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Birrificio Black Barrel
Type: Italian brewery

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Renzo Losi is one of the fathers of Italian craft beer, having worked at the Torrechiara brewery, in Parma for over 10 years. There he was one of the first in Italy to experiment with spontaneous fermentation in wood, creating beers of highest quality and building an incredible knowledge of this complex process. Renzo Losi transferred to Turin in 2013 and still with a passion for beer and a always a desire to overcome new challenges, opened Black Barrels.

Black Barrels in Turin consists of two main parts, on the ground floor, upon entering, is a small beer shop that focuses on spontaneously fermented beers, Italian breweries, and some homebrew materials...In the cellar of the beer shop is the tiny ‘production center’ where Renzo keeps 3 ‘groups’ of 8 barrels, he developed a system to keep all 8 barrels full by connecting them to one another with tubing, 2 maturation tanks, a manual bottle filler and corking machine. Slowly he hopes to grow the cellar into something larger. It is not a brewery, instead Renzo works together with a few local breweries to create his wort, either from recipes the brewery already uses or by making an entirely new recipe. Once brewed he transfers the wort to his cellar for the spontaneous fermentation process in wood. Once the beer has completed it’s maturation in wood, it’s bottled and again matured until ready for release.

“Perhaps the title best used for Renzo is ‘affineur’ and assembler...or maybe the genie of the barrels”

Says Losi:“This new experience has been challenging, but also very interesting and rich with inspiration. I’ve learned many things, particularly in the proper aging time and how to take care of the barrels. Aging in barrels has become a key characteristic in Italian brewing. In many breweries, you can find a beer that has
been at least partially aged in wood. The objective of my project is to create a new road for an alternative development of this technique...With this aim, I hope to add to the richness of the Italian beer landscape.”

While having created a few different experiments and one offs, Renzo has settled on keeping three fixed beers: a blonde, an amber and a dark beer, “because I believe I need to be strict in respecting these fundamental rules,” he says.

Black Barrel aims to produce beers that have complexity, but are always light in alcohol and easy to drink. The bottle indicates the time the beer spent in barrel.

[2015 Slow Food Guida alle Birre d’Italia used as reference]

Picture: Birrificio Black Barrels
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