read “Tart wild ale fermented in wine barrels on fresh white peaches, with bright tropical aromas and a dry finish.” The last trip to Whole Foods that I made before the bottle share, I couldn’t hold back; I bought a bottle.

I love a sour golden ale. I love peaches. I love wine. I love a beer on oak. I love a beer on brettanomyces. How could I not buy this beer? My justification for doing so was my usual justification: if I like this beer, I will take careful tasting notes and try to clone it.

Did the $24 risk pay off? Oh yeah it did! To this day, this is the most intriguing, refined, delicious beer I have ever tasted. Was it worth the price tag? Absolutely! At the end of the bottle share, with a total of 3 people, we opened a bottle / can of each of the following:

  • La Cumbre – Elevated IPA
  • Lagunitas – Born Yesterday (2015)
  • Crooked Stave – Petite Sour Pure Guava
  • Crooked Stave – Petite Sour Passion Fruit
  • Goose Island – Halia (2015)
  • Anchorage – Love Buzz
  • Boulevard – Tank 7

These were all excellent beers. At the end of the bottle share, unanimously and without hesitation, all 3 of us agreed that Goose Island Halia was the showstopper. I had to know more about this beer.

Halia – Technical Details

A little bit of basic Googling around lead me to Beer Advocate’s page for Goose Island Halia, where under “Notes & Commercial Description” the following details were given: “Brewed with the saison and farmhouse ales of Belgium in mind, we added fresh Georgia peaches and brettanomyces claussenii to a fresh white wine barrel and aged the saison base for 9 months.”

Going straight to Goose Island’s page for Halia was where I hit the jackpot. To a novice brewer, these details won’t mean that much. Between the information on Beer Advocate and Goose Island’s website, a seasoned brewer will realize that she or he essentially has the recipe for the beer. Oh yeah!

Compiling the two sources of information gives you the following details:

  • Saison base beer (all brettanomyces claussenii? – More about that below – keep reading)
  • 7.5% ABV (my bottle said 7.8% ABV – likely due to seasonal differences in peach sugar content)
  • 11 IBUs
  • Amarillo hops
  • Pilsner, 2-row, torrified wheat malts
  • Georgia white peaches and brettanomyces claussenii for 9 months in a fresh white wine barrel

Reverse Engineering

What are my assumptions?

  • 9 months on brettanomyces means it likely achieves 95-100% attenuation. While I could degas a sample of this beer and take a specific gravity reading, with how delicious the beer is and at $23.99 per bottle, forget that!
  • “Fresh white wine barrel” – Does this mean fresh as in only one or a few batches of wine have been aged in the barrel prior to aging Halia in it? Does this mean it was aged in a virgin barrel normally used for white wine? My guess is the former. I taste and smell peaches and complex vanilla / coconut notes from the oak (similar to what I get from aging a beer on American or French medium toast oak), and I pick up white wine character.
  • A white wine known for having strong oak character (depending on the vintner’s choices for oaking) is Chardonnay. Barrels usually always have leftovers in them when they are passed on to the next brewer, and that’s how white wine character comes through in Halia. I will be adding a great Chardonnay that I know of, Meiomi Chardonnay, to my attempted clone recipe.

Now let’s dive deep into cloning the beer. For adding fruit to a beer, I always keep a framboise in mind for fruit quantity. A framboise is heavy on raspberry flavor. Raspberries themselves are fairly strong in flavor. In a 5 gallon batch, it takes about 10-12 pounds of raspberries in a framboise to make the raspberry magic happen. Halia is not a peach bomb of a beer, and that’s likely for a few reasons:

  • Peach flavor is not as intense as raspberries.
  • According to a 2015 Zymurgy magazine article, peach flavor from peaches fades fairly quickly with time.

Beer Advocate’s page for Halia suggests that it is a saison base beer aged with brettanomyces claussenii, but I happen to think Halia is a 100% brettanomyces claussenii beer, and here’s why:

  • Halia is quite funky (funkier than what I think a brett. strain could do when used as a secondary yeast strain)
  • Now for the long-winded point. Knowing that peaches have a softer flavor than raspberries, and knowing that most of the peach flavor will fade, let’s assume that for 5 gallons they use 10 pounds of peaches. Nutrition Data tells us that peaches will have about 8 grams of sugar per 100 grams of peaches, or about 360 grans of sugar per 10 pounds of peaches. In a 5 gallon batch of beer, 1 pound of corn sugar (100% fermentability) yields about 1% ABV contribution to the batch. The sugars in most fruit are highly fermentable, so we can assume that the peaches contribute about 0.8% ABV to the beer, assuming Goose Island is using around 10 pounds of peaches per 5 gallons of beer and that peach sugars are close to 100% fermentable. How did I arrive at this? If 1 pound of sugar (453 grams) yields 1% ABV per 5 gallons, then 360 grams of sugar (from 10 pounds of peaches) will yield about 0.8% ABV per 5 gallons, since 360 is about 80% of 453. 80% of 1% ABV = 0.8% ABV.
  • If my above numbers are close to what Goose Island is doing with Halia, given that most brettanomyces strains will achieve close to 100% attenuation given enough time, the starting gravity of the base beer should be 1.053. According to The Mad Fermentationist, brettanomyces claussenii (WLP645) “is a wonderful choice for primary fermentation of pale lower gravity worts, especially into the 80sºF, where the fruit character becomes peachy and tropical.” If peach flavor from peaches fades quickly, what better way to preserve it than to have a yeast strain that also produces peach flavor!
  • To conclude, Halia is a wonderful beer with a pale lower gravity wort (~1.053 OG) with distinct peachy tropical flavor and vanilla / coconut notes from oak conditioning. I strongly believe Halia is 100% fermented with WLP645. To further back up my theory, White Labs says WLP645 is most preferred for the saison style on their yeast poster. I rest my case (and hope that I am right).

Now for the hard part: I have to wait for ripe fresh peaches at their peak. I will be getting them from the Schnepf Farms Peach Festival starting on the 14th of May. I will be doing an extract batch to test out my 100% WLP645 theory before I buy 10 pounds of peaches and fire up the all-grain system for the real deal.

Testing My 100% WLP645 Theory

Extract test batch (before I go all-in)

2016-03-09 Prepare 1.5 L starter with WLP645
2016-03-11 Cold crash starter
2016-03-13 Step starter
2016-03-15 Cold crash starter
2016-03-17 Brew day

Brew Specifications
Original gravity: 1.053
Final gravity: 1.000
Alcohol by volume: 7%
International Bittering Units: 11
Standard reference method color: 6
Grain steeping time: 30 minutes
Boil time: 60 minutes

6.6 lbs. Light liquid malt extract (I don’t like working with liquid malt extract, but I scored this LME for free. I recommend using 6 lbs. of extra light / pilsen dry malt extract instead.)

Steeping Grains
2.5 lbs. 2-row (Trying to boost the gravity a bit, 6.6 lbs. LME in my calculations didn’t quite hit 1.053 SG.)
1 lb. German acid malt – not used in Halia. I’ve always wondered if I could fake a decent sour with acid malt (sometimes I don’t want to wait 6-9 months!) I’ll let you know how this works out too.
0.5 lb. Torrified wheat

3.8 AAU Amarillo (0.5 oz. @ 7.7% AA)

Boil (60 minutes)
3.8 AAU Amarillo @ 60 mins.
1 Whirlfloc tablet @ 15 mins.

Ferment for 1 month in primary with 1.6 oz. French medium toast oak cubes, WLP645, targeting 78ºF – 82ºF for fermentation temperature. I decided to oak the test batch in primary just to start to get an idea for oak dosage for the real thing. Once you add the oak, you can’t go back if you’ve added too much. Remember, the real version has to sit 9 months on oak so I definitely don’t want to mess this part up!

2016-03-21 There is a distinct, delicate, peachy / tropical smell coming from the airlock – currently at 82ºF with the help of a heating pad.
2016-03-28 The airlock smells identical to the smell of opening up a package of strawberry Gushers candy. YUM! This yeast is juicy! The peak of fermentation has already passed, so there is no need to keep heating it. I currently have it at room temperature (76ºF).
2016-04-03 The strawberry Gusher candy aroma has gone away. Now the airlock smells nearly identical to Halia (just missing that oak and peachy character!)

WLP645 is for sure the yeast used in this wonderful beer! One pound of acid malt in a 5 gallon batch also makes for a pretty nice fake sour!

Stay tuned for the all-grain clone brew, coming early 2017!

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with any breweries or companies. I represent myself, as a passionate home brewer. All mentioned company names, brewery names, beer names, and beer specifications are from public sources and are intended for educational purposes only. If you are from a brewery and find any conflicts of interest on my blog, kindly email me at and I will work with you to resolve any issues as soon as possible. Please note that if I mention your brewery or your beer on this blog, it is out of love and my passion for what you brew. I hope that my blog will encourage my viewers to try your beer. Also note that most brewers attempting to clone your beer tend to be repeat buyers of your beer who are incredibly passionate about one or more of your beers. When they try to clone it, they’ll likely be buying even more of your beer to do a side-by-side comparison, and they’ll probably have their friends over for the side-by-side tasting. Those friends will then likely go out to buy the beer and spread the word because they also loved it. Up go your sales.

2 Comments on “Clone Recipe – Goose Island – Halia

  1.  by  Aaron

    I’m planning on making this too. Was hoping you would put up the full recipe!

    •  by  Greg Rendek (Maltophonic)

      Hi Aaron! Life has gotten crazy for me and my brewing has slowed down. I plan on making this recipe happen soon though, as well as getting this site to where I want it to be! Sorry for the delay!

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