The Brett cider I made a few months ago turned out awesome. It was my first successful cider that tasted really clean and dry, with just a touch of funk. I wanted more funk, though. I redid the same recipe but switched over to using Brett Lambicus as well as unfiltered apple juice instead of filtered. After tasting the juices side by side I really liked the unfiltered more – it has a really smooth apple flavor that comes across as softer and with less of a bite than the filtered (at room temperature that is).
- 3 gallons Wegmans unfiltered apple juice
- 1 vial White Labs Brett Lambicus
// Pour cider into carboy. Pitch vial into carboy. Done. Made 8/23/15. //
After 3 weeks in the primary this beer tasted weird. It had a super funky flavor – smoke, hay, with some weird cheese flavors. After thinking about it for a while, it tastes like a strongly flavored funky smoked cheese. So weird. The gravity is at 1004 so I gave the carboy a good shake to help it finish out.
5 weeks in the primary the gravity dropped to 1.000. Much cleaner, funkier flavor with more of a crisp apple presence too. Added 1/2 of an oak spiral directly to the glass carboy. Small pellicles starting to form on the surface of the cider, but it is also clearing up significantly.
Sadly, I had to dump this batch. I let it go for a total of about 3 months in the primary aging on the oak spiral, and the level of weird funk unfortunately took over. I don’t know whether it was the Brett Lambicus being just too weird for my palate, or if these would actually be considered off flavors. It had flavors and aromas that reminded me of a stinky, sharp tasting cheese (along with the usual barnyard Brett character). I really don’t know where these flavors came from (maybe oxidation? i thought that would produce vinegar, though), but there was evidence of it all the way from early on to the very end. I even tried blending it with other beers like a saison to see if it added just a bit of complexity – nope, it just added stinky cheese notes and ruined whatever it touched! I hate dumping batches, but there was just too much to waste a tap spot; it would have been painful to get through 3 gallons of this stuff. Brett Brux seems like the way to go for a cleaner, more tolerable funky cider.