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10/21/09 08:57 AM  
More cheese please
I would like some more funk in my junk. My sours are very sour, but cleaner tasting than I would like. I would probably like some more caproic acid (goaty, sweaty, found in coconut oil and goat and cow butter). Maybe a tiny more isovaleric acid (Sweaty saddle, cheesy, rancidity, cat urine, gym locker, old hops).

I haven't used aged hops, so maybe that's part of the missing cheese. I also thought about adding some toasted coconut for some caproic acid. I also thought about adding a couple of toasted walnuts for fatty acids.

Does the presence of fats from coconut or nuts increase the production of fatty acid aromas, such as caproic and isovaleric?

I've heard adding fats (such as chocolate or coconut) is bad for beer, especially head retention, so maybe this is a bad idea. I just want some more complexity. How much should I add?

10/21/09 11:36 AM  
Re: More cheese please
Before answering that (Which I think my answer would be not to add fats) I think it needs to be asked ...

... so your beers are sour but not funky. What do you do to funkitize them?

10/22/09 01:10 AM  
Re: More cheese please
In one case I used Lacto + WL Brett C. In one case I used Lacto + WL Brett L. In one case I used WY Sour Mix. In one case I added dregs from 10+ commercial sours (this has the most funkiness, but it's still mild). In all cases I use low IBUs <10. I'm making this judgement based on uncarbonated samples from a carboy. Maybe when carbonated the funky aromas will be more pronounced.
10/22/09 01:46 PM  
Re: More cheese please
Well, I can pick at this but I don't know enough to address all fronts.

>>In one case I used Lacto + WL Brett C.<<

Brett C is really not that funky, depending on usage it might not be funky at all. Conversly I suppose it may get funky depending on usage, but that has never been my observation. So no surprise here.

>>In one case I used Lacto + WL Brett L.<<

More apt to get funky, but I will say that once I made a Brett C beer and finished it with Brett L. I thought it was a neat beer, got a cherrish thing from the BL - but completely unfunky. In fact I got some judges feedback about how clean it was. So BL can also not be a big funkster - depending on usage.

>>In one case I used WY Sour Mix<<

Don't know this stuff, maybe there is a reason they don't call it 'Funk Mix"!

>>In one case I added dregs from 10+ commercial sours (this has the most funkiness, but it's still mild).<<

Without knowing the treatment of the beer before bottling or the composition of the dregs its easy for me to imagine that at least some of the 10 may have contained nothing funkable. So, not really surprised it was the funkiest, but also not shocked it was not pronounced. Unless you know exact what you are pitching this approach is a bit of a roulette wheel. Its worth asking though, how long ago was this 10 dreg batch?

I'll defer of course to our FunkMaster Al, but off hand I'd have two words for you. Actually make that 3 words. 'Brettanomyces Bruxelles' and 'patience'. Together these will funk your world!!

Al B
10/22/09 03:03 PM  
Re: More cheese please
A brett strain that most resembles goat is from Allagash - specifically the Signature brew w/ Deproef. This strain is the most sweaty, goaty-cheesy isolate I know. You won't get there using coconut or other food product - only bugs produce enough of these fatty acids to smash the human threshold. I suppose you'll add some meat for tetrahydopyridines?

Using the correct strain(s) of bugs is the first course of action with fermentables. Some bretts will produce more or less of the following compounds - esters, phenols, organic acids, tetrahydropyridines. The WY brux or Orval dregs are a good start for what you want along with some sugar or malt to help produce these compounds. Deproef is another good source for goat-cheese producing brett. Always make a starter so you know what you're pitching - and in good health.

10/23/09 03:05 AM  
Re: More cheese please
OK. So I'll brew a Lacto + WY Brett B, and I'll try to hunt down a Les Deux Brasseurs to culture. Hopefully I'll get some funk out of that and blend it with some stuff I already have.

I've been avoiding the Bruxullensis strain for fear of plastic phenolic smells, but maybe it's time to try it out.

As long as I'm throwing out bad ideas like throwing lard into the fermentor, here's one more: I could add a few drops liquid smoke for more aromatic complexity.

10/23/09 03:16 AM  
Re: More cheese please
If you really want more complexity, use a little smoked malt (or smoke some yourself at home.) Much better than liquid smoke!

Liquid smoke in beer is like that cheap imitation diet turkey-bacon my wife buys. :p

10/23/09 03:41 PM  
Re: More cheese please
Best case scenario would be if you got a hint of phenolics from BB ... and it expressed as smoke. Does happen.
10/25/09 03:48 PM  
Re: More cheese please
I've always assumed some of the cheesy aroma was from aged hops, not just fermentation. They certainly smell like cheese in the earlier stages of aging. It's something that you don't want to go overboard with though.

Someone brought a Berlinner Weisse to NHC last July that was really nice and sour, but it had a very cheesy aroma. He had used aged hops and it really came through in the finished beer.

The sweaty "Hippy Armpit" or goatyness could probably be achieved by finding some nice sweaty lambics and pitching in some dregs. I've had some pretty sweaty Boon Geuzes before. Have you tried pitching that?

11/10/09 01:09 PM  
Re: More cheese please
If you want to really try funky, culture the bacteria found in Limburger cheese. That is some pretty funky stuff. I wonder if anyone has ever tried that before.
11/15/09 02:08 PM  
Re: More cheese please
last year I split a 5 gallon batch of wort and used various yeast combos for primary and secondary. I had a white labs bret brux primary, then added lambic mix with some RR Beatifiction dregs, and there was a little more than I expected as I split them out since I wanted a little headspace in the gallon jugs.

Looked like enough to throw in a wine bottle that almost worked with a small sized silicon cork and airlock. I wrapped some foil around the smaller plug, and sealed with candlewax... but a little air seeped in. It made a pelicle right away. There were no oak chips or saccharomyces dregs in this little bottle. At 9 months it was like "mouse pee" (A german brewer once used that term when i told him i love lambics). It is very vermin-like. I figure I really stressed out that Brett. So perhaps if I get something bland I can put an eyedropper or two of this in at bottling. It will go a very long way...

maybe that approach offers ideas for splitting a batch for different levels/kinds of funkiness. No idea if experienced brewers do that...

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