Since I've delved head first into the funk lately, I figured it was a good time for a pretty crazy brew. Ryan (or ryane for BA readers) and I bounced back some ideas about this and he is brewing his own twist. The idea initially came to me following the Brett stout and what to do with the leftover Brett Lambicus. According to Wyeast description, this strain should produce a cherry pie like flavor/aroma versus the classic horsey, barnyard notes you get from other strains. Since the stout was an easy partner for cherry pie, I started to cull together other flavors that would pair with cherries.
An easy choice would be to make a cherry wheat, but that's been done. I decided on red wine, vanilla and oak. A pale wheat base for the recipe, modestly hopped, and adding vanilla beans throughout. Most people would be aghast in how many beans I use, but since I work in a restaurant, I have a ready supply of them (Tahitian in fact). I plan to use Hungarian oak (1-3oz), 375mL of red wine (haven't chosen variety), and 1-2 scraped vanilla beans in secondary.
American Two-row Pale
American Soft White Wheat
04/09/09: Brewed on a nice sunny morning. Made a 2L starter from part of the dregs of the Brett stout. Activity took 24 hours, so no time to crash and decant. Used 1 vanilla bean in the mash, and two at flameout, but scraped.
04/10/09: Fermentation looks nearly done (no gravity taken). Only a small, 2 inch krausen formed and settled in in about two days. Waiting to see if a pellicle will form like in the stout.
04/17/09: Pulled first sample. Only down to about 1.030. Looks like I did not pitch enough yeast as I expected. Flavor is pretty solid though. Very mild Brett character but a really nice vanilla background. I'm excited for this brew and will leave it in primary for at least a couple more weeks.
04/22/09: Definite pellicle formed on top. This one is more fuzzy white than with the stout. I'll leave it in primary another week or so to hopefully come down some more in gravity.
05/02/09: Gravity down to 1.012 so I'll rack today and add 1oz Hungarian Oak cubes, 12oz of Beaujelais Villages, and 2 scraped vanilla beans. Flavor was a bit lacking and I think some acid could help it. Hopefully the wine will round out the flavor.
8/12/09: Finally got around to bottling this thing. To ramp up and freshen the flavors, I added one scraped vanilla bean to my priming sugar solution (aiming for 2.5 vol) and 8oz of Cote de Rhone. Looking forward to how this develops.