Originally isolated by Niels Claussen in 1904, the name Brettanomyces (British fungus) was chosen as it was responsible "that peculiar and remarkably fine flavour" found in English stock ales. Nowadays it's most often associated with Belgian lambic beers hence the decidedly unbritish species names like B. bruxellensis and B. lambicus.
I resolved to bring Brettanomyces back to Britain and brew a beer inspired by Colne Spring Ale. I was able to get hold of a culture of Brettanomyces claussenii which was originally isolated from an English stock ale in 1910. Over on Ron's blog there are a few bits of information on Colnes Spring Ale which I used to help me design a beer.
I was a bit worried about using the Brett though so I tried to find out more about it. Much to my disappointment I found there's surprisingly little information out there. The best source I could find came from a bloke who went to Heriot-Watt the year after me. He did a project brewing Brett only beers and reported his results in a useful powerpoint presentation and a detailed blog.
I decided to add the Brettanomcyes to my beer after the primary fermentation was finished, and I then let the Brett fermentation continue until it seemed to have ended a month later. After that I bottled the beer with a small amount of priming sugar and after another month it was lightly carbonated.
The taste was quite unusual. There's obvious alcohol, and some sweetness is still there but somehow it seems dry too, almost sherry like but with a hint of that 'funky' Brett flavour.
I've since found there are actually some tasting notes for the original on Rate Beer describing a taste like port so it seems my beer isn't a million miles away from what I was aiming for.
More exciting beer brewed with Brettanomyces blogging to follow...