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strange-steve

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It was an extract batch with steeped special B and some maltodextrin
I think often these styles have a much more complex grain bill than is typical for a Beigian beer, often a bit of Vienna and/or Munich to add a little richness to the base malt flavours, as well as a decent portion of crystal.
I fermented upfront with a Belgian yeast and then added Brett and lacto. I wonder if the ale yeast dominated and didn’t leave enough for the Brett
I've noticed that the typical flavours of Belgian yeasts don't really come through much in sour beers, at least in my experience, and tend to be outshone by the other complexities. I can't explain the mildness of the Brett funk, there's usually enough left to keep it happy even with a high attenuating primary yeast. Which Brett strain was it?
I’m generally pleasantly surprised with the lack of acetic character in my sour beers which speaks to decent process, but you’re right this one could’ve done with some more character or complexity.
Generally I'd agree with you there, but this is one style where a little acetic character is definitely a good thing. In Brewing Classic Styles Jamil mentions that a sealed glass carboy doesn't allow enough oxygen ingress to produce that flavour and one trick that people use is to use an oak peg rather than a rubber bung.

I reckon that blended cultures, like the Roeselare blend, are the way to go with these beers rather than individually pitched cultures. It has 2 sacch, 2 brett, a lacto, and a pedio culture in it which without a doubt adds to the complexity of the style thumb
 

Ajhutch

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All great comments mate. I’m a much more experienced drinker and brewer of sour beers now than I was back then and to be honest your comments on this one are the sort of thing that give me the confidence to keep going with it! It’s a really long process and so much complexity but it’s a lot of fun.

I used lacto brevis and Brett lambicus and added some commercial sour dregs over time as well.

The other beer I sent you is carbed now by the way.......
 

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strange-steve

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Well I think this is a perfect day for @Ajhutch's second beer, a Hibiscus Brett Trois Vrai Pale Ale. I don't know what hibiscus tastes like but I've been wanting to try brett trois for ages so really excited by this one...

Aroma
Light and summery, fruity and citrusy with mixed berries and orange notes with mild herbal, almost minty hints and just a touch of funk from the brett in the background.

Appearance
A really beautiful deep reddish pink colour with a brilliant white head with good retention. A stunning looking beer.

Flavour
Lots going on here. A really crisp fruity tang initially, like sharp raspberries, followed by a surprisingly soft grainy malt flavour and a gentle herbal (hop?) flavour with a very restrained bitterness, and a clean refreshingly dry finish. The leathery, slightly spicy yeast flavour is present but not prominent, just sitting in the background adding another layer of complexity. Very slight hint of ethyl acetate which adds a little fruity pear. Perhaps a touch of diacetyl but very light.

Overall Impression
This is an interesting and unusual beer, it's hard to know where to start with this one. It was my first time tasting a brett trois beer and I was pleasantly surprised at how much sourness there was (is that really just from the brett?). It's not Berliner sour but just nicely tangy, making this a really refreshing summer beer, combining with the high carbonation to keep this very sessionable despite the complexity. The flavours are intensely fruity predominantly, but there's so much more to this that it's actually rather hard to properly describe, certainly for my limited palate, and it's very possible that some of the flavours I've mentioned have been misattributed because I have no clue what hibiscus tastes like (is that the herbal hint I'm picking up?) But I can say that I loved this beer and the flavours all work really well together. It went down a real treat on a hot day and I could happily drank a few of these in a session. Thanks for sending this mate, and I look forward to our next swap :hat:

 

An Ankoù

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Hibiscus has a weird , but moreish, flavour, especially in a tea and a cold tea at that. It's worth getting to know the flavour. There's a recipe for hibiscus and rose petal beer in Hughes' new edition where he's forgotten to include the rose petals, annoyingly.
 
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Ajhutch

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I think most of what you have picked up is the Brett character, it is a brux variant so it is quite sour and according to the notes a pear note is common. The tart raspberry flavour note you got will be the hibiscus, most people mention cranberry but I’ve used it twice in beers and raspberry is how I experience it too. I think any herbal note could be from the fact that the dried hibiscus flowers had a pretty extended contact time, 3 months or so. I figured that Brett would eat any tannin picked up (it had a month after being racked off the flowers before bottling) but it’s possible that some note associated with the contact time is still there.

Glad you enjoyed it, I had one last night and was really upset that this was a 5 litre side experiment and not a 20 litre batch! I’m really pleased with it and loved the yeast overall. The base beer was a dead simple 50/50 pale malt and flakes wheat, with some magnum bittering. I did the rest of the beer with lychees, and when it was quite a bit younger and that was a stunning beer. Definitely going to brew with this yeast again. If you were running a “Brett and sour” only brewery, you’d use this to do your hoppy beers I think.

Thanks a lot for the reviews and the swap, I’ll make sure to have something else wild for the next one!
 

strange-steve

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I think most of what you have picked up is the Brett character, it is a brux variant so it is quite sour and according to the notes a pear note is common. The tart raspberry flavour note you got will be the hibiscus, most people mention cranberry but I’ve used it twice in beers and raspberry is how I experience it too. I think any herbal note could be from the fact that the dried hibiscus flowers had a pretty extended contact time, 3 months or so. I figured that Brett would eat any tannin picked up (it had a month after being racked off the flowers before bottling) but it’s possible that some note associated with the contact time is still there.

Glad you enjoyed it, I had one last night and was really upset that this was a 5 litre side experiment and not a 20 litre batch! I’m really pleased with it and loved the yeast overall. The base beer was a dead simple 50/50 pale malt and flakes wheat, with some magnum bittering. I did the rest of the beer with lychees, and when it was quite a bit younger and that was a stunning beer. Definitely going to brew with this yeast again. If you were running a “Brett and sour” only brewery, you’d use this to do your hoppy beers I think.

Thanks a lot for the reviews and the swap, I’ll make sure to have something else wild for the next one!
Thanks for the info, it was definitely one of the more interesting beers I've had in a while acheers.
 

strange-steve

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There's a recipe for hibiscus and rose petal beer in Hughes' new edition where he's forgotten to include the rose petals, annoyingly.
That sounds interesting. I love a Fry's Turkish delight, I wonder could you get similar flavours with rose petals in a milk stout 🤔
 

strange-steve

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Today's beer is an interesting one, it's a style known as keptinis, which I'd never heard of until I read about it in @Pennine's brewday thread. It's a Lithuanian farmhouse beer where (as far as I know) after the mash the grain is baked in the oven for several hours before being added back to the wort. So an intriguing style, this is Pennine's Anti Farmhouse...

Aroma
Woody, herbal, and slightly lemony-citrus hop aroma, clean malt flavours, slightly bready. Smells really nice, more hop oriented than expected, but more 'traditional' rather than new world.

Appearance
Absolutely crystal clear, a beautiful copper colour, and a fantastic white head which lasted the entire glass with lovely lacing.

Flavour
Intensely complex with a barrage of various flavours on the palate, with an earthy but also rather citrusy hop flavour, followed by a bit of spicy alcohol kick (perhaps unsurprising considering it's near 7%). The malt flavours are initially a deep, almost umami nuttiness, along with light creamy toffee/caramel, and some light Munich toastiness. Finish is a smooth woody bitterness.

Overall Impression
There's so much going on here and the first sip comes as a big surprise, considering that the aroma is relatively very clean. It's an unusual beer for sure, but I think a lot of that might be down to how the hops interact with the malt flavours. They almost don't work together, but there's actually an interesting synergy there that makes this a surprisingly delightful beer. I've never used those two hops (flyer and Northern brewer) but I like the 'classic' flavour I'm getting from them. As for the maltiness, there's definitely something unusual going on in there, flavours that I don't think I've come across before, but mostly in the background. If I was unaware of the brewing method I wouldn’t drink this and think "this is a brand new style" but I'd also struggle to pigeonhole it. I think I had expected a deep, caramelised, burnt sugar flavour, but it actually comes across much lighter, giving me a slight butterscotch, or toffee flavour that I really like. One other thing of note is the mouthfeel, it has a really full-bodied chewiness that I've actually noticed in your other beers too. I don't know what's in your water but I really like it! And I really loved this beer, it went down an absolute treat and thank you for sending another interesting brew. I look forward to the next swap :hat:

 

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Hibiscus has a weird , but moreish, flavour, especially in a tea and a cold tea at that. It's worth getting to know the flavour. There's a recipe for hibiscus and rose petal beer in Hughes' new edition where he's forgotten to include the rose petals, annoyingly.
50g in secondary 😉
 

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Today's beer is an interesting one, it's a style known as keptinis, which I'd never heard of until I read about it in @Pennine's brewday thread. It's a Lithuanian farmhouse beer where (as far as I know) after the mash the grain is baked in the oven for several hours before being added back to the wort. So an intriguing style, this is Pennine's Anti Farmhouse...

Aroma
Woody, herbal, and slightly lemony-citrus hop aroma, clean malt flavours, slightly bready. Smells really nice, more hop oriented than expected, but more 'traditional' rather than new world.

Appearance
Absolutely crystal clear, a beautiful copper colour, and a fantastic white head which lasted the entire glass with lovely lacing.

Flavour
Intensely complex with a barrage of various flavours on the palate, with an earthy but also rather citrusy hop flavour, followed by a bit of spicy alcohol kick (perhaps unsurprising considering it's near 7%). The malt flavours are initially a deep, almost umami nuttiness, along with light creamy toffee/caramel, and some light Munich toastiness. Finish is a smooth woody bitterness.

Overall Impression
There's so much going on here and the first sip comes as a big surprise, considering that the aroma is relatively very clean. It's an unusual beer for sure, but I think a lot of that might be down to how the hops interact with the malt flavours. They almost don't work together, but there's actually an interesting synergy there that makes this a surprisingly delightful beer. I've never used those two hops (flyer and Northern brewer) but I like the 'classic' flavour I'm getting from them. As for the maltiness, there's definitely something unusual going on in there, flavours that I don't think I've come across before, but mostly in the background. If I was unaware of the brewing method I wouldn’t drink this and think "this is a brand new style" but I'd also struggle to pigeonhole it. I think I had expected a deep, caramelised, burnt sugar flavour, but it actually comes across much lighter, giving me a slight butterscotch, or toffee flavour that I really like. One other thing of note is the mouthfeel, it has a really full-bodied chewiness that I've actually noticed in your other beers too. I don't know what's in your water but I really like it! And I really loved this beer, it went down an absolute treat and thank you for sending another interesting brew. I look forward to the next swap :hat:

wow what a great review and i am very glad you liked it. so i drank another one after reading this and armed with some strange steve bias to see if i could pick out flavors with your level of detail. i agree with all of yours and one additional cherry brandy like flavor. im curious if that comes from the flyer? i will send you a bottle of the flyer esb i brewed up a while back so you can have another sample of a single hopped ale for reference.

the next keptinis i might go with a neutral bittering addition of magnum and work more with the roasted sugar and yeast. i think the baking process kind of gives it a mosaic of dark candied sugar flavors, almost like using multiple syrups in one batch.

thanks again for the great review!
 

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and i will look up the water on this, i think it was pretty simple RO and a couple additions. but let me check.
 

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I didn't notice that at the time but it always amazes me how obvious flavours can be missed until someone else points them out.

That's very surprising, I was expecting really hard water!
yes it was my RO water and 2g of gypsum and 1g of CaCl so a 2/1 ratio of sulfate to chloride, 2ml of 75% phosporic and my mash pH was 5.50. I seem to like that addition in my 10 litre batches. I wonder if its the heavier sulfate you are noticing, i think you mentioned before you like the CaCl levels to be higher for your taste?
 

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Tonight I'm having The Beer At The Back Of The Ocean a Belgian dubbel kindly sent by @MartinHaworth ...

Aroma
Very fruity with orange and plum, with hints of almond, muscovado sugar, and alcohol in there too. Very nice indeed, has the Christmas cake type aroma that I love in a dark Belgian beer and reminds me somewhat of a Rochefort 8.

Appearance
Very hazy (I think it got stirred up a little on opening) with an orange brown colour which is spot on for the style. Head dropped quite quickly but kept a thin white layer on the surface.

Flavour
There's an interesting hint of smokiness up front which I can't really place, unusual but not unpleasant, followed an impression of lightly spiced oranges in syrup, raisins, and again a hint of almond. There's a nice gentle estery, fruitiness which comes through more as the beer warmed. The finish is dry with a considerable hop bitterness which really cleanses the palate, cutting off the initial hint of sweetness. Another interesting little hint of bread crust and nuttiness lingers in the finish too.

Overall Impression
This is a surprisingly light beer and that's often a good sign for a Belgian beer I think, especially the dark ones because it's easy to overdo the specialty malts in these in an effort to create complexity, but which (in my opinion) doesn't really give the correct flavour profile. The reason I say it's surprising is because the aroma had an awful lot going on but the flavours are cleaner and a little more defined. While you can tell there's some alcohol in there it's very light on the palate, certainly helped by the high attenuation level and there's no sweetness left in the finish at all making it easy to drink. I think the yeast flavours are nicely controlled, the fruity esters are very much evident without being over the top and there's no funky flavours that are common with high temperature fermentations, which all points to a healthy fermentation. I really like the almond flavour here which is very obvious in Rochefort and I wonder if you used WLP540, but I couldn't quite get that flavour when I used it. One little critique would be that for me the bitterness is a little high, making the finish just a tad harsh. It finishes with that hop bitterness whereas I'd like more of the malt flavours to linger through. But that's more of a nitpick because I really liked this beer and it was very well brewed so thank you for sending this mate :hat:
 

strange-steve

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Tonight's beer has been kindly sent by @BeerCat and all I know is that it's a sour pale ale which sounds great to me...

Aroma
Instant burst of zingy lime, juicy grapefruit, lemon zest, and various other tropical fruits, also a slight herbal hint and just a touch of spicy phenols.

Appearance
Very hazy, very pale straw colour which looks rather lovely to me. It only arrived in the post yesterday which might explain the haze. Decent head retention which can sometimes be tricky in a sour beer.

Flavour
A nice mouthwatering sharpness initially, not face-puckeringly sour, just nicely balanced I'd say. Clean, crisp lactic acidity, no unpleasant vinegar or other off flavours. The fruitiness comes through after the initial sourness giving a fresh, citrusy fruit salad impression. There's just a hint of bitterness (possibly a slight aged hop flavour that I might be imagining) in the finish which along with the sour/citrusy flavours gives a rather pleasant grapefruit effect. There's a very slight doughy/raw malt flavour before the really very clean and refreshing finish.

Overall Impression
I can't think of a more perfect beer for a hot midsummer day. Unfortunately it's wet and miserable outside, but this beer really brightened my day, it's like summer in a glass. I don't know if it's what you were going for but this is a beautiful fusion of Berliner weisse and a session IPA, which isn't exactly straightforward to get right. Bitter and sour tend to clash on the palate, so getting the hop flavour and aroma while keeping the bitterness low is important and I think you've done a great job of it. The bitterness doesn't really present until the finish by which point the sourness is fading and the balance is just right, and really adds to the lemon zesty/grapefruity impression. Kettle-souring often comes with some unusual (but not necessarily unpleasant) flavours, but not here. The flavours are all very crisp and clean, nothing unusual or off, and I wonder how you achieved the sourness? The hint of phenols in the aroma, I'm not sure where that comes from but it doesn't come through in the flavour at all. The soft bready/doughiness adds another welcome little layer of complexity and I'm guessing this is a no-boil beer, which often produces that flavour? Anyway this is a beautifully well designed and executed beer and I could happily get through several of these on a hot day. Or even on a cold day. Many thanks for the swap mate :hat:
 

MartinHaworth

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Tonight I'm having The Beer At The Back Of The Ocean a Belgian dubbel kindly sent by @MartinHaworth ...

Aroma
Very fruity with orange and plum, with hints of almond, muscovado sugar, and alcohol in there too. Very nice indeed, has the Christmas cake type aroma that I love in a dark Belgian beer and reminds me somewhat of a Rochefort 8.

Appearance
Very hazy (I think it got stirred up a little on opening) with an orange brown colour which is spot on for the style. Head dropped quite quickly but kept a thin white layer on the surface.

Flavour
There's an interesting hint of smokiness up front which I can't really place, unusual but not unpleasant, followed an impression of lightly spiced oranges in syrup, raisins, and again a hint of almond. There's a nice gentle estery, fruitiness which comes through more as the beer warmed. The finish is dry with a considerable hop bitterness which really cleanses the palate, cutting off the initial hint of sweetness. Another interesting little hint of bread crust and nuttiness lingers in the finish too.

Overall Impression
This is a surprisingly light beer and that's often a good sign for a Belgian beer I think, especially the dark ones because it's easy to overdo the specialty malts in these in an effort to create complexity, but which (in my opinion) doesn't really give the correct flavour profile. The reason I say it's surprising is because the aroma had an awful lot going on but the flavours are cleaner and a little more defined. While you can tell there's some alcohol in there it's very light on the palate, certainly helped by the high attenuation level and there's no sweetness left in the finish at all making it easy to drink. I think the yeast flavours are nicely controlled, the fruity esters are very much evident without being over the top and there's no funky flavours that are common with high temperature fermentations, which all points to a healthy fermentation. I really like the almond flavour here which is very obvious in Rochefort and I wonder if you used WLP540, but I couldn't quite get that flavour when I used it. One little critique would be that for me the bitterness is a little high, making the finish just a tad harsh. It finishes with that hop bitterness whereas I'd like more of the malt flavours to linger through. But that's more of a nitpick because I really liked this beer and it was very well brewed so thank you for sending this mate :hat:
Thanks Steve, glad you liked it. Yes, 540 yeast.

I love these Belgium beers, but it is a long game. After 2 mths it was paint stripper. 6 maths in the bottle now. It may be that the bitterness will further fade in coming months.

I now like this too much to put in a swap!

Regards martin
 

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