Piety and scholarship under Lupulos.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wild times

A new IPA called Sintennial is in bottle, and after a week tasting much like Two-Hearted, though lighter and drier (in ways I prefer).

I can say that my recent shortage of American hops in the freezer is coinciding with an emerging boredom in the IPA as a style. Not that I don't enjoy them, but I'm ready to get a bit more experimental. I am happy though: I never thought I'd run through those hops so quickly.

With the Pining for Pliny (P4P) I brewed months ago, I siphoned off 2L (1 per yeast) into new "fermenters" and inoculated with wild yeast (Brettanomyces). This produced about 5 bottles (2.5 each). The results were interesting. First, the flavor variation among bottles -- even within-batch -- was high. Interestingly, the half of P4P that under-attenuated in the primary ended up tasting much wilder -- presumably because it had more remaining fermentables for the yeast -- although the bitterness was too high. But the other P4P half received a touch of lemon that was quite nice. Both ended up pretty dry. The amazing thing was how much the wild yeast transformed the flavor in a relatively small time. The wild beers were almost completely unrecognizable from their source.

This inspired me to continue with wild fermentation.

I brewed a Westmalle/Westvleteren clone (the beers share the same yeast). The base beer is a Belgian tripel. This time, I have siphoned off half of the whole batch for a Brettanomyces second fermentation, which will make for a wild blonde. The other half has received some special ingredients which I hope will add some of the unique flavors of Westvleteren.

Interestingly, I took a long whiff of the dregs of the yeast starter I made from Bretts. Amazingly, this one tasted very much like a lambic. This got me thinking that I could try a beer that is 100% Brett fermented. For various reasons, full Brett fermentations are discouraged, one reason being that the yeast work better under reduced PH environments typically caused by a primary fermentation from brewer's yeast. But, the smell was too compelling.

So, tonight I made a very small (.75 liter) -- though smaller than planned -- batch to be used as 100% Brett. It will probably end up like a Flanders Brown or Oude Bruin. I'm calling it "Lil' Orvie". Because, as a bad scientist, I can't resist confounding variables, I used only wild hops that we picked from a nearby abbey. Hopefully tomorrow morning I'll wake to a pellicle.

Monday, September 6, 2010


Life has handed me lemons, in the best way possible.

On my first batch I siphoned off 2L for re-yeasting using a highly experimental yeast. The yeast has converted the IPA to lemons, and it's delicious.