Haaaave… you met Brett?
Brett — full name Brettanomyces lambicus — is known to bring the funk. He’s a bit of a wild guy, and he’s Always Ready to get down.
So, we let them chill together for ten weeks — just to the point where things are funky enough without being too funky.
We’ve released Bretted versions of our beers before: Coastal Evacuation with Brett being one of the most memorable. Brett has the tendency to take a beer and turn it on its ear.
“I really enjoy the versatility that Brett brings,” says Lab Manager Lauren Appleman. “Utilizing the Brett in different ways can turn a single beer into many different iterations each with their own characteristics.”
A species of yeast, Brett’s a little different than our house ale yeast.
“Our house ale yeast is a workhorse for us that is pretty predictable,” Lauren says, “we know when we can expect the yeast to finish out and the flavor profile, but Brett is different.”
We usually try to keep Brett out of beer — typically, it’s considered an off-flavor in “clean” beers, but there are times when we want it to funk things up.
“Brett has the able to ferment some larger chain sugars that plain old Saccharomyces is not able to,” Lauren explains. “If we happen to unknowingly package a beer with Brett in it, we could have some overpressurized and exploding cans. Even if it doesn’t get that far, the flavor and aroma could be drastically different.”
But, for those times when we want to get down and get funky, Brett gives us a number of options: a 100% fermentation like in Aiding and A’bretting, we can add it in a stainless fermenter or put it up in a barrel for a while, like with some of our Barrel Aged Series. Or, we can use it as a secondary fermentation as we’ve done with Always Bretty — our house yeast can’t ferment some of the longer sugar chains.
“When our regular house ale yeast was finished with its job, we transferred it over to the sour facility and pitched the Brett in to eat up some of the sugars the Saccharomyces left behind,” Lauren says.
For Always Bretty, we began with a base of un-dry-hopped Always Ready before laying it down for ten weeks with Brett. We usually dry-hop Always Ready just before we package it — not so this time around.
“We pulled 15 barrels off a 60-barrel batch from the Production Facility and toted it over to the Sour Facility,” Innovation Director Brian Hink explains.
For a beer like Coastal Evacuation with Brett, we usually finish the beer through the dry hop before taking it over to Sourland to see a secondary fermentation with Brett. This time, though, we wanted to switch things up a little more.
“We wanted to see what the Brett would do with this base beer,” Brian says. “When it came time to dry-hop Always Bretty, we picked the hops that were best suited for what we had at that point, opting for Simcoe, Citra, and Mosaic on this go-round.”
After ten weeks, Brian was happy with Always Bretty.
“It had a really nice over-ripened pineapple undertone to it,” he says. “I felt it worked really well with the base beer and the time of year, too. It’s not as rustic as Coastal Evacuation with Brett gets, which I like. I felt would be good to separate the two, but it was long enough that the Brett has shown its presence and influence.”
The result is Always Ready… but different.
“It’s drier and with a higher ABV — 4.8% vs. 6.2%, thanks to the Brett eating more residual sugar,” Brian says.
“It’s super hoppy, as anything related to Always Ready should be,” Brian says. “While having a distinctive Always Ready note to it, you know it’s something different.”
Brian will definitely be enjoying a shifty of Always Bretty on Friday with his BFF Brett(anomyces).
“I love how it turned out, and I think my only regret is that we’re not canning it — I would love to see how extended aging in the can would enhance and alter this beer.”
Lauren thinks that fans will enjoy tasting Always Ready and Always Bretty side-by-side.
“I’ll make a bold statement and say that fans will enjoy double fisting this one,” she says, Always Ready in one hand and Always Bretty in the other. This is the best way to appreciate the differences between the beers.”
Brian will likely prefer Always Bretty. After all….
Always Bretty is available in the Tasting Room and is out for distribution now. Be sure to grab a growler fill!