Foeder (FOOD-er) For Thought!

Posted on: March 19th 2015


A foeder (pronounced FOOD-er) is really a large wooden vat used to age wine, but recently, many breweries like New Belgium Brewing, Epic Brewing Company, Crooked Stave and more have got a hold of them to age their sour beers and large amounts of it.

Here at Deschutes, our off-site barrel warehouse has been growing, and with over 3,000 barrels, it seemed natural to add some foeders into the mix. We’ve been collecting a few here and there but most recently, we had the opportunity to obtain this little 25 bbl french oak foeder made by Sequin Morreau and we’re the only brewery in the WORLD to have this particular one.

What makes this foeder unique is the stainless legs, cooling coals inside, the glass staves to see the process happening, and the safety cage on top so we don’t fall in.

This is a little slice of heaven for us and allows us to experiment even more. Since this foeder has never been used we will need to hydrate the wood and determine if there are any leaks in between the staves. We will do that using filtered water. Next, we know that the new wood can be somewhat aggressive so we will break it in, or season the wood by aging some Black Butte Porter in there. We can then experiment with that porter, blending it with other beers or just enjoy it with the strong wood flavors.

We are very excited to begin using more and more foeders and eventually adding some wild yeast of our own to create some more tasty tart beers.

Questions or beer recommendations on what we should age in this foeder? Comment below and we’ll pass them along to our Assistant Brewmaster and Barrel-Aging Extraordinaire, Ryan Schmeige. A huge thank you to him for providing us with all of this information about our foeder program. Cheers!

To check out our newest, tallest, foeder that just came in this week, click here!

7 Responses to “Foeder (FOOD-er) For Thought!”

  1. sam victory
    April 14, 2016 at 9:48 am

    Any update on how the first year has gone with this french oak foeder? What beers did you use to break in the new wood?

    • Gina Schauland
      April 26, 2016 at 11:43 am

      Brewer Ryan Schmiege says: After hydration we “seasoned” the tank for a few weeks with Mirror Pond. What that did was strip some of the initial harsh qualities that can come from new wood. We then filled it with a simple but elegant base beer comprised of pilsner malt, unmalted wheat and noble hops. It’s been undergoing a secondary fermentation for the past year with two strains of Brettanomyces and a culture of Lactobacillus. We’ve recently created a plan for a fruit addition to the beer. We believe that the final product will packaged in the next few months through our Pub and Small Batch release program which sell at our pubs and tasting room.

      What comes next, then? There are still some secrets in the world…….

  2. Rick Langston
    March 16, 2017 at 1:14 pm

    Glass staves. Awesome.

    • Gina Schauland
      May 14, 2017 at 2:15 pm

      Thanks Rick! Cheers…

  3. Ken Kerns
    April 7, 2018 at 7:13 pm

    Foeder a sour cherry ale with a hint of ginger.

  4. Gina Schauland
    April 8, 2018 at 9:31 am

    Ken, that sounds super tasty! We have a Black Raspberry Sour out now, a Grapefruit Rose, and Thai Chili Ginger Sour coming soon. All are draft only. At the beginning of the year we had a Pear Bergamot on. All so tasty! – Gina from Deschutes

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