Monday, November 11, 2013

The Great Brett Experiment II, part 1: Tasting Starters

I am finally getting around to stepping up the first four yeasts for The Great Brett Experiment II. I know, I know: pathetic. My only real excuse is the lack of carboy space in my house—I’ve tried to draw the line at fourteen three gallon carboys, but you know, some lines in the sand are meant to be crossed. Anyway, I used 375 g. of DME in 1.2 gallons of water, and split it into 4 half gallon growlers for a 1.030 OG. After sanitizing the mason jars, I poured myself a small sample of the starter fluid for tasting purposes prior to swirling the yeast into suspension and adding it to the growler.

EBY002: The nose is musty candy with slight hints of earth and mineral; there is also some of the stale cracker and biscuit I associate with B. bruxellensis. Flavors are subdued as well; slight tartness, a touch of sweetness, and low levels of gaminess. Maybe some grape and low levels of fruit in the background. Still, it tastes pretty watery.

EBY005: Here the nose is candy, horse blanket, and goat-y. Maybe some dirty feet as well. How do I get the candy in relation to the other aromas? Hard work, my friends. But I do it for you. Flavors are candy and a touch of the dirty band-aid with hints of lacquer and solvent. The nose in this one has more going on than 002, and the flavors have a wider range, although the body is about equally watery.

EBY008: So this one did have a few mold spots that initially grew in the starter before the yeast took off. Still, I’m game. The nose is sulfur and cooked vegetables, plus a touch of baby diaper. All are low, but there. There are some soft fruit flavors mixed with candy—grape and possibly citrus—but this followed by oxidized paper and dirty feet, giving it something of the flavor equivalent of the hot garbage smell found in a sour mash via Lactobaccillus. I do hope this one gets better, or at least more interesting.

EBY009: Probably the best of the lot at this point: candy, tropical fruit, and citrus/citric tartness. There is some cereal and cracker—another variant of the smell I associate with B. bruxellensis—but this one ends up tasting a little like Fruity Pebbles with a hint of lingering spent grain flavor. There is some low-level acidity emerging as well.

I’m hoping all the candy flavors aren’t from unfermented DME; the volume on these was too low for a gravity reading, so I’ll have to wait for the next round of starters to check. You know, more of the hurry up and wait. Boom bow bing, you heard the gunplay


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