Hello from the west country

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Active Member
Aug 5, 2023
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Bristol, UK
I've been a forager of sorts pretty much my entire life, I grew up with my dad making nettle wine and apple wine and other similar country wines, along with beer kits. This is where I started my fermenting journey, oak leaf wine remains my best and I'm looking to innovate next year with dry hopping. I'm really into mixed, wild and spontaneous fermentation. A little tartness is fun but I'm not a sour-head in that regard, but I also intend to brew using commercial cultures but with foraged fruits, flowers and foliage for unique flavours and aromas. I'm also looking to innovate on English ales to produce a new "farmhouse" tradition with high wheat content and less conventional malts and traditional hops, by isolating regular Saccharomyces strains from the wild cultures I develop from foraged products. Looking forward to talking about both these things. I'm also training to be a brewer with a local brewery, about halfway through my course.

Today is a brew day and I'm going to split a wheaty golden ale, one for a wild culture in a demijohn to be left for a few months* and another as a general ale which I'm going to try hopping with a combination of Nelson Sauvin and Fuggle. My intention is to bring out the hay-grass character of Fuggle but lift it with the tart fruitiness of the NS to produce the aroma of sweet drying hay out in the field you might drive past on a summer's afternoon. I'm unsure yet whether to go 50:50 or balance one over the other. Well, if it doesn't work out perfectly, I'll just do it again differently!

*I don't know its true final gravity, but one of the yeasts present ate up a test wort to a final gravity of 1.010 for a respectable 4.5%, but I believe there may be some Brett creating a little funk and this Brett may continue to ferment for months to come. What's particularly interesting is that it appears to kick off a little iso-amylacetate (banana/pear) so there might be a good wheat beer yeast strain in there!