The Brew Site

Deschutes has Brett in some beer

Two days ago Deschutes Brewery posted a very interesting item on their blog, which I’m excerpting (the full post is worth a read, so go do that too):

But, we also had the Black Butte XXII issue and we have had recurring comments about sour 2009 The Abyss. Now, we have similar comments about 2009 Mirror Mirror. We have been very forthright and outspoken about 2009 The Abyss and we are here to report we, basically, have the same issue with 2009 Mirror Mirror. Gary clarified the issue on Ratebeer.com recently:

We have detected in our lab a similar condition to The Abyss 2009 where some (not all) of the bottles have brett in them. It is interesting in that there seems no way to tell short of general tendencies in storage conditions where the brett will develop to sensory detection levels.

At Deschutes Brewery we take these things seriously. We know many of the wine barrels we use will have brettanomyces (wild yeast that produces flavors that are not desired in some beer styles) in them (just ask any winemaker). Going forward, we have purchased a flash pasteurizer and all beer from barrels is now pasteurized (killing the brettanomyces) before it is blended with beer from tanks (that is not pasteurized). Then the final blend is bottle conditioned so all beer is alive when you get it. 2010 The Abyss was treated this way.

As for the Mirror Mirror or 2009 The Abyss, we will refund and arrange shipment for unopened bottles back to the brewery. As with any of our beers if someone has an unsatisfactory experience, we will make it right. Unfortunately, we cannot compensate for above market pricing paid over the internet or other “extra-market” sources, nor can we send a replacement beer in lieu of payment. Suffice it to say, however, we stand behind our beer and the experiences we deliver. You can contact us directly through our website.

If you frequent the BeerAdvocate or RateBeer forums, or other similar beer forums, you’ll likely have seen talk about this very issue: (some) 2009 vintages of The Abyss are infected. I’ve known this to be an issue for awhile as I opened up a bottle of 2009 Mirror Mirror a couple of months ago and the unmistakable spike of Brettanomyces was in the beer. Subsequent bottles of Mirror Mirror also had Brett in them, and I did try a bottle or two of ’09 Abyss and yes, it’s less of a “spike” (because of the over stout flavor profile) but it’s there.

Now, I happened to really like the Brett Mirror Mirror and I didn’t think the Abyss was that bad—certainly drier than it should have been but that’s the wild yeast at work. Since personally I don’t mind this as a potential issue in my other bottles I’m not going to ask for any refunds. But I have to give props to the Brewery for stepping up and offering those refunds in the first place, rather than trying to sweep it all under the rug. That’s definitely one of the qualities (besides the beer) than make Deschutes a great brewery, in my opinion.

Has anyone else experienced any Brett-infected Deschutes beers? Sound off in the comments.

But, we also had the Black Butte XXII issue and we have had recurring comments about sour 2009 The Abyss. Now, we have similar comments about 2009 Mirror Mirror. We have been very forthright and outspoken about 2009 The Abyss and we are here to report we, basically, have the same issue with 2009 Mirror Mirror. Gary clarified the issue on Ratebeer.com recently:

We have detected in our lab a similar condition to The Abyss 2009 where some (not all) of the bottles have brett in them. It is interesting in that there seems no way to tell short of general tendencies in storage conditions where the brett will develop to sensory detection levels.

At Deschutes Brewery we take these things seriously. We know many of the wine barrels we use will have brettanomyces (wild yeast that produces flavors that are not desired in some beer styles) in them (just ask any winemaker). Going forward, we have purchased a flash pasteurizer and all beer from barrels is now pasteurized (killing the brettanomyces) before it is blended with beer from tanks (that is not pasteurized). Then the final blend is bottle conditioned so all beer is alive when you get it. 2010 The Abyss was treated this way.

As for the Mirror Mirror or 2009 The Abyss, we will refund and arrange shipment for unopened bottles back to the brewery. As with any of our beers if someone has an unsatisfactory experience, we will make it right. Unfortunately, we cannot compensate for above market pricing paid over the internet or other “extra-market” sources, nor can we send a replacement beer in lieu of payment. Suffice it to say, however, we stand behind our beer and the experiences we deliver. You can contact us directly through our website.