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Brewed and Bottled by Surf Brewery in Ventura, CA

Scientific Series - Barrel Aged and sour beers - Brewed and Bottled by Surf Brewery in Ventura, CA

Merriam- Webster defines ‘scientific’ as an adjective, or describing word, of or relating to science. Certainly barrel aging beer fits this like; well...a liquid fits a barrel...

Since the very first year of our existence, 2011, we wanted to start a barrel aged/sour beer program. Personally, we enjoyed these types of beers and wanted to introduce these styles to our neighbors here in Ventura County, who may not have had them before. A barrel aged beer is a beer that has been brewed normally and then aged in a barrel to obtain the flavors of the barrel, often oak, or the previous inhabitant; wine, whiskey, etc. Naturally occurring wild yeasts and other cultures within the wood impart tart, sometimes funky, and often complex flavors to a standard beer.

Ventura and Santa Barbara County has many local wineries, and we are able to access a range of unique barrels. Initially we purchased some merlot barrels that had wild yeast culture called Brettanomyces in them as well as some other used oak wine barrels. We brewed a robust porter and a Flanders Style red, and added them to the barrels. We added select sour cultures of different strains to the Flanders barrels. We waited...and waited...and waited...a common part of the barrel/sour process.

Scientific Series beer being aged in barrels

The more we listened and learned we came to appreciate the potential risks of producing sour and wild beers in the same facility as our standard beers. We didn’t want our refreshing and clean, Mondo’s™ Blonde Ale, to have a sour or funky taste to it. We decided the best route to continue our program, would be to establish a site away from our standard production site, where we could freely, store, blend and package these beers without any concerns about changing the taste of our standard beers that our customers had come to love.

Heading our effort, brewery co-founder Doug Mason, a founding member of the local homebrew club of Ventura, VIBE, and avid beer enthusiast, gave us the focus we needed. Through industry and homebrew contacts, a warehouse was discovered in Moorpark, CA that would house a future barrel/sour brewery only. We were able to acquire some space within this warehouse at very reasonable terms, and our barrel age/sour program was coming together nicely.

Scientific Series beer being aged in barrels

Today, all cellaring, bottling and blending of our barrel aged and sour/wild beers is performed in a new larger warehouse in Ventura, separate from the manufacturing and packaging of our standard beers at our main brewery. No chance of infecting the taste of our beloved Mondo’s™.

Look for Scientific Series™ bottle conditioned beer in traditional corked and caged bottles for sale at the brewery in Ventura, or possibly a well stocked bottle shop near you.

Click here to take a virtual tour of the barrel house in 3D! Big thanks to DI Virtual Tours for shooting the brewery.

Scientific Series beer being aged in barrels


Scientific Series™ C-02 Blonde Ale dry hopped with Nelson hops

For this Scientific Series™ brew, we threw the classic blonde ale for a loop. Aging a clean, easy drinking blonde in French oak rosé barrels for over 18 months with two species of brettanomyces yeast? Yup... that'll do it. This long aging developed nicely melded flavors and fruity and funky aromas that deliciously complement the barrel character coaxed from the oak. To ratchet it up another notch, we dry-hopped the brew with over 2 lbs per bbl of Nelson Sauvin hops from New Zealand just before bottle conditioning with golden Belgian candi syrup. The result is a beautifully dry, refreshing and complex barrel aged beer that pairs deliciously with a roast chicken dinner or simply to sip on the porch with a friend. Enjoy this unique libation poured carefully into a stemmed glass at 45°-50°f.

Specs :

7.5% ABV - 18 I.B.U. - 6.2 S.R.M.

Release Date :

November 2016

Scientific Series™ D-01 Belgian Dark Quadrupel

This Belgian style Dark Quadrupel brew in your hands was crafted with Continental malts, and Belgian-style candi syrups with four different levels of caramelization, creating an incredible level of complexity in both flavor and aroma. We then aged the ale in French oak wine barrels with two strains of wild Brettanomyces yeast for just shy of one year coaxing additional nuances from the wood and fruity aromas from the Brett C. Bottle or keg conditioning with Belgian-style candi syrup finishes the brew and sets it up for additional aging if desired…but you may not be able to wait!

Specs :

9.5% ABV - 16 I.B.U. - 42.5 S.R.M.

Release Date :

April 2017

Beers in Process

Scientific Series™ Flanders Red

Scientific Series™ Amber

Beer Archive

These beers are Scientific Series™ batches that are no longer available at retail. If you find a bottle, be sure to hold on to it!

Scientific Series™ A-01 Robust Porter Aged in French Oak Merlot Barrels

Gold Medal Winner

We are proud to offer one of the first beers from the Surf Brewery® Scientific Series™, Barrel-aged Oil Piers™ Porter. Our standard Oil Piers™ Porter recipe was adjusted to allow for the extended period of time this beer would be in the barrel. Featuring lush flavors from the barrel on top of rich chocolate malt with just enough oak flavors to draw out the finish. Pair with chocolate lava cake for a real treat.

Specs :

6.0% ABV - 46 I.B.U. - 89.0 S.R.M.

Scientific Series™ A-02 Flanders Style Red Sour

Gold Medal Winner

The first sour beer offering from the Surf Brewery® Scientific Series™. The culmination of close to three years of barrel aging in French Oak and artful blending has resulted in this bright, Belgian Flanders style red ale. An elegant reddish-brown hued liquid releases a bold tartness in both aroma and flavor that is complemented by crisp oak tannins and roud fruitiness characteristics of this style of traditional sour ale. 2015 Los Angeles International Beer Competition Gold Medal Winner.

Specs :

6.5% ABV - 13 I.B.U. - 27.0 S.R.M.

Scientific Series™ B-01 Belgian Style Tripel Ale

This Scientific Series ™ offering combines brewing tradition with experimentation. A Belgian style tripel with a twist... Local orange flower honey and blood orange zest were added to this golden brew instead of the traditional Belgian candi sugar to increase the alcohol content of the beer while building delicate nuanced aromas and subtle citrus flavor overtones. Lastly, the honey gave this brew aging potential so the beer spent nearly a year in French oak wine barrels to further develop the type of character that only barrel aging can elicit. Enjoy this unique libation poured carefully into a stemmed glass at 45°-50°F. Bottle conditioned, some amount of yeast settling is normal. 1888 bottles individually numbered.

Specs :

10.5% ABV - 20 I.B.U. - 9.0 S.R.M.

Scientific Series™ B-02 American Oatmeal Stout

Scientific Series™ is going bold. This silky black beauty of an American Oatmeal Stout has complexity to spare. A deep malt backbone is present with roasted coffee and chocolate flavor layers, all coming solely from a complex specialty grain bill. A liberal dose of flaked oats produces a smooth, silken mouthfeel that does not abate. As if this weren’t enough... the Scientific Series™ masters slipped this brew into Belle Meade™ Straight Bourbon barrels only days after being emptied. Years of caramel and vanilla bourbon flavors extracted from the American oak barrels give this beer amazing depth and true winter warmer characteristics. Additional aging could certainly benefit this stout... but you may not want to wait. Bottle conditioned, some amount of yeast settling is normal. 1404 bottles individually numbered.

Specs :

11.0% ABV - 44 I.B.U. - 23.0 S.R.M.

Scientific Series™ B-03 Robust Porter Aged in Merlot Barrels

Gold Medal Winner

This is the second iteration of one of our first Surf Brewery® Scientific Series™ beers, Barrel-aged Oil Piers™ Porter. Our standard Oil Piers™ Porter was blended with over two year old merlot barrel aged Oil Piers™, and put back to rest in French Oak for almost another year. The Brettanomyces in the barrels continued to work on this complex brew deepening the aroma and flavor profile, while allowing the rich chocolate and oak flavors to peer through the dry finish. This one is great with a good rich cigar. Enjoy in a stemmed glass at about 45°-50°F. 2014 Los Angeles International Beer Competition Gold Medal Winner.

Specs :

7.0% ABV - 33 I.B.U. - 22.0 S.R.M.

Scientific Series™ C-01 Imperial Amber aged in Belle Meade Bourbon Barrels

This gorgeous brown hued beauty steeped from our brewer’s malt pallet with no less than nine elements in the grain bill. Finished with a long melanoidin evolving boil. Six long months of maturing in Belle Meade™ straight bourbon barrels coaxed varied caramel and vanilla bourbon flavors from the aged American oak to interlace with the balanced malt character. This ale is at home in support of a delicious meal or dessert, or simply as a solo sipper while musing life poetic.

Specs :

9.2% ABV - 44 I.B.U. - 25.0 S.R.M.