Friday, November 6, 2015

First Tasting: 1056 vs Brett Blend APA

I’m a little bit late on my review for these beers. The keg for my Tasty APA kicked a few weeks ago, but my Brett keg is still going strong. I documented the differences in fermentation temperatures and dry hopping, which means this isn’t a complete comparison between yeast, but an approximation. Normally I would ferment Brett under temperature control, because if it’s too hot it will produce a lot of phenolic flavors. The problem was that I didn’t have room in my chest freezer so I tried to do the best I could to keep it cool using an ice bath. 

Wicked Weed Brett Blend

Wyeast 1056
Aside from the differences in off flavors produced due to fermentation there are some noticeable differences in the beers due to the characteristics of the yeast strains selected. The Brett version finished much dryer than the 1056 version and there were some noticeable differences in appearance.
I entered the APA into Dixie Cup XXII in Houston and it received an average score of 36. I always find it interesting reading the judges’ comments, because everyone’s pallet is different you’re going to get a different description of your beer, but sometimes they are very different from each other. 

1056: Pours a hazy pale yellow with slightly orange hues topped off with a creamy looking white head with good retention. The head clings to the side of the glass as it fades. The haze does clean up as the beer warms up, which means it was only chill haze. 

Brett:  Pours a hazy pale yellow with orange hues and a creamy white head with good retention. The head clings to the side of the glass as well. The difference is that the beer never clears out. Brett is a notoriously bad flocculater, probably due to the fact that it has never really gone through selective pressure for its appearance and clarity.  

1056: Citrus hop aroma with a touch of bready malt and grassy notes. 

Brett: Slight citrus notes with a lot of black pepper and funky cheese notes. I rarely get any funk from Brett as a primary strain, I’m wondering if it was due to one of the selected strains or if it was due to the high fermentation temperature. 

1056: Bready malt flavor with a tangy citrus hop character. Higher than I would have preferred bitter finish that lingers a little while, but clears up to a malty finish in the end. 

Brett: No malt in sight, black pepper and grassy notes with a long lingering bitter finish. This beer finished at 1.006 as opposed to 1.012, which made the bitterness much more apparent. I think this shows how important final gravity is for balance in a beer since both beers were hopped the same amount. 

1056: Low to medium body with moderate-high carbonation and a dry hoppy finish. The bittering lingers, but not enough to overwhelm the pallet. 

Brett: Light body with medium-high carbonation and a crisp very dry finish with a long lingering bitterness. 

Overall: I’m pleased with how the 1056 version of this beer came out. I would lower the bitterness probably by moving the hop addition to 45 minutes or decrease the amount of hoping to 0.75 ounces of hops. I think the bitterness was a little too much for the style. I was brewing someone else’s recipe so I wanted to be true to it so I could get an idea of the beer before I made any changes. I like the base malt recipe but I personally would use different flavor and dry hops. As far as the Brett version: temperature control is the first thing I would change. Without controlling temperature during fermentation, I’m not able to really comment on the way this Brett blend ferments, except for the way Wicked Weed used it. I chose this blend because I really enjoyed their beer and I still think it can make a good beer, it just needs to be treated correctly. I would also probably brew it separately from anything using Sacc because the base grain recipe will need adjustments. I would definitely add some flaked oats to increase the body of the beer and lower the initial hopping since it will finish dry and Brett doesn’t produce glycerol, which increases mouthfeel.

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