⍺lpha is an unblended ale aged in oak barrel for one year with Brett, Lacto and Pedio.
The beer has a super savoury and complex nose. More toasty oak aromas intertwining with secondary citrus complexity and oak spice (vanilla). Very engaging as it continually pulls you back to the glass.
The palate strongly reflects the nose. Smooth and textually weighty (glycerol) palate, biscuity and almond mealy (time on lees/yeast autolysis) mid palate. Toasty, marmalade tending to a dry phenolic finish. A very complex and nuanced beer reminiscent of a (oxidative aged) champagne.
When we started Wildflower we were playing around with a number of wild yeast blends in different barrels to better determine which cultures we preferred. The barrels were marked with the Greek alphabet and thus ⍺lpha was the first one of them. The cultures in this barrel contained some strains of brettanomyces, lactobacillus and pediococcus that are not native to NSW, ie they were purchased from a yeast supplier. Due to this, the barrel could not be blended to make Gold or Amber as these beers only contain wild yeast originating in NSW. In addition to our house culture this barrel contains a Belgian style wheat beer yeast, sherry yeast, two Brettanomyces strains, a Lactobacillus culture, and a Pediococcus culture.
We tasted the barrel a few months back and were surprised at the balance an older, singular barrel displayed. It has a significant oak backbone but a distinctive bready, champagne-like yeast flavour and firm but modest acidity. We will be posting full tasting notes later this week before the release.
To be brutally honest, we cant remember too many of the details of making this beer. It is an all malt (Ale) beer and was hopped with noble hops to about 20 IBU. After a clean Belgian strain primary ferment, the beer was racked into barrel on 5 July 2016 then inoculated with the various cultures mentioned above.
It was bottled on July 19 2017 and naturally conditioned through refermentation for 9 weeks. At bottling it was 6.5% ABV, 20 IBU and 0.0°P (FG= 1.000 SG).
Like all our beers, ⍺lpha is best enjoyed when decanted off a settled natural yeast sediment at cellar temperatures (10-12°C).