Aging on Brett

Thu Jan 24, 2013 7:09 am

Dear BN Army,

I just brewed my first Belgian Specialty Ale. I fermented the primary ale on wine yeast, the idea being that I would give the Brett Clausneii some sugars consume during secondary fermentation. The beer is about 2 months old. I have had a pellicle for a couple weeks, just tasted the beer, and I get the characteristic sandalwood and citrus peel in the aroma and flavor. I am wondering whether I should continue warm conditioning the beer or if I should keg now. What do you think I should expect in terms of flavor if I keep the beer warm?

The recipe is below:

Belgian Pilsner 7.5 lb
Belgian Wheat 1.5 lb
Flaked Oats 0.5 lb
Belgian Aromatic 0.25 lb

Mashed at 149F

Light Candi Syrup 1 1b (added at end of boil)

German Tettnanger 25 IBU FWH
Styrian Golding 4 IBU 15 min
Styrian Golding 0.5 oz End of Boil

Primary (bucket): Lalvin 71b 1122 - 65F for 2 weeks
Secondary (glass carboy): 2 vials of Brett claussenii 65F for 6 weeks

The beer has aged for 8 weeks total.
darkalex
 
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Re: Aging on Brett

Thu Jan 24, 2013 1:53 pm

Brett C. is an awesome brett strain with subtle pineapple and tropical fruit characteristics when used in secondary. It does happen to be a slow worker though, compared to other brett strains I have brewed with. Over the years I have come to prefer brett dosed beers that have been aged cool in a keg. Temperatures between 50-60F seem to help the brett metabolize at a good speed which can minimize the overly funky, goaty, sweaty, and barnyard flavors/aromas that brett can kick out when aged warm and fast. Having exposure to oxygen (such as in a carboy with headspace) also seems to allow the brett to work faster which can make them kick out more of those undesirable characteristics.

Have you taken a gravity read and taste of the beer since it has been on the brett? If so, what was the gravity and or flavors like? If you liked the flavor profile then by all means keg it up to reduce oxygen ingression in the carboy's headspace. You can then let the beer sit in the keg and taste it periodically till it hits it sweet spot, then carb up and drink.
"A bad man is a good man's job, while a good man is a bad man's teacher."
brewinhard
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Re: Aging on Brett

Fri Jan 25, 2013 4:32 am

brewinhard wrote: Have you taken a gravity read and taste of the beer since it has been on the brett? If so, what was the gravity and or flavors like? If you liked the flavor profile then by all means keg it up to reduce oxygen ingression in the carboy's headspace. You can then let the beer sit in the keg and taste it periodically till it hits it sweet spot, then carb up and drink.


Honestly, I did not check the final gravity. It’s quite dry. I imagine it is in the single digits. I definitely get the tropical fruit character you are referring to. To me it’s a lemon peel and sandalwood. I definitely do not get goatie and barnyard flavors. Maybe it had something to do with my pitching rate..

There is just so much yeast in suspension that I don’t think I am getting enough of the beer on my palate to make a good judgment. Since, I do not detect offensive off flavors, and enjoyed the sample I tried, I’ve decided to cold crash in the carboy and lager the ale for a few weeks. My theory is that these reactions are going to slow down considerably at 32F, and I may drop yeast.

At these cooler temperatures and for this yeast strain, what do you suppose are the best down stream finings? Gelatin, PVPP, isinglass, or just time in the carboy/keg at freezing?

I am going to rebrew the beer with the intent on repitching the culture I have going now and aging the second beer on oak. Do you have any recommendations on waking up Brett C after 6-8 week lagering period? Or should I simply rack the new beer on top of the Brett C yeast cake?

Thanks!
darkalex
 
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Location: Gainesville, FL

Re: Aging on Brett

Sat Jan 26, 2013 10:04 am

As far as fining your beer, I would just let it lager for a bit until it clears up. Those brett cells will drop out over time given cold enough temps. They will also continue to change the profile of your beer once packaged (albeit slowly), even when kept at cold temps in a fridge. So, if you come across a flavor you don't appreciate, don't dump the beer. Rather let it sit a bit more, then come back to it later and see if that flavor has changed.

As far as waking it back up, you can simply rinse your yeast like normal and save the slurry. Brett is best kept at room temps according to Chad Yakobsen for long term. When you are ready to brew again, make a decent sized starter with your brett (based on the OG of your beer) and give it about 7 days to fully attenuate. Then chill, decant and pitch the starter into your wort. The brett will happily go back to work for you!
"A bad man is a good man's job, while a good man is a bad man's teacher."
brewinhard
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