June 24, 2013

Cider Fermentation Panel: Bottling & Tasting

06/24/13

Last weekend I met the guys at Leidel's orchard for a final taste and to bottle the ciders.  I'm glad we tasted these again as there are some big differences on a few batches.  We purposefully didn't look up our old tasting notes and only compared after we had re-tasted them all and made new notes.  Here are our notes from this session:

  1. Brett drie (BSI)
    - some tartness, light, crisp, refreshing, although a bit thin.
  2. Brett custersianus
    - sweet, tropical, pineapple/mango, nice body.
  3. Brett nanus
    - barnyard and pineapple aroma, tastes strongly of pineapple juice. great flavor, but kind of intense.
  4. Brett lambicus (wyeast)
    - not flavorful, watery.  slightly cheesy and tart.
  5. Brett bruxellensis (wyeast)
    - very flavorful. pear, melon, citrus and a bit of alcohol.
  6. Brett claussenii (WL)
    - pungent aroma, citrus, floral, and dry.  saison-like.
  7. Brett fantome
    - pretty good mouthfeel.  complex, tart apple, a very soft blue-cheese like funk (good), nice funky aroma.
  8. Saccharomyces paradoxus
    - watery, slight funk and citrus.
  9. Brett blend
    - got a lot going on, but not very flavorful as a whole.  funky, fruity, citrus.
  10. Brett blend and oenococcus
    - muted flavor as compared to #9.  The acidity was mellowed, and so I see there may be potential value in this addition, but likely only as a secondary fermentation, or partial blend.
  11. Brett blend with maltodextrin addition
    - As compared to #9, a bit drier of a finish, thicker body, more robust flavor. a bit more alcohol.
We decided only Drie, Custer, Nanus, Brux, Claussenii, and Fantome were worth bottling.  The plan is to open these bottles over the summer and get a good understanding of each strain and how they may develop now that they are off the traub. For larger production this fall, we will be making a couple blends from the strains we like best.

Some interesting information comes in comparing our notes from the sampling we did a month ago.  The biggest changes were in Nanus and Claussenii.  A month ago Nanus tasted of rotting fruit and cheese.  It wasn't even drinkable, but now it was one of our favorites and had a huge pineapple flavor.  Claussenii was very stale in flavor, but now has a beautiful floral/citrus flavor.  

If you are looking to brew a brett cider, it is important to note that brettanomyces continues working even after fermentation has completed and it may take a couple months to develop the desired flavor.  For those homebrewers who don't want to wait more than a month, I would recommend Wyeast's B. bruxellensis (note: this is different than White Lab's) as it had a great flavor profile in both tasting sessions and is an easy strain to obtain.

On a side note, I also bottled up my Cider Keeve and Foraged Farmhouse the previous weekend.  More on that coming soon...
Bottled cider keeve.
Bottled Cider Keeve.

June 17, 2013

Brett Strain Guide

Brandon at EmbraceTheFunk.com and I have put together this Guide for all of the brett strains we know of out there.  As new strains come out, we will be updating the list.  A big thank you to Al Buck at East Coast Yeast for helping with much of the taxonomy and history of the strains.



Hopefully this helps clear the confusion out there about the different strains and their relationship to each other.
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