Here is another section of my journey into souring beers. For this part, I really wanted to focus on Brettanomyces and the impact it can have on beer. While Brett is not the main souring organism in sour beers, I have heard far too many different opinions, so I decided the only way to really grasp what this yeast does is to try it myself. I decided to make 5 one gallon batches (X, Y, 1, 2, 3). Of these 5 batches; Y was the control with only Saccharomyces, X was Brett B added after Saccharomyces fermentation was complete, 1 was only Brett L, 2 was only Brett B, and 3 was both Saccharomyces and Brett B pitched together at the beginning of fermentation. All Brett was from Wyeast.
Y (control): a mild flavor with light chocolate, roast, and fruit flavor. some bread character with a slit astringency. big bodied
X (Brett B added after Fermentation): a light cherry citrus nose with hints of strawberry, some cardboard in the taste but the flavor stands out more. chocolate in the front and a solid head. mild astringency
1 (Brett L only) Smells like sour strawberry and Worcester sauce. The taste was reminiscent of ketchup and chocolate. no head retention
2 (Brett B only) An acetic hint in the nose with the same citrus cherry character. Tasted very chocolate and was mild and balanced. best beer!
3 (Brett B and Sacc pitched together) smelled and tasted like vinegar. sharp acetic. ack. vinegar!
These beers were vastly different, more than I would have thought. I can still run through this experiment two more times, can’t wait to see what changes.