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Brett vs. Sour

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by marqoid, Jul 9, 2012.

  1. marqoid

    marqoid Savant (380) Arizona Sep 29, 2008 Verified

    As I have read many reviews (particularly Mo Betta Bretta) recently it seems there is some confusion that Brett will make a sour beer.
    It is my understanding that Brett does not produce significant acid, only funky esters. While acid is produced primarily from bacteria (lactobacillus and pediococcus) for souring.
    Therefore the category American Wild Ale should not imply sour beer. Is this correct? Is this recognized by BAs?
    ehammond1 likes this.
  2. I think that American Wild Ale should imply a sour or tart beer to some degree.
    I also think that Mo Betta Bretta and New Belgium's Brett Beer should both be moved to the Belgian Pale Ale category.
  3. davey101

    davey101 Champion (820) Connecticut Apr 14, 2009

    You are correct.

    I've always thought that AWA just implies that it uses wild yeast strains. Its not defined by the level of funk or sourness. However it does seems like a catch all style much like the American Strong Ale. Rayon Vert uses brett but falls under the belgian pale ale category, while a belgian pale aged in barrels falls under the AWA category. I really wouldn't worry about classifications and categories on here too much. Semantics...
  4. brewbetter

    brewbetter Savant (410) Nauru Jun 2, 2012

    AWA as a category has always really bothered me. Any style ranging from Flemish Red to Gueuze to a regular pale ale gets lumped in just because they use a little Brett. It makes no sense to me.
  5. marqoid

    marqoid Savant (380) Arizona Sep 29, 2008 Verified

    It's not a matter of concern for classification, but it seems that from the reviews many BAs have an expectation of tasting something sour when drinking a Brett beer. Really just clarifying that Brett does not = sour.
    azorie likes this.
  6. MattSweatshirt

    MattSweatshirt Champion (760) Texas Jun 29, 2011 Verified

    I've noticed this with Youtube reviewers as well when about to review a beer with Brett in it. This is why Orval should be mandatory drinking.
  7. nc41

    nc41 Champion (780) North Carolina Sep 25, 2008 Verified

    Being an uneducated novice to this stuff, sours = tart, like eating a green apple, light, carbonated,not my style I couldn't enjoy a whole glass. Brett = funky like drinking BO if you could bottle the smell. Maybe it was a bad example of using Brett, but I hated it.
  8. CASK1

    CASK1 Savant (465) Florida Jan 7, 2010 Verified

    Some strains of Brett will produce small amounts of acid, but truly sour beers do rely on lacto and pedio bacteria for the sourness. The bacteria take a LOT longer to do their thing than an all Brett or Sacc/Brett beer.
  9. JrGtr

    JrGtr Savant (450) Massachusetts Apr 13, 2006 Verified

    I was able to pick up a couple bottles of the Mo Betta Bretta this weekend. I prefer the funk of BRETT, so I plan to sit on them for at least six months before opening. Ditto with the Brux I got last week.
  10. Mebuzzard

    Mebuzzard Poobah (1,100) Colorado May 19, 2005 Verified

    Correct, as far as I know :cool:

    The Crooked Stave beers show this very well, imho. The Brett offers a bit of tartness, but more so it gives notes of floral, fruit and some green grass.
  11. hopsputin

    hopsputin Advocate (625) New Jersey Apr 1, 2012 Verified

    BO haha. I enjoy some Brett funk. I once described it as a 'band-aid' taste to a non-beer drinker. Hmmm not sure it was the best choice of words ;)
  12. This was explained to me at the bruery provisions store while trying mischief and mischief gone wild. Brett gives more of an earthy and funky leather taste, to me atleast. As stated above, only newbs associate month puckering sourness with brett.
  13. Graviz

    Graviz Savant (385) Colorado Feb 26, 2012 Verified

    ...and sometimes a dirty diaper smell. Case in point with CS's Pure Guava Petite Sour.
  14. maltmaster420

    maltmaster420 Advocate (550) Oregon Aug 17, 2005 Verified

    This is a key point. Lots of people are apparently unaware of the fact that there's several different strains of brettanomyces, and they all produce different flavors/aromas.

    • Brett Bruxellensis: The classic strain that Orval doses their beer with at bottling produces pineapple/mango flavors, slight tartness, and "horse blanket" aroma after extended aging.
    • Brett Bruxellensis Trois: Similar to standard Brett B, but less horse blanket, and slightly more tartness and pineapple.
    • Brett Claussenii: Similar to Brett B, but much more subdued funk.
    • Brett Lambicus: This is the strain that gives lambics their extreme horse blanket, cobwebs, and (I think) the "bleu cheese" character.
    At most, these strains will contribute some tartness, but in order to get truly sour flavors you need Lactobacillus (the only wild yeast Cascade uses, so they make a good reference) and/or Pediococcus (produces everything from leather to butter depending on the stage it's at).
    FeDUBBELFIST likes this.
  15. Patrick

    Patrick Initiate (0) Massachusetts Aug 13, 2007

    Why does the term wild imply sour and not funk?
  16. marqoid

    marqoid Savant (380) Arizona Sep 29, 2008 Verified

    My sense is that BA perception is that wild = sour, but this is incorrect. Wild only implies wild yeast and/or bacteria which can be funk and/or sour.
    FeDUBBELFIST and Patrick like this.
  17. VncentLIFE

    VncentLIFE Champion (795) North Carolina Feb 16, 2011 Verified

    Sour is acidic.

    Brett is tart and funky.

    its really that easy. (ps try RR Sanctificaion which is 100% Brett). Then compare it to a sour beer.
  18. BearsOnAcid

    BearsOnAcid Advocate (735) Massachusetts Mar 17, 2009 Verified

    There's probably hundreds of types of brett. I get a lot more of an earthy mushroom character from Brett B. You listed the most common types that are propagated and sold commercially for brewing. Lactobacillus is bacteria not yeast.
  19. BearsOnAcid

    BearsOnAcid Advocate (735) Massachusetts Mar 17, 2009 Verified

    It's 100% brett fermented but is still dosed with lactobacillus to create its sourness.
  20. VncentLIFE

    VncentLIFE Champion (795) North Carolina Feb 16, 2011 Verified

    it wasnt anywhere near as sour as I was expecting. I mean maybe a better example would have been Rayon Vert.
  21. BearsOnAcid

    BearsOnAcid Advocate (735) Massachusetts Mar 17, 2009 Verified

    That beer is pretty similar to Orval where it's bottle conditioned with brett. If you want a strictly 100% brett fermented beer I would recommend Mo Betta Bretta. If you want to laugh for a bit then read the reviews for it too.
  22. Patrick

    Patrick Initiate (0) Massachusetts Aug 13, 2007

    Laughs indeed.
  23. VncentLIFE

    VncentLIFE Champion (795) North Carolina Feb 16, 2011 Verified

    sad part is that I hated Orval, just too much yeast for some reason (but loved Sanctification and Rayon Vert). Maybe I need to revisit it.
  24. CASK1

    CASK1 Savant (465) Florida Jan 7, 2010 Verified

    Not only are there numerous strains with unique flavor and aroma characteristics, each strain can put out widely varying flavors depending on wort pH, amount of oxygen, fermentation temperature, pitch rate, etc. Even if you can control for all those things, the Bretts are probably a lot less predictable than Sacc yeast. Part of their charm?