If there are any batches that I’ve gotten the most requests to update it would be the fermentations with the three “other” Brettanomyces species from East Coast Yeast. In 2013 I obtained samples of B. nanus (aka Eeniella nana), B. custersianus, and B. naardenensis from Al. I put each to use in two split batches: one with each Brettanomyces alone, and another where I waited to pitch until bottling.
With six beers to taste through, I’ll forgo the full tasting notes in favor of a 10-word highlight reel for each.
Naardenensis 100% – Small head, tart, white grape juice, cherry, mineral, thyme, effervescent.
Naardenensis Bottle Conditioned – Creamy head, Belgian yeast, peppery, mushy apples, honey, wet paper.
Nanus 100% – Average appearance, ripe orchard fruit, spice, mild tartness, faint urinal.
Nanus Bottle Conditioned – Beautiful lacing, cardamom, black pepper, mild oxidation, earthy, highest bitterness.
Custersianus 100% – Gusher, red grape juice, tropical, Smarties, metallic, perfume, refreshing, prickly.
Custersianus Bottle Conditioned – Bright, airy, spice, stale malt, sweaty, apple-berry, clean ethanol.
I avoided rereading my old notes until I was finished tasting to avoid unduly influencing myself, but I'm happy to see many commonalities in the words used. I should also note that as these ran through my “sour” gear, there is a decent chance that the results are not entirely the work of the single strain pitched. This would especially apply to the acidity in the 100% B. naardenensis fermentation. This is one reason that some breweries (like Russian River) maintain three separate sets of gear: clean, sour, and Brett (no bacteria).
The 100% B. custersianus is my favorite of the bunch at this stage, but sadly none of these strains turned out to shine with extended aging.We think of Brett through a particular lens (Orval, gueuze etc.), but it may be that many of the strains out there don't do well under these conditions. Obviously the species and strains that survive in beer for an extended period will be hardier under those conditions that strains isolated from other sources.