Brettanomyces: The Wild Yeast

Yeast is one of the essential ingredients in beer.  For centuries, humans have used yeast in wine-making, bread-making, and beer-making.  The yeast used for all of these comes from the genus Saccharomyces, and was originally isolated from the skin of grapes.  Due to its long working relationship with humans, it is a very reliable fermenter.  It can finish off a batch of beer in a matter of days, which is pretty incredible.

However, there is another genus of yeast that has not generally been used by humans, at least not intentionally.  It is called Brettanomyces, named for its original discovery in British stock ales.  Brettanomyces has two key differences with Saccharomyces.  First, it can produce some very interesting flavors.  Medicinal, barnyard, funky, and fruity are all descriptions of flavors produced by Brett.  Second, it can consume leftover sugars that Saccharomyces can’t.  This means that it is capable of drying a beer out to a level that Saccharomyces can’t achieve.

Most breweries and wineries take painstaking care to keep Brett yeasts out of their product, but now, many breweries are embracing it, Crooked Run included.  Here’s a list of some of the Brett-laced beers we plan to offer.  What do they taste like?  Great!

Warden’s Lament: Tart, barrel-aged tripel with three different kinds of Brett.

Warden’s Promise: Tart, raspberry brown ale made with Brett brux

Wildsail: A Brett brux version of our flagship beer, Hopsail


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