Beer Tasting (6 months)

October 26, 2016

The wild beers produced during this project ought to age about a year before the fermentation is truly finished, but as the Turf and Terrain exhibition comes to a close, we wanted to drink some beer and close out the project properly. So after bottling the beer (see Broadcasts from a couple weeks ago), we’re tasting it at 6 months. Some of the flavors are less than desirable, and hopefully they’ll taste better in another six months.

Bad news: this is the last week of broadcasts! Good news: it's time to drink some 🍺! This traditional lambic was made with a lively mix of wild yeast and bacteria from Foggy Bottom. Moderately tart, lemony and apple flavors

Wild Lambic #1: The full boar batch made with two different starters, each batched up from the original samples collected in Foggy Bottom. More tart than fully sour, this beer has a deep flavor profile that includes lemon and apple aromoas (from malic fermentation?) and a funky base note. It’s super flavorful and pretty strong, so more of a celebration ale than an easy-drinking beer, but hey, that’s what we’re here for.

 

Our second wild beer was made with a single strain of yeast isolated under a microscope. Probably brettanomyces because it tastes super farmy with deep bitter notes. It's still aging, so may improve with time

Wild Lambic #2: Full Brett – after isolating yeast through agar plating, it seems that the yeast cells we identified were the wild and unpredictable Brettanomyces rather than the tradional Saccharomyces. This makes sense, since there’s more of that floating around in Washington D.C. than brewer’s yeast.  The flavor has evolved somewhat from a serious horse blanket flavor just after fermentation began, to more of a bitter farmy flavor. Not reccommended. Pictured above: the offending yeast.

 

The third batch of wild-fermented beer was a blend of isolated brettanomyces and commercial kolsch yeast. It tastes pretty funky with a sharp band-aid smell. Hopefully it will also mellow out with time

Wild Cream Ale: Brewed as a tribute to the German historical brewers of Foggy Bottom, this hybrid of a Cream Ale (an ale trying to be a lager) and a wild lambic was brewed with a mix of Kolsch and wild yeast. Unfortunately the wild yeast we used was the horsey Brett from Lambic #2, so the overall flavor is still super funky. Combined with the commercial Kolsch yeast, the flavor comes off as band-aid with a sharp tang.