07 May 2012

Hanging out with the Dream King

Ladies and gentlemen, meet Morpheus. Morpheus is the house yeast of the Alvinne brewery in Heule, West Flanders. According to their website it's a semi-tame blend of wild yeast and lactobacillus, and they seem inordinately proud of the bugger since lots of their bottles bear the "Morpheus yeast inside" badge. I have a few of them knocking around the collection, and decided on Columbus as the first to open. Hop freshness and all that.

Morpheus did not endear itself to me from the outset: bucketloads of foam gushed from the bottle and pouring became a two-glass job with beer refusing to stay in the bottle for more than a couple of seconds before making another bid for the neck. The stirred-up lees meant each glass turned out a different colour of hazy orange.

7.1% ABV and 136 IBUs says the stats. There's a touch of sherbet in with the sharp yeast in the aroma but the flavour is all about funk: a real down and dirty wild yeast barnyard taste, tempered only slightly by the citric hops. I'm reminded a lot of fresh Orval. It's the same sort of uncompromised tangy sourness, though with a little less balance, and more of an accidentally-tasted-perfume intensity.

I expected more from this. I hoped for more of an American hop character. As-is it's a bit of an awkward, messy, difficult beer, and not really for me. Nevertheless, more from Morpheus in due course. I'll be ready with the buckets next time.

11 comments:

  1. Yes, it's a bit of a bugger that yeast they use, isn't it? I've had so many Alvinnne gushers now that it's putting me off buying any more of their beers.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Where did you acquire them? Never seen any in UK.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pretty much all the Belgian stuff on here these days comes from Délices et Caprices in Brussels.

      Delete
  3. Interesting -- never seen yeast given a "Starring" credit in quite that fashion on a bottle of beer before. Cultivating a custom yeast is a very cool thing to do... if it's a good yeast.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's certainly an interesting yeast. But they can cross off "American IPA" from their list of styles it works with.

      Delete
  4. Bottle conditioned I assume? If it's with said yeast, you could always cultivate a little and see if you can do any better at home.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's certainly my interpretation of "Morpheus yeast inside" on the label. I'll stick with my sachets of US-05, thanks.

      Delete
  5. Remember that those bottles are more than two years old now!
    Cultivating the yeast from the bottles won't work: Morpheus is used for the primary fermentation. The beer is seeded partly with other yeast for the secondary fermentation in the bottle.
    You should try the newer generation of Alvinne beers. The Morpheus yeast is excellent in the old Flemish Brown Ale Morpheus Wild, giving the lactobacillus free range, and has proven to be wonderfully alcohol tolerant: Land of Mortagne is a quadrupel of 14 % ABV (there is also a oak aged variety of this beer, Cuvée de Mortagne which has matured 5 months on Pomperol barrels). Morpheus yeast also works wonders in the beers with a lower alcohol content (Naked Ladies - a permanent collaboration brew with Twickenham Fine Ales, or Freaky at 3,8% ABV). Their dark beers (Morpheus Dark or Mano Negra imperial stout, both at 10% ABV) also work well with the Morpheus.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I have completely written Alvinne off of my buy list. Spending that much for infected beer is a waste of funds. Before they put the Morpheus tag on their labels I was getting the same infected action, and taste. I think putting that moniker on the label is a way to save face. There are a couple beers I have enjoyed from them, but it is a gamble I am not willing to take anymore. I thought I was the only one losing so much of their beer upon opening it, glad to see there is at least one other person out there with the same experience.

    ReplyDelete
  7. KeeganAles3:37 p.m.

    I was sipping Freaky Dark at Craft Beer Co. within hours of your posting this, TBN; we must have been funk brothers that day.
    For the record, it's a strange collision between dark mild and Belgian dark ale; not offensive, but doesn't have much power to be at its strength.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've a bottle of Freaky Dark at the back of the fridge. S'ppose I'd better open it at some point. *resigned sigh*

      Delete