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All Brett Fermentations

Anyone have any experience with them? We were thinking of mashing/boiling a simple saison on the 1/2bbl system, and splitting into three ferments, each with a different Brett strain (Bruxellensis, Clausenii, and Lambicus)

Based on the Zymurgy article a few months back, which has advice from the head brewer @ Crooked Stave:

1.) Go for an almost lager-like pitch rate for doing this on a homebrew scale
2.) Maintain a temp in the mid-60’s
3.) If doing an all-brett ferment, as opposed to a secondary with Brett, it will have less of the barnyardy/horsey character, and just be really really dry with some nice esters/phenolics.

My main question is, if Brett is the main fermenting organism, as opposed to a ‘secondary’, will it take a long time to ferment out? Any other advice would be appreciated.

No the initial ferment is pretty quick not much slower than ales.
It will take time to get way down as that brett keeps working. Lets say you were making a 1.045 to get down to the usual 1.008-09 or so is fairly quick with brett. The rest of the way will take some time depending on gravity and pitching rates
+1 on the almost lager size starters, although underpitching a little will drive more esters.
For the profile of the beer that is going to depend how long you leave it on the brett to and the type of brett used.

I’ve done about 10 of them. All of the advice is solid, from my experience. I’ve drank them fresh (1-2 months) and let some of them age for up to 2 years. All of them had a noticable “sickness” or dip in quality at about 3-5 months. Not bad, still drinkable, but just not as good as before or after. But once that got passed this, they seemed to level off. Although I wasn’t doing measurements or anything, my perception of them didn’t change much after they reached about 7 months. Seemed to me that they stayed pretty much the same after that, without any further decrease in gravity or significant change in character.

fwiw, I didn’t have much/any luck fermenting with only brett L. Both of my attempts at using only that strain didn’t go anywhere. On another occasion I fermented with a mix of brett L and C, and that one worked well and had characteristics of both. It was awesome actually. I’d suggest that you also try with the White Labs Brett Trois, which is nice and fruity and a quick primary fermenter. I’d also suggest that you send me a bottle of each for some outside independent evaluation. :cheers:

so, this is all begging the question: do you like drinking these beers!? Or should I just make a regular saison!?

brett is awesome, honestly I brew more sours and brett beers than clean beers.

Just like sac yeast, all-brett fermentations can be good, or can be mediocre. A lot more goes into it than just the yeast selection. My brett l and c Belgian IPA is one of the best beers I’ve ever made. Right now I’m drinking a berliner weiss that I did with brett and lacto only (no sac) and it blows my mind too. But I’ve also tried a few recipes that I wouldn’t brew again.

Nice! Taking it one step further, do you think the profiles of a lambicus/claus blend and a vial/starter of bruxellensis trois would go well with a simple ‘summery’ saison? Again, will probably split the batch between:

-l/c brett blend
-brux trois
-3711 or another saison sacc yeast

Thinking:

50% pils
40% wheat
8% melanoidin or munich
2% acid

magnum hops at 60min
either American C-hops late or something english…or, if we could get our hands on some NZ hops, but don’t know if the timing will work…

In the IPA I really liked the interplay of the bretts with my hop selection (saaz and cascade if I remember … odd combo but it all worked). Brett c and trois are fruitier, so for those my recipes have been darker using grains with dark fruit and chocoloatey flavors. Or, with those I’ve gone the route of an american APA with citrus hops. I’d say the closest recipe I’ve done to yours was one where I went 80% vienna and 20% corn, with brett c. That one was really good while fresh and still had great brett aromas. But after the brett aroma faded it was still good but sorta run of the mill.

If it were me, I’d probably add a little crystal malt, C20 or something, to give a little sweetness to balance the fruitiness. I think that would even still work in the saison portion if you go that route.

I like a combo of fruity and funky bretts

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