Off Color Brewing Wildlings 250ml
Native yeasts harvested from blueberry skins yield an aromatic cloudburst of summer blueberries, concord grapes and strawberry blossoms interlaced with supple oak and a delicate note of violets from the long rest in handmade foedres we pulled out of a winery in the northern Italy region of Piedmont where they held Barolo for 15 years. Won a gold metal at FOBAB in 2018
In 2013, our illustrator, Nikki, and John went up to Michigan to visit Virtue Cider when Ryan Burk was working there. On the way back, we stopped at Earls Blueberry Farm in Fennville, MI and picked some berries. When we got back, we cultured the white, powdery yeast off the blueberry skins and it's been the heart of much of our mix culture ever since. This melange of native yeasts, by themselves are super aromatic and smells explosively of blueberry juice which is pretty unusual. Yeast harvested from raspberries doesn't smell like raspberries. It just happens these ones are pretty special! However, in and of itself, this native culture doesn't ferment very well and has a difficult time processing the large amount of fermentable sugars in even moderate gravity wort. In order to help it along, years ago we introduced some lab grown Brettanomyces and as well as both saison and Belgian Sacchromyces strains. These two ale strains get the fermentation starting quickly and perform much of the alcoholic fermentation. They both ferment pretty dry, but not dry enough to allow us to package the beer immediately without risk of bottles blowing up. The much slower fermenting bretst and our native, blueberry yeasts work over a much longer time period consuming the rest of the more complex sugars, contributing deep, funky flavors and aromas as well as our native culture's blueberry character The mix culture has stabilized over time, so we are now able to simply reharvest yeast from previous batches which is much easier and more consistent than having to reblend all the different parts each time.
We since have also isolated some of the native yeasts in this blend and have had them genetically sequenced. Isolating them is useful, as we are able to better understand what is doing what and we've developed two pure strain, natively harvested yeasts that we have banked at a yeast lab. One, which we use in Critters, gives us a bunch of floral character while the other is more reminiscent of a peppery Belgian ale yeast. Not dissimilar to beers such as Corsendonk. The genetic sequencing we had done just because it was cool and someone else was paying for it.