A few months back I brewed an attempt at a clone of Anchorage Brewing Love Buzz Saison using a recipe from Embrace the Funk that was given in an interview with the brewer Gabe Fletcher. This was also the first beer I attempted to cork. There was no real reason to cork the beer other then I felt like it. Corks don’t have a substantial advantage over a bottle cap besides cool factor. Their real advantage is probably the ability to hold higher levels of carbonation then a bottle cap. You can cork a beer a few different ways. Cantillon actually uses wine corks and inserts them in the bottle and then caps the bottle. I assume their reason for doing this is because they age their bottles for a year on their side before selling them and the cork prevents the cap from rusting and affecting the beer. The other way, which I used, is using champagne style corks. The corks are not actually champagne corks, but are specific Belgian beer corks, which are a different size (33mm I believe). These corks will provide the traditional “mushroom” top and allow a cage to be placed over and secured to the bottle. Without the cage the cork will be pushed out of the bottle by the carbonation building up during refermentation. The downside to these corks is that you need a special corker to insert them into the bottles. I’ve seen people use other corkers when using Belgian corks but it seems much more difficult. The way a champagne corker works is that it first squeezes the cork to the size of the bottle opening, then in presses the cork into the bottle, however, it stops short of inserting it all the way and leaves half of the cork exposed for the cage. My plan is to attempt to cork all of my wild ales or any beer with Brett in it to avoid bottle bombs. On to the tasting notes
Appearance: It pours a murky, hazy yellow-orange with a thin white head that fades rather quickly and leaves a thin lacing over the top of the beer. The beer is super cloudy though, with time and extra cold conditioning it might clear up a bit.
Aroma: Fruity with hints of mango, citrus, and orange peel. There is a touch of black pepper and floral notes. Definitely a nice funky background, although a bit phenolic. It’s been a while since I’ve had a Love Buzz but from what I can remember it seems pretty similar. I did use a different yeast strain for secondary fermentation then Gabe. He uses Brett Brux-Trois, while I used C2 from BKyeast, which probably explains some the differences.
Flavor: Similar to the aroma, bitter orange dominates with subtle citrus notes and a hint of black pepper. There is a small amount of acidity and some horsiness. Just like in the aroma there is a slight phenolic bandaid flavor on the back end. Not too distracting to me but others might think so. I’m thinking that flavor and aroma might come from the temperature that the beer was aging. I keep it in my beer room which is usually in the mid 70oFs. I try to keep it as cool as I can but there is only so much I can do living in Texas.
Mouthfeel: Light carbonation with a light body and a slightly dry lingering funky finish. I’m hoping with a little extra time the Brett will eat a little bit more and the carbonation will pick up some more. For my taste and for the style it’s a little low.
Overall: I think it is very close to Love Buzz Saison. I think the carbonation is a little low but I’m hopeful it will increase a little more with extra time. I would like to try to eliminate the phenolics that I get. I’m assuming that if it’s coming from the yeast that it won’t clean up over time, but you never know with Brett. The only way to change that would be to have a cold room for storage. Maybe some future building will be necessary. Overall I’m very pleased with it and since I can’t buy Anchorage on a regular basis (don’t see that changing anytime soon with our laws), this is the best I can do. Thanks to Embrace the Funk for the interview and Gabe Fletcher for the recipe.