Friday, December 20, 2013

Tasting: FItR w/Mangos

In February of this year I had a batch of the Farmer In the Rye stall at 1.020, Dupont culture and too cool a fermentation was the culprit. Instead of just adding Wyeast 3711 to dry it out, as I've been known to do, I decided to pitch some ECY03 Farmhouse Brett slurry that I had laying around. I have used this blend before and really enjoyed it, the rumor is that one of the Brett strains in the blend is a Fantome isolate, among other strains of Brettanomyces and Saccharomyces. 

The beer attenuated to 1.003 pretty quickly, in about 4 weeks time, and since I had already done 4 beers with the ECY03 blend I wanted to try something a bit different. Around that time, roughly May, Mangos were in season and thought it would be an interesting fruit to age the beer on. So I skinned, cubed, froze, then pureed the mangos (~1lb per gallon of beer) and racked the beer onto the puree to age. Fermentation kicked back up for a few days with a small 1/2 inch krausen, then for a month or so there were some fine bubbles shooting up to the surface. After 2-3 months the beer dropped clear and I bottled to 3.0 vols of co2.

FItR w/Mangos

Appearance: Slight gusher, I had to pour relatively quickly but it didn't make a mess. Pours with a fluffy bright white 2 finger head that dissipates to a thin covering on top. Effervescent tiny bubbles shooting up the glass, almost champagne like. Very hazy with some chunks of fruit. Beautiful straw yellow with almost a neon tint.

Aroma: Notes of hay, fruity acidity, barnyard funk. Peppery spice.

Taste: Prickly carbonation up front, very carbonated, light body. Mango forward, slight tartness, spice (pepper), with a dry finish. It does finish a little watery, there isn't much after taste, it's off your palate pretty quickly. It does leave you wanting to take another sip, pretty refreshing.

Overall:  I enjoy this beer for what it is, which ultimately is a beer with a meandering path to its final flavor profile. When I brewed the beer I did not intend for it to be a funky Saison aged with Mango puree, but it works and I am happy with it.

There are two issues I have with the beer that keep it from being better than just good. The first, and really least important to me, is the amount of chunks of mango in the bottles that ultimately get pulled into suspension when the bottle is opened. It doesn’t bother me but I imagine it might not be appealing to some people. The other issue is it is a bit watery/thin in body, my guess is that can be attributed to just how dense the mangos I had were. I do think my choice to puree the fruit did not help in both these departments, if I had just cubed and froze the fruit I think both of these issues could have been minimized to an extent.

This little beer gave me an idea to do some variations on my FItR recipe, I plan to continue the fruit series with Peaches (also ECY03+WLP565) coming up next and also dive into a commercial dregs series with this base beer. Currently in the fermentor is Logsdons Seizon Bretta dregs, and Hill Farmstead dregs variants.

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