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08/11/08 05:10 PM  
My first brett beer
I'm planning to brew a 100% brett beer next month using cultivated dregs from a RR sanctification bottle. I've been doing research but wanted to get some feedback from the experts here at the BBB...or at least share a potential brew that I'm excited about. I'm looking for a mid-range brett beer--not too too funky to start, but enough to be fairly evident, if you know what I mean.

Here is my gameplan:

Pitch the slurry on a gallon of 1.040 wort this weekend. Let the brett build a high cell count for a month or so. Brew a saison using roughly 60% pils, 12% wheat, 26% vienna, and 2% amber malt. Mash at 147. Hop to about 37 IBUs using mostly East Kent Goldings. My OG target will be 1.062 with an expected FG of 1.010 to yeild 6.8% abv. I'll probably toss in .33 oz. of grains of paradise and/or .33 oz. of coriander. I'm thinking that the beer could go a few days in the warmer September outdoor air (70-78 F) to kick of fermentation and let the brett get the gravity 75% down. I'd then move it into the indoor a/c of around 62-70 F. I'd let it sit there for about 6 months to develop some horsey and/or sour/lactic notes. Bottle in January and start cracking open in the spring and summer for some really refreshing stuff. Thoughts, critiques?

mark mott
08/11/08 05:21 PM  
Re: My first brett beer
I am no expert but I recently did an all brett saison. I brewed a high gravity one that started at 1.080. I pitched a vail of white labs brett L (half a gallon starter) and let it do it's thing. The brett started fairly quick and was bubbling away after about 24 hours. The aroma out of the airlock at that time was interesting to say the least. It did it's thing and was starting to clear when all of a sudden about 3 weeks in and nothing happening for a week or two, it started fermenting vigorously. It looked like a typical fermentation with lot's of activity and swirling wort and yeast. It fermented this way for another week and then has been pretty quite. I racked after 5 weeks and taook a gravity and taste. The gravity had dropped from 1.080 to 1.016 and the taste was not at all what I expected. It tasted like a saison with no brett character at all. Once racked it has shown no signes of activity minus a burp now and again. It is starting to clear again and the top 3 inches or so look nice and clear while the remaining is still cloudy. I plan to let it sit for a few more months before I go messing with it again.

I did a a saison recipe out of the latest Zymurgy which ad corriander, orange peel and pepper in it. All of those qualities were still there when I racked over.

08/11/08 05:26 PM  
Re: My first brett beer
From what I've read, 100% brett beers will stay neutral if treated like sacchro yeast (fermented warm and quickly). I'm no expert either, but I'll bet if you put it in a cool area (below 70 F) and let it sit for a few months, that last bit of "unfermentable" sugar will get eaten by the brett and it will start to display its character. That is what I'm hoping will happen in my beer.
08/12/08 11:38 AM  
Re: My first brett beer
".33 oz grains of paradise"

That's way too much unless you like an intense pepper flavor in your finished beer. I recommend no more than 2 grams (crushed with mortor and pestle) thrown in the last 10 minutes of the boil for a 10 gallon batch.

If you want brett to develop horsey and sour notes then don't use it as a primary fermenter. Ferment with normal sacc and add the brett to the secondary. Brett used as a primary fermenter will make a clean but slightly drier end product.

01/09/09 11:54 AM  
Re: My first brett beer
Well, we bottled this puppy last night. The OG was lower than anticipated at 1.050 and the final gravity was 1.010. I think I missed the OG because we overestimated the rate of boiloff and brewed 6 gallons instead of 5. So I'm looking at a very drinkable 4.17% ABV summer sipper. As expected, the Sanctification dregs worked very slowly, but very steadily and effectively. No pellicle formed. The taste and aroma were only mildly sour and not at all funky. Instead, there was a freshness that really came through. Thanks for the advice on cutting back on the Grains of Paradise. I think I ultimately did about 3 grams and and also threw in some home-grown coriander (5 grams or so) and some cardamom (also about 3 grams). I couldn't really taste any spice, so they probably won't come through, but no big deal, the idea was to create a pallette for the brett to shine. I think this will be an excellent beer.

One question. We used the normal amount of priming sugar and refrained from pitching any additional yeast. I figured the brett was still alive and would work its magic on the priming sugar just as it did in fermentation--slowly. Ultimately, I hope that it will be perfectly carbonated in about 2 months. Anyone have any thoughts on this? Thanks.

01/09/09 11:58 AM  
Re: My first brett beer
Correction this beer will be 4.17 ABW and 5.21 ABV.
01/09/09 12:17 PM  
Re: My first brett beer
It will definitely take a lot longer to carbonate unless you also picked up some of the yeast from the fermenter when you transferred to a bottling bucket.It may take longer than two months if the brett is the only thing eating the priming sugar. In a correctly spiced Belgian the spices shouldn't be very detectable but should marry very well with the overall flavor profile. Personally I still feel that cardamon has no place in beer, it is way too over bearing even in very small amounts and is always detectable.
01/09/09 12:25 PM  
Re: My first brett beer
Interesting. Cardamom is one of my favorite spices to use. Anyhow, it wasn't detectible last night when bottling. Fortunately, we did get some yeast in with the wort when transferring to the bottling bucket.
01/22/09 03:43 PM  
Re: My first brett beer
I had my first sample of this the other night. Of course it is not even close to being fully carbonated, but I was curious how it was coming along. It promised to be good as my first whiff was pure pineapple. But...the flavor left a lot to be desired. It tasted like a wet sock and left a soapy aftertaste in my mouth. It had no horseblanket or hay flavors. The sourness really wasn't prevalent. I'm hoping it develops some more sour and barnyard flavors by late spring.
01/22/09 05:35 PM  
Re: My first brett beer
Give it some time...I have one that is at 18 months...good, but still needs some time.
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