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06/20/08 08:44 PM  
100% bret beer - many questions
Gday guys

Currently in the middle of a yeast experiment phase of my brewing, in the sense that I am brewing all 12 gallon batches, and splitting them into 2 x 6G fermenters, and pitching a different yeast into each one, to see which yeasts I prefer in certain beer styles. I am interested in doing the same with some bret, maybe 6G each of lambicus and brux (after being inspired by the horse of a different colour story).

I know that Al B's "Silence of the Lambicus" seems to have been well received, but I could not find a recipe, and just need some advice on a grist/hopping. Oh, and yeast building!

1) - I was thinking about 80% pils malt, and 10% each wheat and vienna. Or do you guys recommend a much higher wheat portion?

2) - As far as hopping goes, I was assuming a few things. First, lambics obviously have bugger all bitterness, so my first assumption is that bret isnt so great with high IBU's, so was intending to head around 15IBU. Is that too low/high?

3) - I assume that the bret will take over any hop flavour/aroma, so wasnt intending on adding anything but a bittering charge, but seem to have read that a few of you guys dry hop your bug beers. Will hop flavour/aroma add to the character of the beer, or is it a waste of hops?

4) - My final question is the building up of the yeast. As the Wyeast packages I can get are only small, do you guys put them into say a 4oz starter, then step up to a quart, then maybe 2 quart? Decant off and just pitch the slurry? Or is a gallon starter better served for a pitchable quantity? And obviously I will need a fair bit, as I read that no O2 is the way to go.

5) - And my REAL final question would be - how long can I leave the little blighters in primary for? I am heading to Canada and Europe for 6 weeks (weddings, not beer touring), and was going to leave them to ferment in primary while I am gone. It is winter here in Oz, so the temp will probably not exceed about 68F.

Apologies for all the questions, but thanks in advance for any info you guys can supply. And I have done some reading in the search thingy, just didnt find all the info I was after.

All the best


06/20/08 09:45 PM  
Re: 100% bret beer - many questions
Not sure about brett L, but I put a bunch of hops in my first all-brett beer (C & B) and it tastes like an IPA... those two bretts certainly don't kill hop flavors like lots of normal belgian strains do. Over little time it has gotten slightly orval like and a little more fruity, dare i say funky. Upon first tasting there were no esters or phenols, VERY clean.

I pitched several vials into one 2L starter and it only took a week or so to grow up enough for a 5 gal batch.

I'm forget why people don't aerate - I oxygenated the first three I did and not the fourth, and didn't notice any difference, maybe just a more sluggish ferment. It had no effect on flavor, all were clean beers.

Again, that was a blend of C & B for all of those, so I have no idea if L acts any differently.

Good luck, and as always - let us know how it turns out!

06/22/08 03:55 AM  
Re: 100% bret beer - many questions
Thanks for the reply, BPotts

Sounds like grist is of little importance so I will charge on with my intended one, and I asked about the aeration cause I read the Horse of a different colour story, and there were a few instances where the brewers said they didnt aerate and had quick ferments. Also noted in that story was the fact that aerating can lead to crazy sourness, so I guess I will try it without, and hope I dont get a stuck ferment!

Either way, I will report back with my results.

All the best


06/22/08 08:48 AM  
Re: 100% bret beer - many questions
That's what it was - sourness.....again I'm not sure about brett L but I got NO sourness from my blend, with and without 02.
06/23/08 10:06 AM  
Re: 100% bret beer - many questions
You might want to use less than 6 gallons when you try the brett brux--I know someone who tried a primary with brett brux and it simply did not attenuate much beyond 10-20 points.

Then again there are many many strains out there called "brett brux" (the ones from Wyeast and White Labs being just two), and they are not all the same, so maybe/probably some strains with that name would do just fine. Unfortunately I don't know if this guy had trouble with the Wyeast, White Labs, or some other "brett brux."

06/23/08 10:53 AM  
Re: 100% bret beer - many questions
I oxygenated my starters and got no sourness at all in any of the beers I brewed with Brett CL.
06/23/08 02:22 PM  
Re: 100% bret beer - many questions
I like the 90% pils and 10% wheat sour ales. Temptation-like. I've also done one at 1/3 pils, 1/3 wheat, 1/3 vienna or munich for more complexity.

Hopping I've used anywhere from about 15 -25 IBU so far usually at the beginning through flavor additions. I don't bother with the aroma hopping since that not what I'm striving for.

I'll take anywhere from 3-6 weeks to build a starter from a smack pack before pitching to 5 gallons if I'm do a 100% bug beer.

I wouldn't worry about a 6 week primary with the bugs.

My first 100% bug beer was 90% pils, 10% wheat, 18 IBU, and pitched with a 4 week starter of BrettL and BrettB. It was in primary for a month and then secondary (both glass) for another 2 or 3 months. Then 1 month in a keg at room temp then served from keg. NIce clean citrusy sour. Like lemonade almost.

have fun. petec

06/23/08 05:48 PM  
Re: 100% bret beer - many questions
Thanks for the relpies, guys

I appreciate the heads up on the brux- it will be Wyeast I am using, but interesting to see if I get a stuck ferment. I will let you know how it turns out. Sadly, I havent been able to get my hands on Cl as I dont have a white labs supplier near me.

I will try the same kinda grist as petec, 90% pils, 10% wheat, and head for about 25IBU. I think that aroma additions would cover the yeast profile a bit, and as that is what I am trying to experiment with, I will probably just have my first bug beers with a bittering charge only. Now I just have to hope that my yeast comes in in the next week, as we leave for o/s in 4 weeks! If not, it will just have to be the first beer I make when I get home.

Thanks again, and all the best


02/23/09 09:46 AM  
Re: 100% bret beer - many questions
Thought I would resurrect this topic...

I see most people are going with a very pale or Pilsner type malt. I'm preparing a grist which will get used to test ferment about 6-7 strains of Brett. It's being made as 200 litres then split for small 2 or 5 L batches... So I want to get the first one right. Even though it is for research purposes I still would like it to taste good and be something I can replicate later for production or homebrew purposes.

Since I have the Malts through my university we have Lager malt from crisp of Maris otter pale ale from crisp to use as the base. So I was thinking 95% Lager malt(like using Pilsener?) 3% CaraHell, 2% Vienna. Not sure if I have the Vienna though so maybe just CaraHell. I want the beer to focus on the brett contributed factors but have body. Would Caramunich be to deep in color and flavor?

I don't plan to acidulate the wort at all with Lactobaccilus as I want to observe the Ethyl Lactate, and other esters produced or lack there of that brett produces naturally in a fastish primary fermentation. The second time around I will acidualte and observe the difference in compounds produced as I'll be doing GC analysis on the fermentations.

So the next question is for hops? Everyone seems to be very split on whether they like hops or not. I was thinking just a single bitter hop addition and a 10 minute aroma hop but nothing over powering a slight spicy herbal maybe? Maybe 25 IBU's in total with the grist at 10P or 12P.

Any recommendation how would you tweak this?

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