After giving some thought to the different kinds of ciders out there and how we could make something new and interesting, I got the idea of doing a 100% brett fermented cider. Surprisingly, there is very little information out there on how brett (in general and individual strains) performs in cider. Even in the homebrew world there are only a few people who have tried 100% brett fermentation for cider. Most commercial cider operations (and a lot of home brewers) come at cider from the wine world, which hates brett, and so they refuse to even consider it. So, coming from the beer world, specifically the "wild" beer world, it seems I have a fresh look at the possibilities.
First, we need to get an understanding of how each individual strain of brett performs and the flavors/aromas it creates in cider. I would also like to get an idea of how brett performs when paired with a malolactic fermentation. Apple juice has malic acid, which is a harsher acid. Oenococcus can be used to convert the malic acid to the softer lactic acid. In addition, I would like to see the impact of adding maltodextrines to a 100% brett cider fermentation. Maltodextrins are complex sugars that normal brewing yeast is not able to break down and consume, leaving the beer with a fuller body and mouthfeel. Theoretically brett has the ability to break these complex sugars down, but some home brewers have reported a difference in using maltodextrin with brett fermentation.
We decided to do test batch for all of the individual brett strains possible. Once again I reached out to Al Buck at East Coast Yeast, who has been so helpful in the past, to supply the yeast. In addition to providing the brett strains, he recommended a "wild" saccharomyces strain call S. Paradoxus. I am particularly excited about this as it has the ability to do a partial malolactic fermentation on its own.
So here is the list of the 3 gallon batches we will be starting this weekend:
- Brett drie (BSI)
- Brett custersianus
- Brett nanus
- Brett lambicus (wyeast)
- Brett bruxellensis (wyeast)
- Brett claussenii (WL)
- Brett fantome (ECY)
- Saccharomyces paradoxus
- Brett blend (drie, claussenii, fantome, ECY05)
- Brett blend and oenococcus
- Brett blend with maltodextrin addition