All-Brett Belgian Rye
A few months ago, I posted an update on the wild and sour projects we have in the works. The first of these has come to fruition: the All-Brett Belgian Rye (which I have affectionately dubbed “Sueur de Cheval”).
During my initial sampling in May (some 8 months after it had been brewed), I was blown away by the complexity and variety of flavors this beer has. The gravity was down to 1.012, so I decided to give it a few more months to see if it would dry out.
In the interim, it only dropped one point. This, combined with an upcoming local homebrew club’s meeting focusing on funky ales, led me to call it done just shy of a year after it was brewed. Initially, I was planning to package these in heavy champagne-style bottles with a cork & cage finish. This would allow for continued aging and the Brett character to continue developing in the bottle. However, after tasting it I decided to simply keg it — I had waited long enough and was ready to drink this beer! Plus, those champagne bottles are expensive and in a keg I can dial in the carbonation where I want it.
The flavor profile of this beer is wonderful. If you have never had a Brett Brux beer, I would highly recommend seeking one out — it is like a whole new world of beer. As previously posted, this beer was 100% WLP650 in primary, with no secondary. I was surprised by how tame the barnyard funk of the Brett was; however, I believe this is par for the course when you use Brett for the primary yeast strain. Plus, Brux is pretty mild as far as wild yeasts go. If you are looking for that “sweaty horseblanket” character, adding something more aggressive as a second strain is (as I understand it) the way to go. But as that was not my primary objective here, I am really pleased with how this turned out.
Appearance: This beer pours a beautiful hazy gold, with a sizable rocky white head and impressive lacing; Carbed at around 2.5 vol, there is a great effervescence about it.
Aroma: A bit of Brett character, but otherwise pretty mild; no late hop character.
Flavor: The overwhelming flavors when you first drink this beer are all Brett fruitiness — I get a lot of honeydew melon, stone fruit (especially peach and apricot), a bit of mustiness; the bitterness (around 25 IBUs or so) adds a pleasant counter-balance; after the brett fruitiness, I perceive as a metallic note that gives way to a big rye spiciness.
Notes: This beer sat untouched for almost a year. As I mentioned, I hadn’t even tasted a sample of it until 8 months in, so I felt like I had a lot invested in it. It is my first beer requiring patience, and it totally paid it off. I am already planning a rebrew: This time I will skip the late hops, since they did not actually contribute much in the final product and also bring down the rye a bit; I would also like to taste a bit more tartness, perhaps add a bit of acid malt and/or some lactobacilius; lastly, I am toying with the idea of adding fruit (maybe fresh peaches?) for a secondary refermentation. The good news is that I will have plenty of time to contemplate the details as the Brett works its magic in primary.