Recently Brewery Ommegang released a new beer called Ommegang Wild At Heart, which is an American Wild Ale with 8% Alcohol By Volume (ABV). Wild At Heart is fermented purely with brettanomyces, and I have been looking into brewing up a batch of something similar, so I will be interested to see how this beer has turned out.
Ommegang Wild At Heart is a hazy, amber colored beer, sporting a fairly large off-white head which crackles away over the course of a couple of minutes. A layer of lacing remains behind after each sip.
The nose has a bit of funk, with fruity notes both tropical and lemony.
The malt sweetness is minimal, a bit of pale providing a foundation, with the brett providing most of the flavor, lightly tart with lemon, mango and tropical accents. The mouth is quite active with a dry finish.
To quote Wild Brews by Jeff Sparrow, “Brettanomyces are superattenuating yeasts. They will continue to slowly consumer sugars – even dextrins that are unfermentable to Saccharomyces [brewer's yeast] - for many years.” Thus, the sour taste that beer drinkers associate with beers brewed with it takes quite a while to develop.
There is a bit of sourness and funk in Ommegang Wild At Heart, so I wish I knew when it was brewed so as to know how long it takes to develop. That said, if you go into this thinking that you will have a really sour beer like Russian River Supplication, for instance, you will be a bit let down. The bottle does state “for enhanced tartness, simply let the beer age.”
I never reviewed Sierra Nevada/Russian River’s Brux, because I shared a bottle that a friend bought and didn’t consider it worth the price, due to the fact that they released it with the expectation that the consumer would do the necessary aging to allow the wild characteristic to develop.
I feel that Brewery Ommegang aged Wild At Heart enough to at least allow some tartness to develop, but as Wild Ales continue to gain in popularity, breweries are going to have to decide whether to age them as traditional Belgian breweries have done, or release them to a public which is largely unaware of the fermentation process using wild yeast and lactic acid producing bacteria.
That’s about all I will say on that matter now, although I might take it up again in a longer article in the future. Fornow I would recommend checking out Ommegang Wild At Heart, and drinking one bottle now and saving another one for two years to get a good look at how brettanomyces transforms a beer over time.
Ommegang Wild At Heart : B+
Ommegang Wild At Heart Specs
Hops: Topaz, Motueka
Beer Reviews by Prof Sudz