Saturday, 15 November 2014

100% Brettanomyces - Side by Side

As promised, I've posted some notes below of my two 100% Brettanomyces Saison, to compare the differences between a plain version, and dry-hopped version.

Before I do, a little bit about the special yeast/culture that is Brettanomyces.  i've got a couple of links below to get people started.

All About Brettanomyces - Mad Fermentationist
What is 100% Brett Beer? - Bear-Flavoured Ales
Some really good insight into Brettanomyces and how it all works.

So, for my recipe formulation I wanted to remove most of the hops and have the yeast really shine. I found that with the Wild West IPA, now that the hops have faded, the yeast is shining, and i wanted that from the start, and as it ages, I'm hoping (through mostly cold conditioning) that I'll end up with a nice Orval type/Rayon Vert style beer. I added some rye, to give the beer a touch of spice, and NZ Hops, such as Motueka, are perfect for almost any style of beer. From Pilsners to IPA's. the recipe for those interested is here: Original Sin 100% Brettanomyces Saison

Firstly the Standard Non-Dryhopped version: (Left)
Aroma: Typical Bretty Aroma, Funky earthy, Slight Hay/Horsey funk. Very Nice. I've had a few comments from friends who've tried the beer. I think I've even inspired some less experienced brewers.
Appearance: Light and bright Golden Colour, some haze, from the brettanomyces. I have found that brettanomyces beers never really clear up completely, they hold some form of haze, howeverthis is considerably clearer than Wild West.theres 2 reasons for this. 1 is the Longer Primary Fermentation, I ran a 7-8 week primary, and the other is kettle finings.
Flavour: Light malt flavour, a touch of spice, very very minimal though. No hops to speak of. The dominating part of the flavour is the yeast, plenty of funk. Nice dry finish
Mouthfeel: Light, not thin in anyway, nice dry finish, carbonation is good. I expect as time goes on, that the carbonation will increase.
Overall: Very nice beer, the dry finish and lightness of the beer works really well. I was told more malt backbone is required, and I kind of agree to a certain extent, pinch of aromatic would work well, and a possible increase in the rye malt, might be in order.

Onto review number 2: (Right)
Original Sin - 100% Brettanomyces Saison Dry-hopped version.
As these are essentially the same beer, I'll just note the differences between the two.
Aroma: Considerably more aromatic, theres two reasons again for this. (this is my observation, so not necessarily the case) A hit of Citrus from the Wai-iti hops i dry-hopped with, as this was only 25g in 10 litres of beer, I wasn't expect it to punch me in the face, nice and subtle. the yeast aromatics are increased as well from the hops, it seems the yeast and hops work really well, and as per the articles posted above, the yeast converts those aromatics to another enzyme and just adds to it.
Appearance: More haze from the hops, which gives a shade difference, but I would call them the same colour. Carb is good.
Flavour: Citrus and yeast. the hops have again added nicely to this. I like what Wai-iti hops offer, similar with less smack in the face than riwaka.
Mouthfeel: Light body, nice carbonation, almost heavier in body then the other one. I'll put this down to the hops.
Overall: Dry finish, nice hop character, subtle hop character, but its there. I do get some oxidation, which in Brett's case assists in the flavour.

If i had to choose which one I prefer, as they're pretty much the same beer. i would choose the standard plain, the reason is just because its plain, it lets the yeast shine, and keep things nice and clean. less phenols.
For anyone thinking about using Brettanomyces in their beers, I highly recommend it.

On a separate note, i have diacetyl. The Promised Land NZ Pilsner have some minor Diacetyl issues. I've put the keg into the fermentation fridge at 21 degrees, to try and clean some of it up. I don't have high hopes for this beer, but I won't give up on it.....yet.
Next up, Dark Storm II. which started 4-5 points higher than previous 1.066-67

Primary1(Plastic): Dark Storm Black IPA II (Mosaic/Simcoe)
Primary2(Plastic): {Nothing}
Primary3(Bretts/Sours): {Nothing}
Small Batch Carboy: {Nothing}
Secondary1(Wide Mouth Glass): Guts & Glory Flanders Red
Barrel: Hail Caesar Oud Bruin Ale
Bottled: Original Sin 100% Brettanomyces with Wai-iti / 100% Brettanomyces Saison /100% Brett Wild West IPA / Shadow Liberation(SJPORR) Porter /Black Sheep Yorkshire Brown
Keg1: Backup Plan III Belgian Pale Ale
Keg2: {Nothing}
Keg3: Promised Land NZ Pilsner
Next Beer to Brew:  Not sure, Something has to go down next week, Most likely an IPA. I'm also toying with a California Common, or Smoked Scottish Export 80/-

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