252: 10 Barrel’s Tonya Cornett Takes a Layered Approach to Fruit Beer


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Tonya Cornett marks her brewing experience in decades, but the head of R&D for 10 Barrel in Bend, Oregon, isn't resting on any laurels. She’s earned every right to cruise, with many GABF and World Beer Cup medals under her belt—including three at the World Beer Cup earlier this year—but she continues to challenge herself and her team to find new and better ways to express flavor in beer.

One of her favorite styles, and one she’s earned wide acclaim for, is quick-soured fruit beer. Under their Crush brand, 10 Barrel now sells these beers across the country, and Cornett’s small brewery and R&D team are constantly working ahead, creating new iterations with different fruits and ingredients for 10 Barrel’s pubs in Bend. In this episode, she discusses how she’s made this “simple” style much more difficult to make, from varying grain bills based on the fruit, to using different yeasts, and including one fruit in multiple forms to capture all of its flavor.

Along the way, she covers:

  • the change over time in their Lacto culture
  • brewing quick-soured beers in two stages as blender batches
  • using wheat, oats, and dextrin malt to build mouthfeel and keep the beers from drying out
  • varying pitch rate based on the current state of the culture and production calendar
  • carefully measuring total acidity rather than just pH
  • using hops that complement fruit and acidity
  • managing sulfur production and controlling diacetyl
  • layering purée, freeze-dried fruit, juice, concentrate, extracts, and more to build a whole fruit picture
  • using adjacent fruits as well as spices to amplify the expression of a primary fruit

And more.

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