February 7, 2011

Hot Carl Update

I broke out another bottle of Hot Carl over the weekend. "Hot Carl" is the name of my wild yeast I captured off a peach I bought at a grocery store. I also named the test batch I made with it the same thing. (For a full review, take a look at this thread.) As I mentioned in the end of that thread, I brewed the beer in October, bottled for a full month through November and tasted it in early December. At the time it was a big glass of diacetyl. It tasted like butterscotch through and through. Pretty foul. I intended to open another bottle in January but I kept forgetting about it in the fridge.

This was like a completely different beer. Obviously there was some refermentation in the bottle. When I cracked it open the beer started to foam up very quickly. I poured it into a pint glass and smelled a dry, slightly fruity smell. The taste was incredibly different. There was still some diacetyl flavor but it has been replaced by the unmistakable flavor of brett. It tasted a lot like Orval, almost like an Orval that had not been dry hopped but with a lot of diacetyl. I think after a few more weeks the diacetyl should be mostly removed and the brett characteristics should shine through.

The bad news is that I will have to consume the bottles fairly quickly to avoid bottle bombs but I really wanted to hold off and drink the bottles one per month to see if the diacetyl went away. The good news is that the diacetyl does go away and I have a beer that develops big brett character after a handful of months.

I will definitely make another batch of this beer. Next time I will leave it in the fermenter for six months or more to allow the brett to stabilize before bottling. I may decide to brew it as a saison instead. I also contemplated other uses for this wild blend. Since the brett character becomes so dominant I may try making another fake oud bruin in the same way I made the current batch I am working on but take the one gallon portion, sour mash it and then add Hot Carl so it gets the sour and brett notes. I may try doing the same thing for a fake lambic. I will consider which path to take after my current oud bruin project (take a look at the oud bruin project in the menu to the right) is complete.

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