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Tasting – Basic Brett beer



The “quick” low gravity brett beer I made last year has spent a few months or so in the bottle and it’s time to do a tasting of this interesting brew. Since this one leaves me a bit puzzled I enlisted the help of my girlfriend who has a much finer sense of smell and taste. Here are our tasting notes for my first “wild” beer :

Appearance : If poured carefully this is the clearest beer I’ve ever brewed. There isn’t much head and what little there is disappears quickly leaving a few bubbles over a gold coloured body. Given how cloudy this beer was at bottling I’m surprised how well the yeast has settled to the bottom. The clear body gives it a very appetizing appearance.

Smell : To my nose the beer has a distinctive smell of straw while cold. The term “farmyard” has always puzzled me when applied to beer but now I get it – as the beer warms up the smell takes me to my childhood and my grandfather’s farm. It’s interesting how smells have the power to evoke distant memories.

My girlfriends first note out of the cold beer is that of dry apple cider. As the beer warms up she describes the smell as having a root cellar like quality and even a slight whiff of urea (not unpleasant though if that makes sense).

Taste : She notes the beer as having an apple cider taste with a toffee note without the sweetness. A taste similar to sour apple candy but weaker. I can’t really make heads or tails of the taste. There is a slight sour note in the end that is very enjoyable. No hop bitterness in evidence. What happens before that is very interesting, the only thing I can name is a taste similar to chewing straw. I suppose a farmyard would taste like this if you could drink it…

Mouthfeel : A very crisp mouthfeel with the carbonation a bit higher than what I usually like. I think in this case it gives the beer a bit of needed body as it is very thin. The slight sour note only strengthens that impression. The beer is very refreshing, I could imagine this working well on a hot summer day.

Notes/thoughts : A very interesting brew. It spent about 8 months in the fermenter and seems that the Brett has used that time well creating tastes that are very atypical. It will be interesting to see if the taste changes over time in the bottle, I’m planning to hold on to some of the bottles over the course of several years. I’ll also do another beer with Brett and perhaps try to dry hop half of it and see how well that works.

Curiously this beer has gone down well with a few friends who aren’t really “in to” beer and wouldn’t know what Brettanomyces is even if it knocked on the door asking for the keys to the car. I suppose that the refreshing body with the slight sour end-note and no bitterness gives the beer an enjoyable nature even though the aromas are atypical and hard to describe. A double natured beer, both an interesting sipping one and a “lawnmower beer” at the same time. I do recommend brewing this for anyone interested in making an easy Brett beer, my thanks goes out to Ryan for the inspiration!

From → Tastings

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