In the wandering, flowing timeline of moving back to Illinois, the city, and what we were going to make of our life, I bumped across styles once again. It floated into my mind that I’d add brett to a style in which I’d never personally had (narley even a bad example). There was a low hum and talk of favoring one recipe over any other, on a forum I haunt and I made plans – came to find out the guy has quite the reputation on his recipe. I’m a real butt and of course can’t brew anything to the slated recipe, and as such I of course had to take liberties. Mine added dashes of rye, added oak, brett, different yeast, and slightly altered malts. My fault also may have been not taking notes through the year and half process, but again here we are. A bottle was also shipped to a close homebrew-nerd long-distance friend B Hall, who will have his own review.
I should say after bottling I felt as though it changed so much from where I wanted, I nearly abandoned all hope. My plan was to allow the bottles to mature for sometime in a desperate attempt to save a beer from the brink. The brink approached like an abandoned house fire, you’ve just got to watch it degrade into something.
the nose: in this bottle it was hard, and nearly impossible to miss: grape runts. As if someone had taken a bottle of water and a package of runts and thought it’d make great babies. There was also acid and low funk – like fleeting wafts mixed with of lots of very “dark cherry.” After an hour or more, it started warming up to “spicy medicine,” a boozy version of what we took as kids.
the palate: As it hits, it’s oak and a “buttery” sort of slick texture. Brett/cherry funk play up more and not the grape. It’s quite, quite dry for something that held a high starting gravity. It’s low “slickness” makes for an interesting drink, and a lot of the complexity in mid/late palate. Mild oak/vanilla with roast is the far back palate. Meandering splashes of coffee feels like your chasing tastes. There is a light “grape” taste and malt is nonexistent – thanks to the brett. My thoughts on how it came to be is this: oak, dark malts, brett all dry out, fruit up and mix to create this flavor. It’s not ‘bad’ but it can be ‘off’.
The result: 7.5/10 – still a favorite, even though in many ways it’s lost a lot about what I initially loved about it. Lis still loves it, Travis still loves it. B Hall’s wife seemingly liked it. It’s not bad, just marred.
Dekkra on Plums
the nose: “the grape runt” flavor is still there but is much more subtle. This version is analogous to macerated plums. It’s got smells less acidic, even quite sweet, like a bag of candied plums. There is also an interesting floral note floating around in there.
the palate: much more tart, and residual sweetness – both do so well it makes my mouth water. The roast is nearly non-existent/faded; oddly enough it’s much cleaner, less complex. Really nice to drink. No oak, MAYBE vanilla, and more carbonation. The acidity and plum push out A LOT of the “grape” – or maybe the plum compliments the profile? It’s got a very lightly roasted coffee flavor hidden deep in the aftertaste. Sipping makes it almost candy-like, but no over-sweetened. This version is seemingly better and more “rounded.”
the result: 8.5/10 – easily something I’d bring out for a friend’s visit or as a treat to myself along a year. I’ll be going through these much more slowly. I’d like to see how the plums, and flavors age together.
the takeaway: No brett. Yes plums. No oak. Yes age. No bulk aging. Yes high gravity. No rye. I think I have a soft spot for this beer. I love it even though I can’t really figure out why. It sounds insane, but I’m not alone on it. So it’s not a Quad – at all. Okay so I don’t know shit about style. That may be obvious by now – and maybe that is part of my problem. I tried to make this beer a handful of things instead of what it was supposed to be: a great quad that had gusto. I grew out it’s hair, let it stay out late and didn’t treat it right. But that doesn’t mean I don’t love it any less. I will, for sure, be brewing this again; about a month or so before plum season and adding a decent helping of plums. The dark malty belgian flavors played so well with plum that I’m hooked. If I were to wager, I’d guess I’d make a split batch with half being just the base. My problem isn’t keeping the grain bill simple, it’s keeping everything after simple and the Dekkra series one was a perfect example of that. This time it’ll be ready for fall when that time comes – a brew calendar and the beer doc are working in conjunction to make a happy 2015.