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07/30/10 08:02 PM  
Phenolic/Medicinal Flavors From Brett Brux
I have two kegs of Belgian Blonde, each with a different primary yeast, that I tossed Wyeast Brett B. into after it was kegged. I left it at about 60 for 6 weeks and then put them in the fridge. One of them has become very phenolic and medicinal while the other has stayed more restrained. Is this a common character from Brett B.? Is there any way to control it or will it reduce over time? What characteristic of the original beer may have led to the difference between the two kegs?
07/31/10 08:28 AM  
Re: Phenolic/Medicinal Flavors From Brett Brux
What two different primary strains did you use? Were the primary fermentation temps similar and controlled? What was the FG of each batch? Brett B. does have a habit (at least in my experience) of going through changes as it ages. I would guess that the difference has a lot to do with remaining residual sugars in the beer along with any introduced oxygen. The funny thing I have noticed with the WY Brett B. is that if you don't like the way the beer is tasting at a certain point, then give it a month and it will change.
07/31/10 02:14 PM  
Re: Phenolic/Medicinal Flavors From Brett Brux
The more phenolic keg was Wyeast 3522 and the less phenolic was WLP530. Both finished around 1.012 and were fermented 66 rising to 70ish. I always CO2 flush my kegs first so I think the O2 introduced should be similar and pretty low in both kegs.

I did notice that the 3522 had a fair amount of banana at kegging and was generally more fruity. It also showed the Brett much sooner so it could be that it's just further along. I've wondered if putting them in the refrigerator when the Brett was at different stages of development may have had an effect. Does anyone have any comments about the flavors Brett B. makes at room temperature vs. cold aging? Is there any relationship between esters and phenols chemically?

08/01/10 12:35 PM  
Re: Phenolic/Medicinal Flavors From Brett Brux
Greg Doss did a presentation a few years ago at NHC and he theorized that Brett produces it's flavors from esters (or was it phenol) produced by the primary yeast. That is why a neutral primary yeast produces a subtle Brett character. The 3522 beer may have more precursor for medicinal phenol. I hope ChadYak chimes in, this is his area of expertise.
tom sawyer
08/02/10 11:31 AM  
Re: Phenolic/Medicinal Flavors From Brett Brux
Maybe it will go away. I know my last lambic went through a time (6-9 months) where it had a lot of diacetyl, and that got metabolized.
08/08/10 12:19 PM  
Re: Phenolic/Medicinal Flavors From Brett Brux
Hey JLap,

So the WY3522 is the Belgian Ardennes strain and per the Wyeasts website "One of many great beer yeasts to produce classic Belgian ales. Phenolics develop with increased fermentation temperatures, mild fruitiness and complex spicy character".

How did you monitor temperature? if it was by a band on the outside of the fermenter then temps inside were up to 5-7 degrees F higher. Either way the vinyl phenolic compounds were created during the primary fermentation and the Brettanomyces would have converted them to ethyl phenolic compounds. These phenolics are esters as they are ethyl alcohol combined with an acid (hydroxycinnimic acid). Depending on the Brettanomyces strain they have the necessary enzymes present to convert the vinyl phenol into the ethyl phenol while other Brettanomyces strains are not capable. So it will be strain dependent on ethyl phenol production as Sacch strains do not have the necessary enzyme. It would appear that WY B. brux is one of those strains. As for WLP530 it seem that not a lot of phenolics were produced and the B. brux strain didn't produce much either and therefore any phenolics seem to be below threshold levels.

WY5112 (B. brux) is a nice strain to use in conjunction with other strains. It produces nicer flavors over a longer given time. While it may not be a good primary fermenter and may be boring for the first 7-10 months even in secondary. After this time the flavors become nicer and they are sustained. I think this is what brewinhard was getting at.


08/08/10 09:17 PM  
Re: Phenolic/Medicinal Flavors From Brett Brux
Thanks for that input Chad. I noticed a decent amount of clove phenol in the sample I took for a hydrometer reading toward the end of fermentation. It seemed to be less when I kegged it and added the Brett B. but what was left must have been enough for these aromas/flavors to be created later. Makes sense based on what you've said - great info.

However, I don't really agree with your statement regarding the fermentation temperature. I use a temp controller with a heating wrap taped to the outside of the carboy along with the probe with some insulation over it. I used to use a stainless tube to keep the probe in the beer but I only had one of those and when I started brewing 12 gallons batches it just start taping the probe to the outside. I have tried swirling the beer vigorously during fermentation and have at most observed 1 degree temperature increase and often not even that. I also used my old stainless tube and switched the probe back and forth between the wall and the tube. Again, no difference.

I don't know if others have done this and had different results but this is my experience. Because I ferment in a basement that is cooler than my fermentation I think most of that heat gets sucked up by the air. It also seems that in a small fermentation the motion of the ferment keeps the heat pretty evenly distributed. Just from a visual impression, I don't see how a fermentation could build up that much heat in it's core on a 5 gallon scale. Maybe I'm wrong and others have measured this degree of difference.

08/09/10 01:25 AM  
Re: Phenolic/Medicinal Flavors From Brett Brux
JLap, Sounds like you have your ferment temps down pat. Play around with lower temps and see what happens, or try another Brett strain next time w/the same Sacch strain. That's a great way to evaluate Bretts in combination with Sacch and could lend some valuable info on this site!
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