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09/29/10 01:48 PM  
Fantome Mustiness
After enjoying a bottle of Fantome Hiver last night I can't stop thinking about the musty flavor I enjoy so much in Fantome beers and how to get that in my own saisons, so thought to ask for some advice.

I'm thinking this musty character comes from the corks, so some googling revealed that a mold present in natural corks can impart 2,4,6 trichloroasinole leading to musty flavors. Has anyone on here had Fantome on draught? If so did it still have the musty character? That could prove the cork theory incorrect. I've corked homebrews before and not been able to achieve this flavor, so I'm stumped, maybe my corks aren't ideal for this.

I'm doubtful it's the yeast strain as I've tried a few brews made with the Wyeast 3725, which is claimed to be the Fantome sacc strain, they turned out a bit fruity and earthy, but nothing like this musty cellar flavor.

Not sure on it being brett based as I've used Fantome dregs and not got this character.

Any thoughts?

09/29/10 05:17 PM  
Re: Fantome Mustiness
You might want to ask about the Fantome on tap on the other board here. There are some very experienced drinkers over there.
09/29/10 07:51 PM  
Re: Fantome Mustiness
I have always thought the musty cellar quality in many commercial farmhouse ales comes from the cork. Fanotme, Saison Dupont, Blaugies, etc all have corks and all have that flavor quite frequently.
09/29/10 09:26 PM  
Re: Fantome Mustiness

I was thinking the same, but the previous corked homebrew I've done haven't achieved this, even when laid down on their sides for aging. I was thinking maybe it was a combo of brett and cork, since there has been talk of brett feeding off the oak barrels, maybe they were releasing something from the cork, but Dupont has not brett, so no idea.

I'm culturing some new dregs from Hiver now, and may try "dry hopping" the cork from the bottle to see if it's a bacterial thing.

09/29/10 10:07 PM  
Re: Fantome Mustiness
That mustiness could be age and oxidation as well. I have noticed that same quality with uncorked, aged beers.
09/30/10 04:33 AM  
Re: Fantome Mustiness
Mustiness is usually attributed to oxidation of melanoidins (certain types of pyrazine & pyradine.) It can also be from oxidation of hop oils. Usually when it is from oxidation of humulone in hops sulfur notes are also present, whereas they aren't in the case of the melanoidins.

Moldy flavors were historically more common when beer was aged in casks or fermentors that were moldy. Also, damp malt can lead to mold flavors that carry over into the finished beer.

09/30/10 12:47 PM  
Re: Fantome Mustiness
I too love that musty quality in saisons, beer de gardes, sours, etc., but have been unable to produce it myself. The brewing books, including Wild Brews, swear that it isn't from the cork. BJCP for Biere de Garde says "the 'cellar' character in commercial examples is unlikely to be duplicated in homebrews as it comes from indigenous yeasts and molds." If so, you'd think that adding dregs could help develop it. However, in my experience that hasn't worked either.
09/30/10 01:37 PM  
Re: Fantome Mustiness
Maybe this is pushing it, but you could try taking a small handful of grain and getting it damp a couple days before brewing. If it gets an appropriate sort of moldy thing going on, toss it in the mash with the rest of your grain. Anything nasty would get killed off and it might carry some moldy/musty flavor over into the finished product.

I know that's really pushing it, but it's all I've got for now. . .

09/30/10 02:26 PM  
Re: Fantome Mustiness
I may try a combo of things on my next batch, cultured dregs, adding the Fantome cork to the 2ndary. I've also been thinking about maybe trying some stale hops.

The damp grain makes me a bit nervous, but maybe I'll try that down the road.

10/01/10 02:02 AM  
Re: Fantome Mustiness
I really doubt stale hops will get you where you want to be on this one. They tend to lend an astringent, cheesy thing rather than actual mustiness.
10/05/10 10:28 PM  
Re: Fantome Mustiness
Sound a lot like some of the characteristic aromas/flavors that brett can create..
10/06/10 08:04 PM  
Re: Fantome Mustiness
Agreed. Experienced wild ones.
12/30/10 12:55 PM  
Re: Fantome Mustiness
Just as an update to this. Last night I had a De Ranke Pere Noel and it had the distinct musty flavor. This beer doesn't have a cork though, so there must be some other cause for this flavor. I noticed a tiny spot of what looked like mold under the cap, so maybe this has something to do with it. The bottle was fairly new, bottled in August of this year. I don't recall the last De Ranke beer (Cuvee) to have the musty character though.
01/05/11 02:27 PM  
Re: Fantome Mustiness
FWIW, a buddy of mine did a clean primary saison fermentation and added white labs sour mix 1 at bottling. the results have a significant complex musty character.
01/05/11 02:45 PM  
Re: Fantome Mustiness
Trying brewing with dregs from a bottle. I got a pretty good fantome-esque mustiness from dumping dregs fom an old bottle into a homebrew combined with saison yeast for primary fermentation. After fermenting the beer in the upper 80's for a week the beer was quite tart and musty.

Still have a few bottles (now a few yeas old). One of the best homebrews I ever made.

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