Epic Brewing Co – Elder Brett

When I was coming out of Stout month, I tried to buy up a bunch of different types of beers I had never had before that weren’t stouts.  While I wanted to see stout month through to completion, I was really tired of drinking things that were really heavy and dark.  I wanted things that were light and slightly easier to drink.  Conveniently, at the same time I was going through these feelings, I started to see a bunch of different lighter specialty beers showing up.  I had to phone in two of them at my local beer store to make sure they didn’t run out of them.  This is a fairly typical practice for me, but I had recently only been doing it with things aged in barrels or called stouts.  So this was a little bit different.

This is the third beer out of Epic I’ve review in the past year of reviewing.  Let’s not forget this is being considered anniversary week.  Anyway, I have had two really good experiences out of Epic thus far.  Epic is a little bit of a scary brewery to me.  They do so many different styles of beer, I really fear I would find too many beers that would ruin the good beers I’ve had out of them already. I really liked the collaboration they did with DC Brau; however, I thought it was slightly lacking on the actual pumpkin taste.  Big Bad Baptist was a really good imperial stout they came out with that I was more than happy I found when I did.  Even though I had never heard of Elder Brett, I was really excited to see if it was good.

This is actually another collaboration brew form Epic brewery.  You can barely tell from the bottle, but it is in collaboration with Crooked Stave Brewing out of Colorado.  I’m not going to pretend to know anything about Crooked Stave, but I knew the name Brett had to come from somewhere.  The Brett term come from a term known as Brettanomyces.  This term actually refers to the form of yeast that is used in the brewing.  It is essentially a wild form of yeast.  Interestingly, my research says that it is used in most brewing that is considered off types of brewing.  Thus it tends to end up in a lot of sour beers.  This, however, is not always true.  I wouldn’t consider this Epic libation sour at all.  It also states that it is sometimes used in Belgian beers; therefore, I’m not certain if I have had it before; however, I was excited to give it a try for sure.

I’ve told everyone how scared I am when a beer pours out a really pale yellow color, and this one scared me for that very reason.  It isn’t that I’ve never liked a beer that poured that color, but I immediately have my doubts when I see a pale hue like this.  I definitely let my opinions sway my emotions with beer in some aspects.  There is a very light white fluffy head that develops on top of the beer as well.  Some really slight carbonation is visible in the glass, and it is really clear in the clarity category as well.  There is also some light lacing and sticky residue that builds on the glass as well.

The smell that comes out the most on the nose is the strong slightly spicy yeast scent.  It isn’t quite as spicy as I’m really used to in Belgian beers, but you can get that slightly clove spice coming out on the nose.  There seems to be a lot of citrus and banana in here as well.  I’m always really torn with banana flavors in beer.  I hate bananas in general, so I’m really not a big fan of the flavor in anything.  If a brewer uses it right, I can get behind it despite my personal tastes.  Thus, I was a little worried to pull this scent out of here.  I get a lot of herbal and floral scents in here as well.

This beer has a lot of light maltiness at the start of the flavors.  It’s handled with a really light hand.  Personally I would have enjoyed a bit of a darker malt here.  There are a lot of herbal and floral notes that aren’t really related to hops in any way following the light malts.  I’m not certain I’ve ever had a beer that was so herbal before.  It’s like they used rosemary and thyme in here.  The yeast follows and adds some nice depth to the beer; however, this really isn’t my favorite yeast ever.  I like a little more spice in my yeast.  The yeast is followed by big banana and citrus.  The banana is far too overpowering for me.  Unfortunately the herbs and floral notes come back for a kind of lackluster ending.

This beer is really highly carbonated at the start of the tasting, and the yeast keeps the crispness of the mouthfeel up.  There is some slight syrup on the end of the beer, but it really doesn’t do enough to make the beer better for me.  The aftertaste has far too much banana and herbs for my taste.

I was really looking forward to getting this beer open.  I have enjoyed everything else I’ve had out of Epic, so I had really high hopes for it.  Unfortunately it just didn’t meet those expectations.  I have a feeling this may not be the type of beer for me.  It says that it is a saison, which I’m fine with, but I’m not a big fan of the yeast, banana, or herbal flavors.  I would be interested in seeing if I can find a beer that uses Brett in a different way.  Maybe I just haven’t had this yeast in the right type of beer yet.  I would probably recommend staying away from this release from Epic and checking out a few of their other brews because they definitely make some really good other beers.

Teacher Grade: D


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