Time and Tide - collaboration brew with Les Brasseurs du Grand Paris + Nick Malmquist

Francais

This beer was brewed in collaboration with Les Brasseurs du Grand Paris and the microbiologist Nick Malmquist. We brewed with a portion of dark crystal malt and roasted barley and aged hops to give a ruby colored ale with low bitterness and a fruity and nutty character from the malt and my British yeast blend. The mash included flaked oats and was conducted at a very high temperature (72°C) in order to yield a relatively difficult to ferment wort with a high finishing gravity after the primary fermentation, the idea being to leave residual sugars for the next stage - a long maturation in Burgundian red wine casks with an infusion of Brettanomyces yeast for the first few months and lactic acid bacteria for the last few. The Brett strain chosen was of the Bruxellensis species and was derived from a bottle of Orval, the famous Trappist beer that develops notes of cherries and a rustic character after several months of bottle conditioning. We thought that the aromas of red fruit from the Pinot Noir casks would blend well with the wild yeast notes and dark malt flavors. 

 

This was my first foray into 'wild' beers and it has been interesting to taste throughout the process with the additional layers of complexity added at each stage before bottling.

Most beers take a few weeks to make - this one required a bit more patience..

Here's a photographic timeline -

 November 2015 - Voyage to Burgundy to visit old friends and 

 November 2015 - Voyage to Burgundy to visit old friends and 

pick up a few casks prevouisly used for Chassagne Montrachet rouge

pick up a few casks prevouisly used for Chassagne Montrachet rouge

Merci à Mr. Yves Rodet 

Merci à Mr. Yves Rodet 

Burgundian vines in the autumn

Burgundian vines in the autumn

20th December 2015 - Anthony Baraff and Nick Malmquist during the brew inspecting some old hops (specifically chosen so as to deter the growth of undesirable bacteria but not inhibit lactic acid bacteria as a result of oxidation a alpha acids)

20th December 2015 - Anthony Baraff and Nick Malmquist during the brew inspecting some old hops (specifically chosen so as to deter the growth of undesirable bacteria but not inhibit lactic acid bacteria as a result of oxidation a alpha acids)

The thimble in place - British innovation at its finest

The thimble in place - British innovation at its finest

Adding a 'thimble' to the fermentation vessel before casting the wort much to Mr. Barraf's amusement

Adding a 'thimble' to the fermentation vessel before casting the wort much to Mr. Barraf's amusement

3 weeks later tasting the resulting beer after fermentation and conditioning.

3 weeks later tasting the resulting beer after fermentation and conditioning.

January 2016 - Anthony acquiring barrel rolling skills

January 2016 - Anthony acquiring barrel rolling skills

Nick rinsing the casks with hot water and checking for leaks..

Nick rinsing the casks with hot water and checking for leaks..

Casks filled in place with the addition of...

Casks filled in place with the addition of...

these funny looking beasties - Orval derived Brettanomyces Bruxellensis yeast isolated and cultured courtesy of Nick Malmquist in a professional lab (during his free time) - thanks Nick!    

these funny looking beasties - Orval derived Brettanomyces Bruxellensis yeast isolated and cultured courtesy of Nick Malmquist in a professional lab (during his free time) - thanks Nick!

 

 

End May - addition of Lactobacillus Brevis bacteria

End May - addition of Lactobacillus Brevis bacteria

November 2016 -  the beer was racked into a tank and bottled with the addition of fresh yeast and sugar. After a further 3 weeks  we could finally taste the carbonated beer.

November 2016 -  the beer was racked into a tank and bottled with the addition of fresh yeast and sugar. After a further 3 weeks  we could finally taste the carbonated beer.

 All that effort is worthy of a classy label!

 All that effort is worthy of a classy label!

The finished beer equates more or less with our initial vision of it -  red berry fruity notes from the Brett and the extraction of  pinot noir character and some subtle oak blend beautifully with the original clean ruby ale. One major difference  - we imagined the gravity drop in the cask would have been much more significant and given in a drier beer - in reality the Brettanomyces struggled to eat much of the very unfermentable liquid it was pitched into; perhaps another strain  would have faired better or maybe the mash temperature employed could have been lower to make the residual sugars slightly more digestible. However despite the difficulty in assimilating the remaining carbohydrates the Brett did manage to impart plenty of classic rustic and fruity character probably as a result of the metabolism of other components of the young beer. The acidity from the bacteria is present but relatively restrained in part due to the contrasting residual sweetness from the malt (the final gravity of the beer is around 3.5°Plato, higher than the 0.5° we anticipated).

Overall we're delighted with the outcome - at 4.8% ABV this is a relatively low alcohol beer full of flavor and subtle nuances. It will be interesting to see how it evolves in the bottle but is ready to drink now fresh so to speak! 

Regarding the name we chose Time and Tide from the expression 'Time and tide wait for no man', the meaning of which is that no man can slow down or prevent the passing of time or the rise and fall of the tide. We thought this was particularly apt for a beer that took this long to make and whose development was relatively difficult to control.

Look out for bottles at the usual specialty beer shops / restaurants / bars. Cheers!