Thursday, February 12, 2015

Tasting Notes: NOT-Brett Trois Riverwards IPA

Various Riverwards wort fermenting in my very cool crawlspace.
As if 100% Brett fermented beers weren't already misunderstood enough it turns out WLP644 Brettanomyces Bruxellensis Trois is actually Saccharomyces and not a strain of Brettanomyces. This is not breaking news to a lot of folks, and the point of this post is not to go into the specifics, the DNA sequencing stuff goes over my head anyway. If you're looking for more you can read more in depth analysis Here, or Here

I was excited to bring home 20 gallons of Riverwards IPA wort to split off into unique fermentations. With five gallons of that wort being pitched with some 2nd generation Brett Trois, then only two days later rumors started to swirl on the Milk The Funk Facebook group of the misidentification. Like most folks I was skeptical at first, but as more in depth analysis was performed the original rumors would all but be confirmed. one of the most widely used Brett strains for primary fermentations was not Brett after at all but plain old Saccharomyces Cerevisiae. The question is, should we care?


There seems to be two reactions to the news, there is the "Who cares, it makes great beer" camp, of which I am a member, and the "Wow this changes everything" camp, oh yea I'm in that one to. I'm of the opinion that Trois is one of the best strains to use in hoppy beers, as good if not better than Conan, and I will continue to use it in that way as I have now for some time. It has the ability to throw off tons of unique fruity esters that pair very well with aggressive new age hops we all love to use these days. For that reason I will not only continue to use it as I have despite the taxonomy, but will encourage non Brett users to explore the strain now that its being reclassified.


On the other hand, the brewing community was making some serious progress on defining what 100% Brett beer can be and educating the consumer on those facts. I come across people often who note that a 100% Brett beer is missing the "barnyard aromas" classically associated with Brett. This stems from a misunderstanding of how versatile Brett can be, both in primary and as a secondary fermenter. I realize that there are many other strains of Brett that homebrewers and commercial brewers use in primary but this is one of the most popular. So when it comes to the exploration of 100% Brett beer, this is a major setback.


Enough of the Op-ed junk, the beer in question here is awesome, I said I love this strain didn't I? I changed this one up from the Conan base version of the beer, besides the Trois, and dry hopped with 3 ounces each of Mosaic and Citra. I guess that doesn't make for a great side by side comparison but I love getting multiple beers out of one brewday, and this one will eventually have 5 variations in the end.


Below is the hop schedule, from boil through dry hop, for the beer I tasted in this post.

Boil: 60min - 0.25 oz CTZ [17.00 %] - 16.1 IBUs
Boil: 15min - 1 Whirlfloc Tablet + 1 tsp Wyeast Yeast Nutrient
Boil:  5min - 1.25 oz Amarillo [8.90 %] - 7.7 IBUs
Boil:  5min - 1.25 oz Citra [14.50 %] - 12.5 BUs
45 Minute Whirlpool 185f - 1.50 oz Amarillo [8.90 %] - 1.7 IBUs
30 Minute Whirlpool 185f - 1.50 oz Citra [14.50 %] - 2.2 IBUs
Dry Hop: 5 days - 3.00 oz Mosaic [12.50 %] 

Dry Hop: 5 days - 3.00 oz Citra [12.00 %]

Brett Trois Riverwards IPA

Appearance: Hazy golden orange, honestly...same color as almost all of my beers. Thick fluffy head on top that just hangs around the whole time, intense lacing on the glass. Unsurprisingly looks no different than the Conan version.


Aroma: Intensely tropical, guava, papaya, pineapple, with a faint background dank note that is a bit more present as the glass warms. The aroma is sharp and assertive, no mistaking the Trois or the Mosaic in this beer they are both the stars here. It reminds me of the fruit smoothies from Jamba Juice all of the servers at a trendy martini bar I used to work at would drink, they lived on that shit.


Flavor: Light bitterness as is customary in how I like these beers, less bitter than the Conan version which I attribute to that beer being much drier (Conan= 1.007, Trois= 1.012FG). Nice creamy texture across the tongue, as it his the back of your mouth it hints at dryness then the creamy tropical juice character comes back. The finish is like a Orange/Pineapple juice mix, so drinkable.

Final Thoughts: I love Mosaic, and I love Trois paired with tons of hops so this is my jam. Its a good little change up from the base version with Conan, and actually fairly different. I shared a growler of this with John from 2nd Story he found it unique, and very juicy, to the point that he is considering playing with Trois, so long as he was sure its Saccharomyces.

Whats amazing to me about Trois, good or bad, is that despite all of the hops in this beer it is unmistakably a Brett Trois beer. Trois can dominate a beer if you don't support it with complimentary flavors, in this case tons of hops. But if you can pair it with aggressive hopping it can bring together a very complex hoppy beer.

Hopefully White Labs announces this strain is Saccharomyces soon so that brewers who would normally be hesitant to brew with Brett can start to explore this great strain. Those that normally brew with Brett and now are less interested in the strain might want to think again, Trois will always have a home in my hoppy beers.