Wattle Drops is a golden, barrel-aged Australian Wild Ale fermented wholly by wild yeast and bacteria residing on freshly picked Wattle blossoms from 'Carawatha' in Gerringong, NSW. Back when I was working on starting Wildflower, I foraged yeast off many native flowers that I found here in New South Wales, but none of the resulting ferments were as consistent and flavoursome as the beer I made with golden wattle blossoms. You can read a bit more about these early processes here or here if you like. In case you weren't aware, we are called 'Wildflower' because of this origin story... our house culture that we use to ferment all our beers was built using dozens of captures of yeast and bacteria off of native flowers foraged here in NSW. It is this culture that gives our beer its distinctive, unique characteristics and the reason we work so closely with old-world techniques such as blending and barrel-ageing of beer. I could go on about this for a very long time, but if it interests or is new to you, I'd suggest you look through our older blog posts to get some info on what all this means.
So in the middle of last year, when the Wattle was blooming everywhere and the countryside turns a bright yellow in the shoulders of winter... I wanted to reattempt these early captures and once again make a beer wholly using the wild yeast off blossoms. In fact, there was a specific tree on my in-laws old farm which had been very generous to me in those early captures, always producing excellent results. With the knowledge that I wouldn't be able to harvest yeast from this tree in the future, I wanted to give the yeast from this tree one more spin in wort and taste the result.
Wattle drops was made by taking freshly cut wattle blossoms from that tree and dropping them into a sanitised 300 litre variable capacity stainless fermenter (see photo).
We then introduced around 40 litres of a mixture of well hopped worts to the blossoms. After 3 weeks, the wild yeast resident on the flowers fermented down a wort of around 12°P down to 4.4°P with a pH of 4.51. The wort was hopped (a blend of mostly our Gold wort @ 28 IBU and a small bit of The Grifter's Big Sur wort @ ~60 IBU) so this ferment has stayed mostly clean, encouraging growth of wild saccharomyces and hearty brett strains. At this stage, we racked the fermenting beer off the flowers into a larger ~300 litre batch of out Gold wort to continue the fermentation. After another 3 weeks, we filled a barrel with this beer and re-pitched wort back onto the yeast cake in the vessel. Once that second ferment was finished, it was racked to barrel for ageing as well. These two barrels matured in our cellar for 4.5 months before being packaged on 4 December 2019. At bottling the beer was 1.5P and 5.0% ABV.
Upon release Wattle Drops opens with strong melon aromas, earthy spice and grassy tones with a zesty citrus background. The palate shines... more textual and viscous with a lovely creamy soft acidity. Ripe stone fruits, melons and even tropical fruit flavours. Lovely and bright, with a long fragrant finish. Incredibly drinkable.
We packaged just over 450 bottles of Wattle Drops. Half of these bottles will be available for purchase between our cellar door and online store (with a limit of 4 bottles per person), while the other half will be offered to our lovely stockists across Australia you can find here.
Like all our beers, Wattle Drops is best enjoyed when decanted off a settled natural yeast sediment at cellar temperatures (10-12°C).
We really love the bright, primary characteristics we coaxed out of this capture and hope you enjoy the unique flavours of NSW it contains.