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10/28/11 10:01 AM  
Showcase the funk
Here's what I'm looking for:

In early February, some friends and I are having a small competition Best of Show style. Basically, any beer style goes, as long as it was made after the official invitation went out, which was yesterday. I would like to bring something nice and complex, which showcases the best of what the BBB is about. I'm looking for advice from the masters on the best way to do this in the time I have. I'm assuming I should include 4-5 weeks on the back end for bottle time to carbonate and such. But what ideas and advice do you guys have for ingredients and yeast/microbes?

Thanks, all!

10/28/11 10:13 AM  
Re: Showcase the funk
3 months lead time really narrows your options. If you are good with yeast and can make a monster slurry of Brett C, you could have something in place. Just barely though.
10/28/11 10:24 AM  
Re: Showcase the funk
I know. :) Would Brett as a primary strain and maybe aging on some fruit be a viable way to go?
10/28/11 11:27 AM  
Re: Showcase the funk
Only if it was a real fast brett like C and there is an enormous amount of it. I made a Berliner Weisse with all brett C once that was basically fermented out and ready in a week. Staggering. Did one a year or two later that used a lot, but noticeably less of a slurry than the first. Took 2 years to get that one to about the same place as the first. If you do it well you won't need to age it on fruit, the esters could make it seem fruited.

But it takes some expertise to do a faster brett beer. It be a lot less risky to make something more conventional.

10/28/11 11:42 AM  
Re: Showcase the funk
Not funky, but you should be able to knock out a pretty classic Berliner Weisse in that time
10/28/11 12:04 PM  
Re: Showcase the funk
I agree with Steve that you need an aggressive Brett strain if you want something funky in 3 months.

I would recommend doing a sour mash, pitching lacto or using acid malt to get a beer that has decent sourness to begin with. This lower pH will also help the Brett work faster.

As for Brett strains I am a huge fan of the Avery 15/Drie Fonteinen strains. They produce a lot of flavor very quickly with a good pitch - I had a great beer done in 3 months. Not sure the best way to get this strain though.

The other aggressive strain is from Jolly Pumpkin, it doesn't give off a lot of funk, but the bug mixture in the bottle does produce some nice complexity and sourness quite quickly.

I also know that Chad at Crooked Stave is turning around Brett beers pretty quickly. You should see if you can get some of his beers and build up those dregs.

10/28/11 03:45 PM  
Re: Showcase the funk
I did a quick funky beer with some dregs cultured up from a bottle of Fantome. I kept it very hoppy and even added a bunch of aged hops to try to keep the Fantome lacto at bay. It fermented from 1.050 to 1.003 or so in about a week and a half and had a massive brett character. A month now in the bottle and it kinda tastes like a aged Orval.
10/28/11 10:51 PM  
Re: Showcase the funk
Sounds like none of you are up to the challenge. :) It can be done. Mixed Brett fermentation plus fruit or barrel is the way. Granted the beer will be better at six months as opposed to three.
10/29/11 11:27 PM  
Re: Showcase the funk
Bottling a brett beer before its time can be dangerous!!
10/30/11 12:02 AM  
Re: Showcase the funk
Very fair point Steve. Make sure to follow the hydrometer!

As Vinnie from Russian River has noted though, "on a 1.060 original gravity wort, once active, a 100% Brett fermentation will ferment to 1.020 in about 10 days. It will take about 8 weeks for the beer to drop to a bottling SG of 1.010."

I've bottled several of my Brett-fermented beers @ ~1.016 w. no bottle bombs or gushers after 1+ year in the bottle. Good look holding on to it that long before you drink it though!

10/30/11 07:39 AM  
Re: Showcase the funk
Nice. 8 weeks sounds impressively fast, of course he is Vinnie. Out of curiosity Luke, have you measured gravity after an extended time in the bottle? 1016 does sound high to me for bottling a brett beer, I wonder how much further it could drop in storage. Did you find it tasted very different after a year?
10/31/11 12:07 AM  
Re: Showcase the funk
I've checked the gravity on mixed ferments after extended aging, but not any all-Brett beers. I'll try to remember to check the next time I open one.

I should add that I typically bottle with Sacch (often champagne yeast). I have experienced some slight off-flavors (iron?) with my all-Brett beers with extended aging that could be due to autolysis of the bottling yeast.

In general the all-Brett beers have tasted pretty awesome right away, but it's really hard to generalize. When the barnyard smell/flavors are really intense coming out of primary, they seem to go away or muddle with time rather than intensify. When the beer starts fairly clean tasting, it might go through a stage 3-6 mths later that makes it superfunky.

11/03/11 01:10 AM  
Re: Showcase the funk
SteveG, I think you are right to be a little suspicious of a 1.016 "F.G." Brett beer.

I just checked the FG of an all-Brett that's been in the bottle ~12 months.

The gravity at bottling was ~1.015 and it's down to ~1.012.

It has a nice, creamy head but it's not over-carbonated. To be fair though, I never shoot higher than 2.0 for bottling these type of beers.

11/03/11 10:52 AM  
Re: Showcase the funk
Sounds really nice! I have seen lower than 1.012 in finished brett beers, but many don't have what I'd call a nice creamy head. It sounds like a slightly higher than expected drop has been well channeled, you've struck an excellent balance! Thanks for the info update, brett development is a great thing to stay up on.
11/04/11 09:31 AM  
Re: Showcase the funk
So are we talking 3 months in primary, or should I make use of a secondary fermenter? I'm leaning towards primary only, but that's mainly because I don't have a free fermenter right now; I'm going to have to bottle something to even have room for this guy.
11/06/11 09:05 PM  
Re: Showcase the funk
I recently had a Blegian strong golden ale stall at 1030 and nothing I could do could make it move.

I added the dregs of one or two orval bottles and within two weeks it was bright and sitting at 1002.

It won its category in my state amateur competition and got a fourth place in our national amateur brewers comp and is going to be very hard to repeat.

However my thoughts are to try mashing in the low 70s (celcius - this is in Australia.

I don't know how standard it is for the orval yeast to work that quickly but if it's usual (all my other brett beers sit between 8 and 16 months minimum) then tis is something you could try. High mash, maybe some dextrinous malt and see if you can bugger up your attenuation, then hit it with orval.

04/09/12 03:55 PM  
Re: Showcase the funk
Since y'all were so helpful, I thought I'd give you an update on how this went. I was very happy to be voted 2nd place by all attendees, quite surprising as this was both dark, and high-alcohol. My favorite part of the event, though, was when someone came up (usually a woman) and said, "Just give me a little, I don't like dark beers," and after tasting (and enjoying) my brew, had a new appreciation for what beer can be. :)

I started with a mix of Marris Otter, some LME, and assorted specialty grains. 1 oz Amarillo @ 40 minutes. 5 gallons, OG = 1.077, FG = 1.005. Pitched Wyeast 3789PC - Trappist blend and a 1.8L, two-step starter of brett. c. Added ~1.5 oz(?) of heavy toast American oak chips for 7 days. Brewed on 11/09/11, kegged on 01/26/12, served on 02/03/12. I decided to forego adding fruit, but then I didn't really need it.

My description for the event: "Fermented with a blend of wild and Trappist yeasts, this Belgian ale pours a dark, leathery brown with a thick, creamy head. Earthy aromas give way to a rich maltiness from the roasted grains. The flavors start slightly tart, moving into a complex blend of dark malts with a hint of cocoa and dark fruits. Finishes dry, with a slight tannin bite from the American Oak added during aging."

Dale Hair
04/09/12 05:25 PM  
Re: Showcase the funk
Sounds a lot like a Belgian Yeti from Great Divide.
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