Brew Q&A: Fifty Niner

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To celebrate our deep Colorado roots, we’re paying homage to the gold rush of 1859 with the July 11th release of our latest Cellar Series beer, Fifty Niner. This Brett Golden Ale is bottle conditioned with 100 percent Brettanomyces—in fact, we used a wild strain of the yeast grown in our lab—and finished in a stainless fermentor filled with oak staves. The process created an ale that is creamy and robust, with hints of vanilla, almond, graham cracker and subtle fruitiness.

Quality Control Manager Eli Kolodny, along with Lab Technician Tony Rau and a plethora of other Odell Brewing folks, put a lot of passion into this project. He chatted with us about the process, in hopes of helping beer enthusiasts better understand what makes this brew a rush of gold on the palette.

Q: What was the inspiration behind Fifty Niner?

A: One of the Woodcut Series beers was aged with Brettanomyces and we really loved the way it turned out, so we wanted to replicate that. This one is the first beer that we’ve 100 percent bottle conditioned with Brettanomyces.

Q: How does the Brett yeast affect the beer?

A: It takes a lot longer in the bottle than our normal conditioning yeast, and it produces almost all of the aroma compounds that you get. All the fruity characteristics and all the fruity aroma compounds are yeast derived. So it’s a defining characteristic of the beer. A lot of our other bottle conditioned beer is just [bottle conditioned] to provide bubbles. This is more about the character of the yeast.

Q: What other unique ingredients did you enjoy working with while brewing Fifty Niner? How did they change the brewing process?

A: We used Belgian Candi sugar and light- and medium-toast oak staves. If you’re a chef, and all you’ve been cooking with is vegetables, but then you throw chicken in there, it’s another whole level of complexity you can develop characteristics with. It’s a completely different color palette.

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Want to learn more about your favorite Odell beer? E-mail us a Brew Q & A request!

Categories: Brewing, Cellar Series