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:
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.
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:
What are my assumptions?
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:
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:
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.
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
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.)
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 email@example.com 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.