Menage a Trois (100% Brett/Sacch. Trois) Pale Ale – Tasting Notes

20150715_191948Well, here’s a new one on me: a tasting in two halves:

Part One: Two weeks in the bottle

Slightly hazy orange-amber, with a lovely running bead and a great snow-white head that lasts to the bottom of the glass.

Gorgeously sweetly tropical, not resinous or dank, just good solid juicy tropical – which was precisely what I was after.  Thanks, Enigma hops!

(Juicy tropical is very much a la mode in pales and IPAs at the moment.  Christ, I’m sooooo “now“)

The mouth-feel is good and solid, and the taste is complex fruit and malt-sweetness – all accentuated by the spot-on carbonation.  The bitterness is exceptionally smooth, thanks to a lot of the bittering coming from the late hop additions.   At the end there’s a slightly dry note before the fruits and tropical notes come stampeding back in again.

Not as extreme and fruity as other beers that I’ve had but very good nonetheless.  I really couldn’t say how much fruitiness the Brett/Sacch Trois delivered, I’d challenge anyone to pick it out in a line-up based on the yeast alone.

All in all, I’m happy.  It’s a jolly drop and goes down just a bit too easily.

Part Two: Four weeks or so in the bottle

Well, it’s gin-clear now and still that lovely orange-amber colour with that same fantastic head.  The carbonation seems that touch stronger – but it’s well within style for a pale.

BUT.  Where’s all the fruit gone?  Has all that tropical fruitiness really disappeared in a couple of weeks?  There’s still remnants of it there, but it’s a shadow of it’s former self.  A lot of the sweetness has gone too, and we’re into a much drier sort of beast.

Don’t get me wrong it’s still a great beer, but it’s nothing like it was two weeks ago.  It’s more like a very gluggable Saison now…

Good job I’ve got a lot of bottles left…I think there’ll be plenty of updates as this beer ages.

Two take-aways:

1) I need to test Enigma hops again – I’ve yet to be convinced of their flavour and aroma durability/stability in a beer.

2) Brett/Sacch Trois definitely ain’t a Brett (see recipe post) but it’s also definitely not your run of the mill Sacch either.  This could be a yeast variety to specialize in…I’m sure it’s capable of great things…

Menage a Trois: a 100% Brett (ahem) Sacchromyces Trois Pale Ale

20150608_142609Again, my ability to choose good names for my beer has failed me…but this beer is being fermented with Brettanomyces/Sacchromyces Bruxellensis Trois, so it’s relevant at least.

(And, no, I can’t be bothered to go into the whole Sacch/Brett thing, so please read here: http://www.whitelabs.com/sites/default/files/644_Explanation.pdf) needless to say WLP644 is still an extraordinary yeast and seems to behave at least half-way like Brett, so for the sake of argument let’s just pretend it is Brett and I’ll carry on in my own little fool’s paradise…

I’ve based most of the recipe and technique on this post here: https://yeastismybitch.com/2015/06/04/designing-a-100-brett-beer-well-sort-of/

Here’s the recipe:

Menage a trois

As you can see I somehow managed to get a finished volume of 26L at 1054 – so filled up a tiny demijohn with 4L of wort (which I pitched half-a-pack of ordinary ale yeast into, just for comparison…waste not, want not…)

I mashed in at 38C, did a single infusion rest at 65C (80 minutes) and then mashed out at 76C (10 minutes)

Notice that in-line with my own advice, I also moved a lot of the bittering charge (at least 14IBUs of it) to the last ten minutes of the boil…this should help with taste and aroma as well as providing those necessary bittering units…  Enigma is ideal for this as it’s gloriously tropical and also offers a hefty 15.2% alpha acid.

I intend to do a double dry hop again with Enigma while the whole thing is in the fermenter for a month: a two week ferment, then dry-hop, wait a week and then dry-hop again, wait another week, then bottle.

I tasted the starter before pitching and it is very dry and very “fruity” – more strong fruit than tropical, but we’ll see what this yeast does to a whole 22L over the course of the month and of course there’s the ale yeast pitched version to compare against, too.

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UPDATE: I got a very strong weirdly lumpy-looking ferment by 3am (don’t ask, why I was up at that time) and by 8am was going like a steam train – and quite excitingly: there’s quite a noticeably fruity pineapple/tropical aroma coming from the air lock (are there any other air luck sniffers out there? or is it just me?)