It's been a little while since I've said anything about my attempt at a sour cranberry ale with Brett. Well, this beer has been quietly sitting on the cranberries and the Brett for several months now and had developed a nice pellicle on and around the floating raft of cranberries. Much of the pellicle has actually fallen away by now and I figured it was time to get the beer off the fruit and into a tertiary vessel. So, I racked it into a 3-gallon glass carboy and added 0.5 ounces of medium toast Hungarian oak cubes that had been soaking in some Deep Purple zinfandel (BTW, this is a spectacular wine).
The beer is a a hazy pink with some nice sour and Brett aromas. The taste is actually quite mild, but not too mild - I definitely taste the cranberries and the Brett character. I'm assuming the Brett character will increase a bit more as it ages. I'm excited about this beer - I think it just might turn out really good, despite all the crazy things I'm trying with it (e.g. 14% acidulated malt, primary fermentation with a wine yeast, cranberries, Brett, wine-soaked oak cubes). However, the one thing that is concerning me is that the gravity is only down to 1.018-1.020 (I think my hydrometer is reading a little high, thus the range). I really expected this thing to be much lower by now. It still tastes great - much drier than I would expect given a 1.020 gravity. Everything I've read and heard seems to indicate that Brett pretty much eats through anything. This is precisely the reason I mashed high (~160°F) and used a wine yeast - to leave some residual compounds for the Brett to metabolize. I'm not sure why the gravity is still as high as it is. I've posted about this over at the Burgundian Babble Belt homebrew forum and the only thing that seems to have any consensus might be that the Brettanomyces claussenii isn't a particularly strong attenuator.
So, for now, my plan is to let it sit in the tertiary vessel for a month or so and see where it goes. I'm hoping to be able to bottle by the end of August so that it has a few months in the bottle before Thanksgiving. Not sure yet what my bottling plan is - I'd like it to highly carbonated, so ideally I'd like to cork and cage with 750 ml champagne bottles, but I'm not really set up for that and I'm not sure I should splurge for the equipment for just this beer (though if it turns out well, there will certainly be similar beers to brew in the future). In any case, I have some time to think about this.