Our Coolship Beer Adventure

September 18, 2017

On Thursday 14 September 2017 we put a coolship with 800 liters of wort on an actual boat and floated it around the rainy, beautiful Amsterdam canals. This in order  to catch all the delicious Amsterdam micro-organisms in our wort and make a unique canal beer.

It was American Brewery Arizona Wilderness who came to us with the wild idea (what’s in a name). After trying it themselves in the desert by building a coolship onto a truck, they got inspired by our city to try it again. This time we opted for a boat, a more appropriate form of transportation in Amsterdam. It had never been done before and we were curious to find out why.

For those that don’t know: A coolship is an open reservoir in which wort, the substance that is beer before fermentation, is held for cooling. What is special about this method, is that because the reservoir is open (meaning without lid), the micro-organisms en local yeasts from the air get the chance to settle down in the wort. This is called spontaneous fermentation, because you basically have no clue or control over what kind of funk the wort is going to catch. A coolship is a traditional Belgian apparatus, and is most often used for brewing Lambic beers. Usually a coolship stays put inside the brewery.

We were joined by Jon Buford, founder of AZWilderness. Little did he know, we had prepared a true Dutch surprise for our desert friend. To create the authentic experience he was looking for, we kindly asked the god of weather to rain down on our coolship adventure with a force that only the grey Dutch skies allow for. Giant, cold drops that no raincoat can withstand. Needless to explain, we had a blast.

Late us walk you through it.

This is the coolship in the van. It had to fit in a van in order to transport it to the boat.

Jon Buford, Rick Nelson & Sander Nederveen make a selfie with the coolship in the van.

Arrival at Werf T’ Kromhout where we were able to load the ship onto the boat.

Cute pic.

Flying ship.


To everyone’s surprise, this actually worked.

Taking the lid of the very hot wort.

Putting up the party tent to minimize the rain pollution and maximize the party vibe.

Steamy pic.

This is kinda what it looked like most of the time.


Smiley brewers in party tent.

Less smiley but still very content brewers in the rain while unloading the coolship from the boat.

The beer will now be fermented in wooden barrels at our brewery. It will probably take at least a year before we can find out if this thing worked. If it did, we will get back to you then. If it didn’t, we won’t.

The End.