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perennialWho wants the funk? I believe you’ve got to have that funk. Of course funky beers aren’t for everyone, but for those of us that enjoy them, we can’t seem to get enough.

Perennial Artisan Ales knows to give us that funk.

This Friday, January 24th, Perennial will be breaking out all sorts of brett
beers and giving us funky freaks something to crow about. Beginning at 4PM, Perennial will be doing a Brett Takeover at their bar and will be inviting some friends along to join in on the fun.  Here’s a look at the beers:

Perennial:

Brettopia (5.0% ABV)
Wheat Saison dry-hopped with Amarillo. Keg-conditioned with a strain of Brettanomyces isolated from Cantillon. Spicy, stone fruit, mineral.

Anniversaria 2013 (7.2% ABV)
The first pull from our solera system of Anniversary beer barrels. 100% fermented with Brettanomyces, Claussenii, and Bruxellensis Drie. Tart, fruity, oak.

Funky Garden Gnome (7.5% ABV)
Dark Biere de Garde. Keg-conditioned with Brettanomyces Lambicus. Dark cherry, bready, plum, barnyard.

3 versions of Saison de Lis sans chamomile. Each are keg-conditioned with a different Brett strain. (5.0% ABV)
Saison Ghost– look for smarties candy, and light tartness.
Saison Anomala– look for hay, lemon, bright acidity.
Saison Lambicus– look for pie cherry, some tartness.

Henrietta (7.4% ABV)
Rye Saison fermented with a blend of Cantillon Brett and French Saison yeast and hopped with Centennials. Tart, spicy, floral.

Prairie Artisan Ales/Mikkeler
American Style (7.5% ABV)
Brett IPA
Fermented exclusively with a special strain of Brettanomyces claussenii that’s light on the funkiness, but really aromatic. It leaves behind an astoundingly well attenuated IPA, which means it’s good for drinkin’. A serious amount of West Coast hops are added to the whirlpool. Dry hop compliments the tropical notes from the Brett.

‘Merica (7.5% ABV) 500 ml bottle
Saison with Brett
Single malt, single hop farmhouse ale. It’s brewed with floor malted pilsner and 3lbs per bbl Nelson Sauvin hops. The beer is conditioned with 2 Brett strains and wine yeast. The Nelson hops provide white wine flavors while Brettanomyces adds a juicy quality to the beer.

Side Project Brewing
Saison du Blé
Blé, meaning wheat, is a barrel-aged wheat saison. Where Saison du Fermier was barrel-fermented and had my cocktail of brett and bacteria from day 1, Saison du Blé was fermented in stainless and then racked to Chardonnay barrels with my blend. This resulted in the same house character, but softer, which works nicely with the softer wheat saison base. Sat in oak for 3 months. 6%

Brett Venture #2 w/ Lactobacillus
Same saison malt bill found in Brett Project #1, but 100% brett fermented and lactobacillus added to the barrel. Huge mimosa, orange, citrus fruit notes! Sat in oak for 6 months. 6%

Let’s all jump into the STL Hops Time Machine all the way back to August of 2010. Yet another new brewery was just being announced and Phil Wymore, the soon to be former head brewer at Half Acre,  had this to say about his new brewery:

“We’re not interested in brewing wheat beer and pale ale as we feel these styles are well-covered by others in St. Louis. We will be focused on farmhouse ales, barrel-aged styles, and fruit beers — basically, the styles that we and our beer geek friends get very excited about.”

Needless to say, a lot of us did get excited about the then impending opening of  Perennial Artisan Ales. We are beer geeks after all and the things that go bump in a barrel are the ones that many of us geek out about the most.

But, barrel-aging takes time. Which is why we geeks have been patient. We know that the good stuff needs to sit sometimes. And good things come to those that wait.

Today, Thursday April 25th at 6PM, Perennial Artisan Ales will release the first beer commercially brewed in St. Louis that was made solely with the yeast, Brettanomyces Bruxellensis. You know all of those beers Phil listed above? This beer has got all of them.

Looking for farmhouse? Few things say “farmhouse” like Brett beers. This also has a ton of fruit. (OK, not technically a ton, but 300lbs of Noiret and Corot Noir grapes.) And of course, this bad boy was aged in French Oak Cabernet barrels for 4 months.

But, let me stop trying to even describe the awesomeness that is this beer and let Perennial’s head brewer Cory King take over:

“One of the best parts about working for Phil here at Perennial Artisan Ales is that he is really open to letting me experiment and run with crazy ideas. There are a lot of brewers and breweries who would have never let me brew a beer that is 100% Brettanomyces fermented!

Well, late last summer, around the time that Missouri starts harvesting its grapes, I started bugging Phil about brewing a beer that incorporated Missouri grown wine grapes, Brett, and barrels. I thought that this would be a great way in incorporate locally sourced ingredients, into a beer that very few other breweries have attempted. Phil found an opening in our brew schedule and gave me the go ahead!

After 2 weeks of calling almost every winery in Missouri, we found out that St. James Winery had 4 rows of unpicked, late harvest grapes, which were experimental for Missouri and were not going to be used this year. I packed up early one morning, heading to St. James, and hand picked almost 300 lbs of Noiret and Corot Noir grapes.

A Belgian Pale Ale malt bill was written, a 2 day sour mash made things funky and tart from the start, primary fermentation with Brettanomyces Bruxellensis added more rustic, barnyard notes, 4 months of aging in French Oak Cabernet barrels with both the grapes and Brettanomyces rounded everything out, and Savant Beersel was born!”

I apologize if I’m over-hyping this beer, but this is just one of the things we knew that would be coming out of Perennial and it’s cool to see something this inventive finally come to fruition. This beer deserves more than glib idioms. For us true beer geeks, this is the start of something very special from Perennial.

Because of the crazy nature of this beer, a very, very limited amount was produced. Your best chance to pick it up will be tonight at Perennial. But be on the lookout as it will hit a few of the regular locations around St. Louis beginning today.

When the Schlafly Tap Room began the Schlafly Reserve Series back in 2006, they bought a few bourbon barrels to age the Schlafly Reserve Imperial Stout in.  As the beers grew in popularity, so did the number of barrels needing to be purchased.

The problem with using barrels to age beer in is that it’s a one time deal.  When the barrels arrive from the distillery the woods has been exposed to the high-alcohol bourbon so any microorganism, such as wild yeast or bacteria, has pretty much been killed off, leaving the barrel clean and ready to be used.

But once you’ve used the barrel for aging beer, it’s a different story.  The alcohol in the beer isn’t high enough to kill off these micro-pests so they’re forced to buy new barrels.

As you can imagine, being able to use these barrels only a single time is not only wasteful, but expensive.  But what if you could use the wild yeast to your benefit?  I’m proud to announce the debut of the first step in the Schlafly Sour Beer Program.

As part of a half-million dollar upgrade to the Schlafly Tap Room, the very rarely seen boiler room, which is located under the beer garden, will be cleaned up and will be the home of this exciting new program.  New equipment will be purchased, new racks for barrels will be installed, and new draught lines will be put in to accommodate these new beers.

The first step of this new program began back on 03/31/2010 when a special blend of Belgian Single (which had already been fermented out) was added to four different bourbon barrels that underwent a cleaning and a conditioning.  It was at that point that three different strains of Brettanomyces were each added to separate barrels, with one barrel being left alone as a control.

The three different strains of Brett that were added were: Claussenii, Lambicus, and Bruxellensis. It’s important to note that Brettanomyces doesn’t necessarily add sourness to a beer, it usually adds a layer of funk. But, that doesn’t mean that certain lactic acid producing bacteria such as Lactobacillus and Pediococcus couldn’t possibly show up as the beer sits.

As for the release of these beers, that’s going to take some time. “From a brewing standpoint, I really want to give our folks some time to do it right. I want to make sure our guys have the tools to do this the right way,” says Schlafly Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Dan Kopman.

For more information about sour beers in St. Louis, be certain to check out the September issue of Feast Magazine. Feast will be offering up a look at this very interesting beer style along with additional information about Schlafly’s Hop in the City festival beer, the Oud Bruin.

mattingly_84x128.jpgThe Mattingly Brewing Company may now be producing full scale productions of beer, but that doesn’t stop them from showing off what’s yet to come. Tonight, Head Brewer Drew Huerter will be offering his Black Past Historical Porter. Drew gives a description of the beer:

Porters were the fuel of the London laborers around the time of the Industrial Revolution. This version of our Black Sky Stout Porter is a throwback to the beverage of choice in the mid 1700s in that great city following its tremendous fire. Our Black Sky Stout Porter is blended with a portion of the Abominator Smoked Doppelbock then aged on toasted oak with a culture of Brettanomyces and Lactobaccilius from England. 8% ABV

Be sure to head out tonight and taste some of Drew’s excellent beer.

mattingly_84x128.jpgFriday the 13th, spooky stuff.  It’s even scarier when Drew Huerter from Mattingly Brewing Company decides to take a beer like his Cardinal Direction Abbey Dubbel and give it some funk.

This new series of sour beers will be released every Friday the 13th at 6PM from now on.  I’ll let Drew fill you in on the details:

St. Louis’ First commercially produced and available Belgian Style Sour Ale. On March Fridy 13th, some of our Cardinal Direction Abbey Dubbel veered off course and met with other travelers from far and wide. The Dubbel found shelter in an oak bourbon barrel. This barrel is made from Missouri grown white oak and worked into a barrel then sent to Kentucky to age bourbon for several years.

Our friends at the Schlafly Taproom then took the wood back to Missouri and aged their Imperial Stout in it. It then took a trip down Jefferson Ave. and met up with our Dubbel. This meeting would have been spectacular enough, but another group joined our wanderers, they are from Belgium.

The Rodenbach brewery is famous the world over for their range of Flanders Style Red Ales, which are funky, sometimes woody, malty and sour. The funk and sour are created by wild yeasts and bacteria, mostly brettanomyces and lactobacillius, but there are others.

These microrganisms joined up with our Dubbel in the barrel that fateful Friday the 13th, and every subsequent Friday the 13th they will emerge in limited quantities. 8% ABV

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for the funk.

fwaMmmmm Brettanomyces. It’s the little yeasty beasty that scares vinters and brewers alike.  But some brewers embrace the Brett.  In fact, the not only embrace it, the love it.  One of those brewers is New Belgium Brewery and their newest beer in the Lips of Faith series is the Fall Wild Ale.  I’ll let them describe it for you:

This chestnut hued ale has a deep tawny haze that mimics the colors of fall itself. The brew unfolds with notes of banana, clove and pink bubblegum- quintessential aroma qualities of the Trappist yeast strain used. The rich malt bill brings to mind toffee, caramel, brown sugar and bittersweet chocolate. The twist- what makes this Belgian so special? We spice our Dubbel with Schisandra berries, known as “five flavor fruit, ” because it tantalizes the taste buds with four tastes – sweet, sour, salty and bitter – plus pungency.

Then we finish the brew with our house wild yeast strain of Brettanomyces with yields farmhouse flavors and tropical fruit notes- developing further as this beer ages. Fall Wild Ale is a full-bodied brew that opens sweet & creamy but finishes warm and peppery- asking for another sip. This deceivingly refreshing ale is 8%ABV so imbibe but beware.

If you’re read to get a little Wild, I’m told it’s currently available at these locations:

  • Cicero’s
  • Dressel’s
  • Hair Of The Dog
  • Pi
  • The Red Lion

saison-brett_bottle.jpgAndy Snead from Whole Foods Galleria posted on the STL Hops Forums that the Boulevard Saison-Brett is now available at the Whole Foods Galleria. I had some more of this beer while at the Augusta Bottoms Festival and it was still fantastic. It provides just enough Brett flavor to really make the beer funky without having too much of it overpower the entire palate.

I think this is one of those perfect beers to get people into beers featuring brettanomyces yeast without it being a funk bomb. I really wish this had come out earlier in the summer as I think it’s a wonderfully refreshing beer. Make sure to pick up your numbered bottle as I don’t expect this one to last long. I’d be very curious to see what some age will do on this beer.

Update: Andy informs me that what he thought was Saison-Brett was actually just Saison.  But Paul from Wine and Cheese Place seems to have gotten it in, so I expect Whole Foods to have it soon as well.