This beer took inspiration from Lost Abbey's Avant Garde but I added a bit of my own things into the brew as well. I've been trying to nail some of the flavors that are often familiar with commercial examples of Bière de Garde. I've said many times that I believe this beer gets the signature musty cellar aromas from a hint of brettanomyces and not just from long storage with a cork. I wanted to simulate those characters in my beer. I may be way off but, in the same regard, I may come out with something quite enjoyable. You can find the brew day notes and recipe here.
SG: 1.060 or 14.74°P
FG: 1.004 or 1.03°P
Apparent Attenuation: 93.33%
Actual Attenuation: 75.97%
Appearance: Dark amber in color with some golden hues. Pours slightly hazy but could have been a touch of chill haze. Head was white with tight bubbles but it immediately dissipated. No lacing at all but there is a good bit of carbonation visible. From time to time I see beers with brett not have much in the way of head retention. I'll work on that going forward in my Bière de Garde brewing.
Aroma: Malt up front with a hint of fruitiness. Nothing really stands out in the nose but as it warms there is definitely an earthy funk in there. Almost mushroom like when I think about it. Maybe a touch of grain and that's pretty much it.
Flavor: Just a touch more malt character in the flavor than in the aroma. That's what I'm looking for. The earthiness is also there. This is more of the yeast earthiness that I've gotten in WLP072 before. It may be a touch higher with the addition of the brett but not really pronounced. The beer does finish dry like I wanted it to.
Mouthfeel: Medium mouthfeel and a spring of carbonation as you drink. There is more carbonation than in the appearance since there is no head retention.
Overall: I think my girlfriend said it best when describing this beer. She said, "I mean, I'd drink it." It's somewhat of an uneventful beer but it does have the makings of a good beer and actually did get a bit of the earthiness I was looking to get out of it. Otherwise, it's not really special but it definitely isn't bad. I think the lack of head retention really throws me off too.
I think this beer is on the right track. I'll swap to a different yeast next time to maybe get a bit more character. I think if there were some esters created by the primary yeast, the brettanomyces may have more to work with. I believe this strain of brett is well suited for the style so I'll be experimenting with it more. Maybe adding some oak to it for some time will bring up the complexity. I'm still very interested in figuring out Bière de Garde and what all it entails.
*Sorry for the lack of photos on this one. But in all honesty, it wasn't a super interesting beer to photograph!
Andrew "Gus" Addkison
@aaddkison on Twitter