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Good vibrations: Brewers use music to ferment their beers

A sound science for brewing.
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BEER & MUSIC --- Dock Street Brewing

Dock Street Brewing

In May 2015, brewer Sasha Certo-Ware and head brewer Vince Desrosiers of Philadelphia’s Dock Street Brewery mounted a pair of custom-made “headphones” on one of their red wine barrels filled with a Brett saison; they then treated it to a bumping playlist from Wu-Tang Clan for six months. When the beer⏤DockStreet Beer Ain’t Nothing To Funk With, named for a more profanely titled track from Wu-Tang’s debut album⏤dropped in November, drinkers took note: It was more complex and funky than the saison from a music-free barrel.

“It seemed like the yeast was more active,” Certo-Ware says. “We’re creating a state of agitation and vibrations that would pulse the beer and make it taste different. I think there’s sound science behind it.”

Will Meyers, brewmaster at Cambridge Brewing Co. in Massachusetts, has a background in music theory and has studied research dealing with music’s effects on plant growth; at the brewery, Meyers treats his Belgian golden ale, OM, to “vibrational therapy” throughout the year it spends in oak chardonnay barrels. Each week, he touches the barrels with tuning forks and Tibetan chanting bowls that vibrate at precisely 136.1 hertz, believed in some Eastern religions to be the frequency at which all life resonates.

“It’s just a good vibration, man,” Meyers says. “Theoretically, everything is already vibrating at that frequency; we’re just concentrating it.” The beer will be released for the first time in bottles this month.

But there’s more than one way to incorporate music into your brews. Fire up a playlist of these beers inspired and funded by well-known musicians:

BADASS American Lager
Kid Rock, the American badass himself, is behind this his 5% ABV lager that’s brewed at Brew Detroit in Michigan.

Slayer 666 Red Ale
Sweden’s Nils Oscar Company brews this amber ale with four hop varieties and five different malts for the brutal thrash metal band, Slayer.

Mmmhops Pale Ale
The Hanson brothers—yes, they of “MMMBop” fame—founded Hanson Brothers Beer Co. in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to produce this American-style pale ale.

TROOPER Red ’N’ Black Porter
Stockport, England-based Robinsons Brewery will release this 6.8% porter—the third beer it’s brewed for British heavy metal band Iron Maiden⏤in September.

KISS Destroyer
The costumed rockers in KISS lend their band’s name to three different wines (a zinfandel, a chardonnay and a cabernet sauvignon) and to this pilsner brewed at Krönleins Bryggeri in Sweden.

Rock or Bust
For those about to rock⏤and for Australian rockers AC/DC⏤Karlsberg Brauerei in Germany makes this beer, a 5% Euro-style lager.

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