The Traditional Method

In our first blog about Sparkling Beers we thought it best to start by explaining the Traditional Method. The Traditional Method but it is used in the production of a variety of Sparkling Wines, the most famous being Champagne but Spanish Cava, Italian Franciacorta and English Sparkling Wines are also created using this process.

The Traditional Method is also known as the Méthode Champenoise but this term is protected by law to the sparkling wines of Champagne.

History

With Champagne being the most famous example, many people think that it was the French that invented the Traditional Method. Not so. It was, in fact, an Englishman by the name of Christopher Merrett who, in 1668, was the first to document the transformation of turning still wines into sparkling wines through the addition of sugar and molasses. More importantly this was a full 20 years before the French Benedictine monk, Dom Pierre Pérignon ever laid claim to the process.

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Process

The basis of the Traditional Method is to create a secondary fermentation in the bottle and then remove the remaining yeast, leaving behind a clear, sparkling liquid. The Traditional Method consists of five key stages, each of which we will run through in more detail in subsequent blog posts:

  • Triage and secondary fermentation
  • Ageing
  • Riddling
  • Disgorging
  • Dosage

The Traditional Method is the most labour intensive and expensive method of creating Sparkling Wine and Beer but it produces the best results. During bottle fermentation, the bubbles are finer creating a smoother, creamy texture which feels less aggressive in the mouth in comparison to force carbonated beers. Ageing on the yeast allows to the flavours to become more complex and removal of the yeast creates a clean crisp finished product.

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Beer verses Wine

Riddling and disgorging beer using the traditional method follows much the same process as with Sparkling Wines but there are some key differences. The biggest being during the triage stage when determining the pressure inside the bottle. The length of ageing and dosage requirements for beer are also different.

Whilst the process is most commonly used in the production of wines, we are part of only a handful of breweries that use it to create beer. A history of creating beer using the traditional method can be seen in our previous blog post here.

In our next few blogs we’re going to run you through each stage in the making of our Sparkling Beer Brut.

 

Cheers,

Sandy

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