(Funky) Old 49er

I’ve now tried two of the Old Ale I brewed sometime back and I’ve been pleasantly surprised.  When I bottled it I used only 1/4 cup of corn sugar to prime as I feel that this kind of beer should have low carbonation and I feared the Brettanomyces would cause over-carbonation since it would be in there working away over time.  Also, the beer was very cloudy when I transferred it to the bottling bucket because I forgot the Irish Moss, or so I thought. 

When I popped the cap on the first one a couple weeks ago, it hissed from the carbonation.  I though this was a bit soon to have that much carbonation but there’s not much I can do about it now.  The beer is a dark reddish brown and has cleared quite well despite my forgetfulness with the Irish Moss.  When I poured out the last of the bottle there was a huge slug of yeast left behind.  Apparently, that was the cloudiness that I saw during bottling.  The smell was hard to describe, but it was sweet, musty, and a bit medicinal.  There was also a hint, somewhere deep inside, of cherry.  The taste was nearly as hard to describe but was very similar to the smell.  It had a sweet caramel flavor with a fairly intense medicinal and liquorice taste.  Also, there was that hint of cherry underneath it all.  I wanted to reserve some of the harshest judgement because it was only in the bottle two weeks and it is after all, an Old Ale. 

Last weekend, a friend was in town and we decided to try one.  The difference of a week was very interesting.  All of the above described flavors and aromas were present except the medicinal tones.  The medicinal, or as my wife described, liquorice flavor was much diminished to our palates.  My wife could still detect it, however.  To me the cherry aroma was even more pronounced and reminded me of Rodenbach Grand Cru.  This is a good sign, in my book.

So, I am surprised the Brett has become apparent so quickly.  I expected it to show itself slowly as the beer aged, but I can obviously taste and smell its presence.  I just wonder how far the little bugs will go.  Hopefully, this one will age nicely.  I’ll try to keep you posted.

The Adequate Brewer

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