Brett Non Fermentation

Sun Dec 23, 2012 6:56 pm

So I have a 100% Brett Beer that has been sitting in the primary for two weeks, I took a sample tonight and the Brett has only taken the beer down four points. I know that Brett takes a bit of time time to take off but this does not seem right. The sample still tastes "clean" no sourness or off flavor. Could I pitch a packet of dry yeast (Saf Ale 05) to get fermentation started; then rack the beer to secondary with new pitch of Brett to condition in the bottle? Thanks all I hope you have a great holiday.

Jim
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cytorunner
 
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Re: Brett Non Fermentation

Mon Dec 24, 2012 12:37 am

That does seem a little odd. If you're looking for that 'funky' Brett flavor, by all means pitch some US-05. Brett doesn't produce those 'Brett flavors' unless you stress it out.

What temp is your ferment at & is that temp stable? Tell us more about the recipe as well. Even with a straight Brett pitch, I would expect more than 4 points. Also, I would double check the calibration on the thermometer & hydrometer.
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Re: Brett Non Fermentation

Mon Dec 24, 2012 4:27 am

The recipe was a pretty standard Belgian Pale Ale: recipe 6.5 lb Pils 6.5 lb Belgian Pale Malt 1 lb Wheat with 1 oz Golding @ 60. The brew went well cooled to 70 F, I areated for 2 minites with O2 then pitched a decanted 3L starter of brett b.. It has been sitting in my fermentation fridge at 66-68F the entire time. I used foil instead of air lock so i cant speak to air lock activity but there wasn't any krausen/pelical for four days. After the fourth day a thin white splotchy film formed and is still present. The sample is sweet, is tastes like unfermented fresh wort.

Good point about the hydro I will check it when I get back from work.
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Re: Brett Non Fermentation

Mon Dec 24, 2012 6:24 am

Check 'em often :) I have 1 hydrometer that mysteriously hasn't broken in about 4 or 5 years. It's always been dead on, but it still gets checked every 2-3 brews at most.

That sounds pretty typical for a brett fermentation that cool. Keep in mind, Brett is just another yeast not a bacteria. You won't get sourness or a pellicle unless you use it in a blend, such as the Roselaire from Wyeast. Brett can give all sorts of flavors depending on how you treat it. Treat it like regular yeast & you'll get a different sort of final flavor but it won't be that funky, barnyardy brett character.

To go that route, you can do a couple of things. One option would be to let it slow rise to 70-72. It'll pick up speed for a while & then take it's time finishing the beer out. Another would be to let it ride at 68, it'll likely pick up in a few days & then slow back down, taking its time to finish.

If you're looking for a beer with a real brett character that stands out, like most of the commercial examples, you want them a little stressed out to produce those phenols. I would suggest hydrating anywhere between a 1/2 & regular pitch of the US-05 & leave it at 68. There's still plenty of sugar for the US-05 to grab onto & take off right away (especially if you add a full pitch), and that will stress the brett out just enough to give you that classic flavor.

It really depends on which way you want to take it & what you're expecting in the final product. Hope this helps a little & keep us updated.
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Re: Brett Non Fermentation

Mon Dec 24, 2012 7:58 am

cytorunner wrote:The recipe was a pretty standard Belgian Pale Ale: recipe 6.5 lb Pils 6.5 lb Belgian Pale Malt 1 lb Wheat with 1 oz Golding @ 60. The brew went well cooled to 70 F, I areated for 2 minites with O2 then pitched a decanted 3L starter of brett b.. It has been sitting in my fermentation fridge at 66-68F the entire time. I used foil instead of air lock so i cant speak to air lock activity but there wasn't any krausen/pelical for four days. After the fourth day a thin white splotchy film formed and is still present. The sample is sweet, is tastes like unfermented fresh wort.

Good point about the hydro I will check it when I get back from work.


Was your starter 1 White Labs vial into 3L of wort?

Reason I ask is those vials of Brett from WL are very low in cell count. They are designed as a secondary pitch and by comparison to say for example WLP001 dont contain enough cells for a primary pitch. So you would need a lot more yeast than what you got from the starter to do a primary fermentation.
Brett shouldn't really take any longer than many other strains to ferment to 70-75% attenuation. My 100% Brett fermentations are usually to 80% in about 20 days. Those last few points to get around 1.005 take a few weeks/month though. Now I do use BSI Drie Brett Brux variant and CMY001 Brett Brux variant , I haven't used the White Labs Trois (suppose to be the same as BSI Drie). I;ve done some 100% with White Labs Brett C and it was at final gravity within a month (although like others I;m not sure its 100% Brett in there, but thats another conversation).
Anyway If you can find some White Labs Trois right now I'd say run up a starter for it and pitch. I know its a full time offering starting in January so your LHBS should carry it. It was designed like all their other yeast strains from a 100% Brett fermentation. If not I'd say the s-05 pack or any other yeast would be help. Personally I'd choose a Belgian strain like Wyeast 3787 or a saison Strain over s-05.

Also I would disagree about Brett not producing "brett" flavors unless its stressed out. I've gotten plenty of the Brett Characteristics I'm looking for by pitching proper amounts of active culture. I do think there is something to be said for it opening up slightly when it's under pressure in a bottle though.
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Re: Brett Non Fermentation

Mon Dec 24, 2012 8:11 am

+1 to what Brandon said. If you made a 3L starter with such a small amount of yeast (WL vial) and didn't give the starter an appropriate time to ferment out (I give my brett starters at least 7 days to get working and finish out), then you might have severely underpitched for your belgian pale ale batch.

Give your carboy a good swirl and let the temps warm up a bit to hopefully get those brett cells going a bit better. Good luck and hope things attenuate a bit more for you!
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Re: Brett Non Fermentation

Mon Dec 24, 2012 9:55 am

I let the starter go for about five days, when I do this again I will step up the starter over that time. I like the point about using a Belgian strait, I only suggested the Us-05 because I it in the fridge.

I think will take the carboy out of the fridge and see if I can warm it up a bit. Then pitch the US-05 (no longer making it Belgian) and see if it takes off. If it does rack to a secondary in a week or two then add a fresh pitch of Brett. B..

Thanks all for your suggestions and advice.

Jim
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Re: Brett Non Fermentation

Tue Dec 25, 2012 6:14 am

Brandon wrote:Also I would disagree about Brett not producing "brett" flavors unless its stressed out. I've gotten plenty of the Brett Characteristics I'm looking for by pitching proper amounts of active culture. I do think there is something to be said for it opening up slightly when it's under pressure in a bottle though.


I was making a distinction between brett flavor & a classic brett characteristic. Of course you're not going to get a beer that tastes like 001 by pitching only a brett culture. But you won't necessarily get that classic Belgian Pale Ale flavor either. You could get something completely fantastic, but it could be many different flavors. There's more different strains of brett than sachro, just not readily available to brewers.

That classic brett characteristic is defined by certain phenols, which are only produced when the brett is under stress. It doesn't have to be a lot of stress & that stress could come from a number of different things besides the presence of another yeast or alcohol (although since the vials seem to be intended as a secondary pitch, as you pointed out, that's what ends up happening). It could be fermentation temp, pH, cell count or a number of other things.

You can brew some nice brett beers without stressing the yeast at all, which is why I pointed out that it depends on where you want the beer to end up, but if you're after a classic brett characteristic in a Belgian Pale, it's not the best way to go after it. There was a great guest on the Session not too long ago talking a little further about it. Yacobsen I think.

cytorunner wrote:I only suggested the Us-05 because I it in the fridge.


Also the reason I kept referring to the US-05. I didn't mean to sound like it was the best option, but it's a good one & you already have it. Some of the other strains mentioned will produce fantastic results as well.

cytorunner wrote:Then pitch the US-05 (no longer making it Belgian)


I wouldn't say that. Just like when brewing for competition, you enter (classify) your beer by what it tastes like. Just because you put a touch of coffee in it doesn't mean you have to enter it as a coffee beer, especially if that coffee note doesn't come through in the final product. Same idea here, just because you use a 'clean' Sachro strain doesn't mean you can't call it a Belgian. You could let it ferment all the way out with US-05 before adding the Brett & still get that Belgian taste. The Brett characteristics will overpower the Sachro quite easily while it takes the ferment even further. Some of the BCS recipes even suggest it, such as the Flanders Red.

As I said earlier, you have plenty of options you can do, it just really depends on where you want to end up with the beer. Not saying any one is better than the others, it really comes down to what you like to drink (& brewing more of it!)
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