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This is my first question ever on this forum, so here it goes!

I am a big beer guy. My wife and I love trying different beers. IPAs are my favorite. My wife's favorite are 'sour beers'. A sour beer is not exactly a flavored beer according to my understanding. It is a type of beer that ferments using wild yeast to get in the mix, which produces its sour flavor (I don't know much about it).

I do know that regular unflavored beer does not require a hechsher. What about sour beers (the unflavored sour beers)?

Thanks!

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    Don't be ashamed. Welcome to Mi Yodeya, Jon Zar! – ezra Jun 28 '17 at 19:00
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    Welcome to Mi Yodeya! It might be difficult to answer this based on Judaism expertise without some more details about what goes into sour beer. Could you possibly do a little more research on ingredients (maybe starting here) and edit some more details in? Also, I hope you'll stick around Mi Yodeya and enjoy some of our other content, possibly starting with other stuff in the liquor-beer tag. – Isaac Moses Jun 28 '17 at 19:54
  • Any question about beer gets an automatic upvote:) – user6591 Jun 29 '17 at 16:28
  • @user6591 - I know, I'm embarrassed to say that my answer to a Purim Torah concerning beer got me my second most upvotes ever...judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/80431/… – ezra Jun 29 '17 at 22:10
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Sour Beers in and of themselves are fine, but many have added flavors and/or are aged in used wine barrels. Most Hashgachas do not seem to have a problem with yeast, plus many yeasts used in America are under certification such as White Labs here is their LOC from the Star-K

  • Welcome to Mi Yodeya tzvi! Thanks for the answer! Consider clarifying how you know the first sentence. This would make the answer more useful. – mevaqesh Dec 6 '17 at 14:33
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    Consider learning more about the site from this useful short beginners' guide: judaism.meta.stackexchange.com/a/3887/8775 – mevaqesh Dec 6 '17 at 14:35
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It would seem that the leniency employed with regard to allowing regular beer without kosher certification would not necessarily apply to sour beer. See e.g. Beer for Dummies:

Likewise, if beers with higher alcohol content require fermentation with yeasts other than typical beer yeast, the beers require certification.

While traditional sour beer may have been made by just allowing the beer to brew naturally, modern brewers typically prefer more predictable processes, that may introduce halachically questionable ingredients, such as the addition of nonkosher wine. Similarly, while some authorities have been lenient with regard to whiskey aged in nonkosher sherry casks, the controversial reasoning presented was that the sherry cask did not improve the taste of the whiskey, and therefore was not halachically significant. This argument is harder to make with regard to sour beer, where the taste difference is significant and desired by those who prefer it. See, e.g., here:

Patrick Rue launched the Bruery, his Belgian-style brewery in Placentia, last year, and sours have been a focus from the start. At its first-anniversary party in May, it had a four-tap sour bar, including Cuvee Jeune, a young lambic aged in Chardonnay barrels for 10 months. White Zin is a sweeter variation on Cuvee Jeune, blended with a brew made with Zinfandel grapes. Gypsy Tart was Rue's limited-edition Flanders red that was untouched by wood, and plenty sour.

Based on the same article, at least one sour beer brand may be less problematic than others:

Very few American brewers take the time (and risk) to let natural bacteria take its course, but that's what brew master Ron Jeffries is doing at Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales in Dexter, Mich. America's only 100% oak-aged sour brewery uses wild yeasts that appeared in the brewery naturally and spread from barrel to barrel during transfers.

The following paragraph in the article also seems to suggest that Allagash Brewing Co. of Maine also produces a sour beer without resorting to additives.

(Notably, the Talmud [Avoda Zara 31b] also prohibits drinking beer in a pub or bar, though later authorities suggest leniencies in certain contexts.)

See also: http://doseofhalacha.blogspot.com/2013/07/kashrus-of-scotch.html http://israelbrewsandviews.blogspot.com/2013/12/what-makes-beer-kosher.html

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    I'm not sure I agree with your unsourced link that simply using a different strain of yeast suddenly means you're required to have certification. I really don't see the logic. Does making witbier (wheat based) or just a different type of malt suddenly remove the presumption of kashrus? What about different varieties of hops? – Isaac Kotlicky Jun 29 '17 at 0:34
  • @IsaacKotlicky The issue would be the source of the yeast. For example, adding non-kosher foods containing yeast, such as nonkosher wine, would be an issue. – Loewian Jun 29 '17 at 2:08
  • the source of the yeast is generaly a Petri dish. You don't carry yeast between different alcohols because you have no control the end product, which might be contaminated. The other examples involve a concern that the unusual process might introduce an unusual ingredient (sherry from the cask). Here there's no wine, nor is wine desired, only the yeast, which is certainly not a problem of יין נסך. – Isaac Kotlicky Jun 29 '17 at 2:13
  • @IsaacKotlicky Then why is it e.g. aged in Chardonnay casks? And if the yeast is derived from nonkosher sources, why is that not an issue? – Loewian Jun 29 '17 at 2:16
  • You provided a specific example that is, from what I'm aware of, atypical of the normal process. Most sour nets just use the same STRAIN of yeast as wine and ferment longer than a typical beer. Re: your second point, the yeast is it's own entity. Does a chicken become non kosher if it eats insects? – Isaac Kotlicky Jun 29 '17 at 2:19

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