The ever changing beauty of Brettanomyces

I am hard pressed to say how surprised I am that the post I was planning on writing is very close indeed to Derek’s latest over at http://www.bear-flavored.com/2013/11/how-does-beer-age-15-year-old-100-brett.html

My three way Brett aged split was 7 months in the FV and it has been a whole 6 months since bottling and all of a sudden a HUGE change has occurred in one of them.

I had one of each, Brett C, Brett B Trois and Brett mix only last week and they were very much the same beer as when I did the tastings.

But last night,whilst watching The Filipino Wrecking Machine vs The Dragon, I decided to have one, as I had earned a special beer,what with having been a good teacher,good dad and good husband.

So imagine my shock upon opening the bottle of the Brett B Trois and getting a whiff of my nan. Not to say it made me think of corpses( she has been dead a while now), but it brought back memories of how she smelled to me in my early childhood.

The change in aroma and flavour was total and absolute!

My nan’s scented powder was the first thing that hit me. Upon drinking, the “powder” sensation seemed to fill the palate and coat my tongue. It was followed very closely by strong,pleasing alcohol warmth which was fleeting and gave way to the dried lavender that Agnes kept in her clothes cupboard.

The mouthfeel was decidedly fuller than I remember it being and the tartness had declined to a very low level.

It was confusing indeed that I couldn’t quite tell if I like it or not.

I could not pick up ANY of the flavour or aroma profile that made this beer so pleasing before.

Strangely masochistic  is how it felt. Unable to tell if I liked the way it tasted or not, yet constantly drawn back to sip again and fill my mouth with this perplexing thing, to find out one way or the other if it was a taste I liked.

The strange flavour/mouthfeel seems to build for the first 20-30 seconds,then falls away very quickly,fading into warmth and lavender.

So,ladies and gents, I am in absolute awe of the ability Brett has to morph this way and that over time. I am quite sure that this shift will help me to hold on to the last 5 bottles a little longer,but will have me at the other two versions tonight,in the name of science you understand.Image

That is not my nan by the way.

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Tylerization tasting

ImageThe tasting of my son’s namesake beer has been a while coming and I now only have about 6 half litre bottles left.

I had a strange idea and put 6 bottles into the fridge on bottling day to let the lager yeast carbonate and kind of wish I had done so with more, as the strawberry profile was far more intense,but the dreaded butterscotch reared it’s ugly head. Not to an unpleasant level,mind you,but it was there, but enough to make me wonder……………

this write up is of the ale yeast carbonated  bottles, as the other ones are long gone ladies and gents.

Colour: Deep red brown and not overly clear even when warmed up. When held up to the light the red/pink highlights come through very strongly and verge on making him look purple. The head lingers, down from 2.5 fingers to one and has a pink hue. This picture is in my Australian wine glass Ian brought over for me, but even in a pint pot the lacing, if a little scruffy, persists all the way down the glass.

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Aroma: home made strawberry jam/preserve. strawberry cheese cake.malty yeastiness.

Mouth feel: full but not thick and cloying. Good carbonation helps this keep the malt profile at the forefront.

Taste: tart, ripe yet unripe strawberries. Big and malty with the tartness of the acidulated male and berries cutting through and doing the job of the hops and giving it perfect balance of flavour. I already used a “this yet that”, but shall use another. The flavour of the strawberries is subtle yet upfront: it develops through the palate and lingers.

I think that using acidulated malt with fruit( even though this is my first attempt) really works well. I cannot tell if it is the acid malt bringing out the fruit or vise versa, but I like it a lot. Enough in fact, for me to request that my dad bring me another bag of it when he comes over from Blighty in January for his holls.

All in all I am quite glad that Makro were out of raspberries when my wife went shopping. I reckon that the grain bill on this is spot on and would work well with other fruits, like the intended raspberries for example, or even kiwi?

A bottle or two of this is going to be hidden from myself and kept for Martin, but I am going to have to ask my wife to hide them from me too.

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Brettanomyces Custersianus

ImageNot the best picture, I know, but it’s the best I could do whilst my camera is out of action.

This is going to be quite a long post, due to the fact that there is a story to it. The yeast is a relatively new Brett strain with an almost offensive name and a hint of Bears and Bikes.

So, are you sitting comfortably? Then I shall begin.

This summer I sent out another one of my begging emails ( I am quite good at them and I have no shame) to a beer/homebrew blogger in the States. This time it was to Derek over at http://www.bear-flavored.com/

I have been following the Bear for some time now and was reading it at school on the morning of my birthday, when I happened upon the Brett Cust post.

I turned to one of my colleagues and said” this bloke is going to send me some Brett. He just doesn’t know it yet!” And, as was the case with Jeff over at http://jeffreycrane.blogspot.com/ Derek was only too happy to help and allow Brett to take over the world.

After what seemed like waiting for Christmas since January, I at last get the Brett whilst at Chiang mai long distance bus station, on a coach setting off on a 900km journey. Only god knows why the office girls  brought it with them, but I was unable to sleep due to over fondling of the vail which was protecting it’s chastity.

So, in a hotel room far from home and malt, with a leaking vial, I needed to think fast. 7/11 came to my rescue in the form of bleach, alcohol, apple juice and a jar of jam( jelly if you are American).

You do NOT need to know what I did with the jam, but I managed to sanitize the jar and knock up a starter with the juice. Low and behold the starter was active within a few hours and I split it with a fellow brewer down in Korat, spreading the love, just as I gave Brett B Trois to brewers in Chiang mai.

When I got back to Chiang mai I doubled the starter(this time with malt) and split it with another homebrewer.

I decided to brew a kind of a Mild, but a badleebrewed Mild.

4.5 litre batch

450gr Munich

60gr caramunich

30gr Carafa special II

50gr dark brown sugar

enough Glacier @ 20 to give me 20 IBUs

I mashed at 69c

I let it ferment for only 5 days before getting it in the bottle.

The colour should have been about 17srm but came out a bit darker and had the look of a dark Mild.

Aroma; toffee apples and caramel with a clean yeastiness

mouth feel; VERY light, feels a little thin. But this was never going to be chewy as a Mild. The Brett Cust gave me 80% attenuation and when I use this strain again I will NOT use sugar.

eyes; after a rough pour it has a thin white head that holds all the way down and even gives a little lacing. Deep mahogany with ruby/garnet hints.

taste; very slight tartness. coffee/chocolate with the tartness coming through again, giving way to toffee apples and hint of weak instant coffee and cooked lime skin(bet you never heard that one before)

All in all it was a very enjoyable first outing for Mr Custersianus. As I already said, it was bottled on day 5 and great on day 7. I may well brew this again and just do away with the sugar, but that will be after I have bottled the stout that it is now fermenting.