May 19, 2013

Cider Fermentation Panel: Tasting

I met with the guys at Leidel's orchard agian last weekend to check in on the wild cider fermentation experiments.  We took gravity readings and sampled each batch.  Here are the results:
  1. Brett drie (BSI) - 1.000
    - orange peal, citrus, tropical fruit, pineapple, tingling feeling on the sides of the tongue. 
  2. Brett custersianus - 0.999
    - lemonade like citrus, cherry, white wine, flavor not intense, but pleasant.  slightly watery.
  3. Brett nanus - 0.998
    - overripe/rotting fruit, cheesy, not pleasant. 
  4. Brett lambicus (wyeast) - 0.995
    - grassy/woody, watery flavor, tingly.
  5. Brett bruxellensis (wyeast) - 0.999
    - hay and floral funk with sweet nectarine. 
  6. Brett claussenii (WL) - 0.998
    - light citrus, watery, yeasty.
  7. Brett fantome (ECY) - 0.998
    - hay funk, green apple tartness, tingly.
  8. Saccharomyces paradoxus - 0.998
    - buttery Chardonnay, candy sweetness.
  9. Brett blend (drie, claussenii, fantome, ECY05) - 0.998
    - light citrus
  10. Brett blend and oenococcus - 0.995
    - as compared to #9, less tart and more alcoholic.  less flavor.  watery.
  11. Brett blend with maltodextrin addition - 0.996
    - as compared to #9, smooth/creamy feel and more flavorful.
We didn't bottle as this was the only gravity reading I have and don't know what the FG will be for any of these.  Normally you might think 1.000 is a safe number, but having batches at 0.995 makes me cautious.

The base cider we used was intentionally a neutral and lacking flavor.  This allowed us to more easily pick out the flavor of the yeast only.  As you can see from the Brett fantome batch, we could taste a green apple flavor and know that it wasn't from the base cider, but rather the yeast.   So while this was beneficial, I think its important to note that the base cider wasn't very flavorful and led to some batches tasting "watery".  This might be better stated "the yeast strain didn't produce a very large amount of flavor".  With a different base cider blend, these may still be viable strains for producing tasty cider.

It was very interesting to feel this tingling sensation on the sides of my tongue from some batches.  I have no idea what that is and have never experienced it before.  Future batches are required to see if this is something brett does in cider.

Batches #10 and #11 are worth talking about more.  While we were experiencing some palette fatigue, it was easy to compare them against #9 and see the impact from the addition of oenococcus and maltodextrin in cider.  Quite simply, oenococcus wrecked the brett fermentation while maltodextrin enhanced it.  I was skeptical that maltodextrin would do anything as I knew the brett would eat it away, but it does seem to have helped both the mouthfeel and the flavor.

The favorite batches were drie, custersianus, bruxellensis, fantome and paradoxus.  I already feel like I want to revisit some of these strains, so I am going to hold off final judgement until I taste these a few times.  Also, I'm looking forward to tasting them once carbonated, but it will be a few weeks before I have another chance to get up there and bottle.

3 comments:

Jeffrey Crane said...

This is a great resource and thanks for the update. Any chance you would be willing to send a couple vials of yeast? If you're willing could you please send me an email.
Jeffrey.E.Crane at gmail

Anonymous said...

Any krausen activity from any/all of your batches? Were some more vigorous than others?

Levi said...

Unfortunately these are up by the apple orchard which is 1.5 hours from where I live. I wasn't able to track the fermentation.

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