Brettanomyces

Dear Dr. Vinny,

I’ve heard brettanomyces referred to as a “spoilage yeast.” Does that mean it’s dangerous to drink wines with a lot of brett?

—Pam, Covington, La.

Dear Pam,

Brettanomyces is a type of yeast that can sometimes show up in wine and beer, and it can cause some pretty funky aromas (barnyard, leather, sweat) when it runs wild. 

Brett can develop at practically any stage of wine production—it can be on the grapes themselves, it can be hanging out in a winery, and it can hide in the barrels. And at elevated levels it is definitely a wine flaw.

However, some people like a little barnyard funk in their wine and, in small amounts, brett can add complexity. n fact, in the beer world, the development of brettanomyces is even encouraged in some styles, especially sour beers. But you’re right that brettanomyces is often referred to as a “spoilage yeast.” That isn’t because wine that has been tainted by brettanomyces is “spoiled” in the sense that it has gone rotten and unfit for consumption; rather, it is just a reference to the fact that the wine’s potential bright fruit flavors and aromas have been “spoiled” by the musty, funky aromas of brett. But it’s perfectly safe to drink!

—Dr. Vinny

Dear Dr. Vinny,

我听说酒香酵母Brettanomyces是一个「酵母破坏者」,那是不是意味着喝有很多酒香酵母含量的葡萄酒是危险的呢?

—Pam, Covington, La.

Dear Pam,

酒香酵母是酵母的一种类型,通常出现在啤酒和葡萄酒里,当它过分起作用时能给酒体带来诸如马厩、皮革和汗水这些很奇怪的气味。

酒香酵母几乎作用于葡萄酒酿造过程中的各个阶段:在葡萄果实里、游荡在酿酒厂或者隐藏在橡木桶里。如果含量过高,这无疑是一款有缺陷的葡萄酒。

然而,一些人喜欢在他们的葡萄酒里存在一点酒香酵母并可以被闻到。少含量的酒香酵母能增加葡萄酒的复杂性。事实上,在啤酒世界里,有一些风格的啤酒甚至鼓励使用酒香酵母,尤其是酸味啤酒 sour beers。

但正如你说的酒香酵母是一种「酵母破坏者」在实际反应过程中被腐烂和产生不健康的物质,但这并不因为被「破坏」而使葡萄酒受污染;相反,实际上正是在酒香酵母通过发霉的、奇怪的气味的「破坏」作用下,才让葡萄酒拥有了潜在的明亮的果味和各种香气,而且饮用也是绝对安全的!

—Dr. Vinny

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