B is for Brettanomyces
B is for Brettanomyces – part 2 of our A to Z guide to craft beer terms.
Brettanomyces. Brett-a-nom-y-ces. I know. It sounds like something you’d catch from dodgy takeaway, but nothing could be further from the truth. Brettanomyces, or Brett for short, is actually yeast. But not just any yeast. No, Brett has something special – something that makes him very appealing to the adventuresome beer brewer, yet terrifying to wine makers the world over.
Brett’s got attitude. Our brewers JC and Al explain.
JC: “Brett is traditionally a spoilage yeast. It causes undesirable aroma and taste in wine, but is generally accepted in beer. The characters are very similar. It’s a case of one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”
Al: “What I enjoy about working with Brett is its ever evolving flavour profiles. The layers of complexity are fantastic for beer, and you never know what you’re going to end up with.”
You see, once Brett is done working his magic with the fermentables in say . . . a delicious, barrel aged batch of Devil’s Peak Vannie Hout, he leaves a very specific calling card. Along with earthiness and spices, he imparts what some would describe as a farmyard funkiness.
This divisive profile lends a complexity and depth of flavour that you won’t find in your average micro-brewed ale, much less something from the big guys. Often times, the longer you leave it in the bottle or barrel, the more intense the funk.
Since the early 2000’s, American brewers have been toying around with wild ferments, lambics and other, traditionally Belgian, styles. With growing public interest, brewers from around the world have started adding wild yeasts, like Brett, to their barrel programs. Some have even started incorporating it into styles such as IPAs, APAs and Ambers.
Our initial toe dip into the Brettanomyces was in 2012 with the first batch of Vannie Hout. No one really knew what to expect, but we figured our kick-ass Silvertree Saison would be a solid base for this up and coming style of beer.
We were right.
666 bottles later, we had sold out! Offered as one of our seasonal, specialty beers, be sure to keep your ear to the ground for the launch of our next batch. To the average beer drinker, it’s like nothing you’ve ever experienced.