A foeder is, very simply, a massive barrel. And its key advantages over barrels lie mostly in that geometry. This geometry allows three facets that I am very passionate about.
Firstly, being so large, foeders support the engineering of a man-way port, a racking port and a drain port. Therefore, it is well designed for whole fruit addition. The man-way and drain allowing for thorough cleaning inside the foeder; perfect from removal of fruit trub, once finished.
Secondly, the much smaller surface area to volume ratio of foeders compared to barrels facilitates slower oxygen ingress, as well as less oak contribution, to the liquids stored within. This means aging can be done much slower, promoting more complexity to beers. This is perfect for complex fruited sour beers; no prizes for guessing where this is heading.
Finally, the slow maturation of beer in foeders is well suited to developing and maintaining house mixed cultures. Not only can the culture be retained in the wood for successive batches, the maturation period means subtle microbes have plenty of time to develop an incredible array of metabolites.
This is absolutely all my beery Christmases come at once. We have a few wild cultures from QLD that we may use, or even develop a new one altogether but with stone fruit season just around the corner, it’s food(er) in the belly for complex sour season.