Brewer’s Note: Hopscursion- Batch #2

For Uinta, the Hopscursion series represents a new adventure in fermentation. We use Brettanomyces — or “Brett” — yeast and a rotating hop bill to ferment a punchy American-style IPA, ending up with a beer that’s full of mango, pineapple, and guava notes. We use a substantial amount of wheat and oats in our recipe to help give the beer body and a silkiness that tempers the nearly 90 IBUs we squeeze into it.

Fermenting with Brett is a tricky situation and we take extreme caution to avoid contamination in our brewery. Each fermenter is flagged with red gaskets that are only used in our wild beer fermentations, we even go as far as using a whole separate set of hoses and pumps. Because Brett yeasts are so flavor active, even a small contamination can cause significant flavor changes in “clean” beers fermented in the cellar. After our cleaning cycle fermenters are put under quarantine until we verify a “clean bill of health” by using PCR techniques to test for Brett yeast DNA.

We find that blending a few different Brett yeast strains during primary fermentation allows us to ferment quickly, while still getting a beer with “normal” Brett aromatics. We pitch plenty of yeast at the beginning of fermentation and usually end up with a finished product in 17–20 days. The two strains we use are different animals — they really are greater than the sum of their parts. One strain provides depth of flavor with big peachy flavors when fermented warm, while the other goes totally tropical and provides nice aromatics — quickly.

The Hopscursion series is an exciting excursion (see what we did there?) here at the brewery, and we have plans to make each one unique. We hope you enjoy batch #2 — the Cascade, Denali, Mosaic and Simcoe hops really come together harmoniously.

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