Thursday, November 15, 2012

Brett Bottle Conditioned Single - Five Way Tasting

Rather than talk in depth about each of the five variants of my second iteration of a Brett-bottle-conditioned Belgian Single individually, I'll give general impressions on the differences between them. They were bottled in early August, so they are still relatively young. 

Five variations on the Brett Finished Single, and the original on the far right.Appearance - They all look very similar. Each is a stunningly-clear light golden yellow. Thin white head, lacks the thick mousse-like rocky head I'd prefer, despite the addition of wheat this time around. None of them gushed, or appear to be over-carbonated in the glass despite the Brett activity.


Plain (Brett-free) is lightly fruity (pear, and faint banana), with a significant smooth/clean malt component.

Wyeast Brett B provides a slightly funky-earthy character. Not much malt or complexity to speak of.

White Labs Brett Trois has a fruitier aroma, with a more rounded, agreeable balance to the aromatics, but they are somewhat muted.

CB1 already has a classic aged-out Orval character. Very farmyard, but not overpoweringly funky or in any way off-putting.

CB2 is just as potent, it adds some fruitiness to the CB1's funk. Really potent, complex, and enticing.


Plain is a bit bland, it doesn't have the brightness or snappiness of the original batch.

Wyeast Brett B has more funk in the flavor than it did in the nose, nicely saturated continuing into the finish.

White labs Brett Trois is shorter, brighter, and not very funky. Some tropical aspects, but without the hops of the IPA I fermented with it, it doesn't taste nearly as much like pineapple juice.

CB1 Really funky in the flavor, more so than in the nose. A bit of the dreaded urinal, not bad, but not great either...

CB2 Well balanced, slight tartness, fruit and funk together, like an amped up version of Wyeast Brett B combined with White Labs Trois. Excellent!


Plain is a bit flatter than I'd like it ideally.

Wyeast Brett B is solid, slightly prickly.

White Labs Brett Trois seems to be the most carbonated.

CB1 is similar to the Brett Trois, but not quite as crisp.

CB2 is similar to the WY Brett B, could use a bit more carbonation.


Plain is a fine beer, but it needs to be crisper and maybe slightly drier to be great. The second to last bottle of the original batch I opened has held up really well in comparison.

Wyeast Brett B an intro to funky beers, not too aggressive, soft. It should develop with more time as the White Labs Brett B did in my first batch of this recipe (eventually reaching mini-BOS at the final round of the 2012 NHC).

White Labs Brett Trois is really nice, wonderfully fruity, really stands out as unique compared to the rest.

CB1 is a bit funkier than I like, despite its young age. Not entirely unpleasant, but it obscures all of the other characteristics of the beer.

CB2 The winner for my palate, complex, balanced, really delicious. This is a winner, especially considering how young it is. I'll be interested to see how it is in another three or six months.


It is impressive how much funk/Brett character the strains (CB1 and CB2) Jason isolated from Cantillon produced in such a short amount of time. I'm trying to talk Jacob into releasing something similar to this experiment as a box/gift set or six-pack for Modern Times (3725 Greenwood St. San Diego, CA 92110), same base beer finished with a variety of Brett strains (he doesn't seem to need much convincing).


Anonymous said...

Any chance you would be willing to ship samples of the Cantillon brett strains?

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

You'll have to talk to Jason over at the Brew Science blog, they are not my strains to share.

Kyle Hall Yoga said...

If you release a box/gift set you should put a poll up on the website where those that have tried the box set can vote on their favorite version. This would be interesting to see everyone's take and could be used as feedback for your brewing program as well as generate great buzz for Modern Times. "Oh I gotta get that next box set so I can vote on which one I like the best!" :o)

Jason said...

Good to hear those strains are packin'!!

I'm relieved that you have a different flavor profile for CB1 and CB2. Initially when I isolated them they were of very different morphology but drifted to the same cell size and shape over time in culture.

Nice write up. I have yet to try any other the beers since moving has been crazy. Between starting my new job, moving, and Sandy, my time for brewing has been next to nothing. I will post something similar as well.

As for sharing, I'm open to it. However, the cells are currently frozen at -80C in my past lab at Columbia. My old lab has agreed to store them indefinitely until I figure out a way to keep them in cold storage.

Did you ever start something with the extra I sent?


Anonymous said...

First off, I have been thinking about doing something like this for my homebrew club tasting and you just did all the planning for me! I have a few brett trains isolated by BKYeast ( that I wanna try out.

Is the mash schedule you chose to maximize fermentability? Could this be achieved with a low single infusion mash?

Thanks for your hard work!

PS, what's up Jason!

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

This mash schedule gives a mix of maltose and dextrins that seems to work well with this process. It leaves some big dextrins that the Brett takes a long time to ferment.

I haven't tried it with a single infusion, so I can't be sure how it would change the end results. Probably something I should try as the step-mash may be tough on the commercial system. A bit let down by my switch from a decoction to a single infusion on my last batch of Berliner weisse though.

Unknown said...

How has the carbonation evolved over time? When was the last time you opened one? And an update on how the taste has changed would be great. Thanks!

Unknown said...

I'm curious what the final gravity was of the post-brett bottle conditioned beers. The reason I ask is that my thinking was the brett would eat all remaining sugars, and bring the gravity down into the single digits (whilst carbonating the beer with that fermentation). Now, I noticed you added bottling sugar and brett. My question is, did you have over carbonation and do you think you would've achieved the same results without adding bottling sugar (i.e the remaining long chain sugars would carbonate the bottles)?



The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

You can certainly skip the sugar and cross your fingers. These beers tend to be highly carbonated by a year, but I haven't had one explode or gush uncontrollably. I like starting to drink them young and would prefer some carbonation.