Disco Pig #1: Brown Brett Braggot (Black Hog Brewing Company)

Style: Mixed Fermentation Braggot

6.0% ABV

IBU’s: 18

Other: 200 lbs. Honey

Yeasts: Belgian Saison, Brettanomyces

Bottled On 08/17/14

From: Oxford, CT

Brewery’s Note: “This beer started its life as a brown ale that just wanted to be a bit more. Our farmer Rally, who picks up spent grains also happens to have a pretty thriving bee business. He transports his hives from state to state pollinating large crops for farms as far south as Georgia peach orchards and up north to Maine for Blueberry fields. Having just returned from a blueberry pollination in Maine and looking to sell off some of his honey we jumped on close to 200 lbs of this liquid gold and added it to the brown ale during secondary fermentation. Also added to the Disco funk tank was a blend of yeast, one a Belgian Saison Yeast and the other, our buddy Brettanomyces (aka Brett). This wild yeast strain adds that slight Belgian Funk to our tank and get’s the disco party started./ Tasting Notes: The Brown Brett Braggot pours a medium-light mahogany brown with the traditional Brett wild yeast nose. Hints of malt sweetness mixes with touches of honey on the first sip. The light carbonation lets the hint of honey hang on the palette as long as possible before the dry finish takes over. Great beer to age and let the Brett really develop.”

The beer pours a deep ruby and sits in the glass the color of mahogany or cherry wood. It’s deep and dark, but with a nice brown/red tinge to it. A small head of creamy white bubbles forms above the glass; soapy, and large, and the lacing leaves a soapy, small wall of widespread bubbles when it leaves. The body of the beer is clean, but with slight particles floating, and some minor haze. On the nose, the beer smells of perfume, caramel malts, and dark chocolate. There is a sticky caramel touch and a touch of mango which seems to be the precursor of tropical fruit bretta funk. There is also a gentle, stale roastiness, a touch of plums and sweet cherries, red apple, and a faint touch of phenolic smoke. In terms of honey and braggot character, there is just the faintest turn at the end of the sniff, which suggests fully fermented honey, and perhaps a turn in the sticky caramel, though I don’t think I would point these out unless I knew this was a braggot. On the tongue, the beer tastes stale and watery. There is some bitter, generic spice and herbs, a touch of woody bitters, and a suggestion of dark fruit acidity, which turns into a thin, watery sweetness with caramel and red fruit. The finish carries a little bit of nail polish remover, bitter medicine, a touch of bitter roast, and some cherry cola. The aftertaste is reminiscent of cherry coke from a soda fountain when they are running low on the drink mixture. The flavor and taste are a real let down. In the mouth, the beer feels weak and watery. It’s thin, with a middling carb that crackles crisply on the tongue, but the beer carries none of the weight you expect in a braggot, and the brett seems to have chomped through all the body, leaving the beer thin and a bit lifeless. When the beer leaves, there is a moist wetting atop the tongue while a medicinal astringency puts a slight pucker in the mouth. Overall, the beer is a real let down. It carries none of the girth, finesse, nor sultriness that I expect in a braggot. It’s completely crushable, but I count that against the beer given the style. I’m curious to see how the middle beers in the Disco Pig series came out, as the Lime Maguey seems lightyears ahead of this in terms of brett integration and utilization. I suppose it is good to see that Black Hog is definitely improving their funky beers, but I was really hoping for a nice, chewy, brett-accented braggot, and this beer delivered none of that. The brett is weak, the body is thin and watery, and only the nose carries complexity and interest. This one is a miss for Black Hog.


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