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Brett IPA Questions

So this is my first attempt at an all Brett fermentation. The recipe is based off The Mad Fermentationist’s 100% Brett Trois IPA with a few tweaks.

I’ve got a few questions and am open to any and all suggestions:

  • How does the recipe look (see below)? I was wondering if I’ve included enough acid malt to help the bugs get this more than funky and somewhat sour. I suppose I can always add some dregs and ferment longer if things aren’t as sour as I’d like when I sample prior to bottling.

  • I’m also not entirely sure about my hop schedule / IBUs and how they will meld with the Brett. I’m going for something balanced with a tropical fruitiness from the hops and Brett.

  • Mr Malty says I need ~212 billion yeast cells and a 2.67 liter starter if I’m using one vial at ale rates. To get close to the numbers, I was going to do a step up starter - first 1500ml at 1.030 for a week and then into another 1500ml 1.030 for another week all with intermittent shaking. I haven’t done a Brett starter before but from what I can gather, just treat them like an ale yeast. Is this going to get me where I need to be cell count wise?

  • Assuming I have a big enough starter and pitch enough cells, I’ve read WLP664 can finish your beer withing two or so weeks. I was planning on having this in a primary for a month and dry hopping the last week before bottling (assuming fermentation is done and FG is steady). With this being Brett, will I need to adjust my priming solution or just prepare it normally (2/3 cup corn sugar boiled in 16oz water)? I’ve read carbonating can take a little longer when using Brett only so I’m fine playing with my priming to avoid bottle bombs.

Thanks for everyone’s help and sorry for the long-winded and somewhat rambling post!

Brett IPA

5 gallon
1.061 Est OG
1.005 Est FG
7.4% Est ABV
53 IBU
5 SRM
0.86 IBU/OG

Fermentables
Light LME - 6.6 lb (72%)
Wheat LME - 1.65 lb (18%)
Acidulated Malt - 0.4 lb (4%)
Carapils Malt - 0.4 lb (4%)

Hops
Magnum - 1.0 oz @ 60 min
Galaxy - 1.0 oz @ 5 min
Citra - 1.0 oz @ 5 min
Galaxy - 1.0 oz @ 0 min
Citra - 1.0 oz @ 0 min
Galaxy - 1.0 oz - 7 days Dry Hop
Citra - 1.0 oz - 7 days Dry Hop

Yeast
WLP644 BRETTANOMYCES BRUXELLENSIS TROIS

Extras
Wyeast Yeast Nutrient - 0.5 tsp @ 10.0 min

As you probably know brett takes months to finish…So i would just add the bittering addition cause the hop flavor/aroma will probably fade during the long fermentation and dry hop after 6-9 months…but I would never brew a brett IPA so hopefully someone can give you good advice…good luck

After picking up a vial of WLP664, I wanted to go in a different direction because I’ve already got Saison, Belgian Pale Ale, and Biere de Mars souring. After coming across The Mad Fermentationist’s recipe and info about a Crooked Stave Brett IPA and Ithica’s Superfriends IPA, an all Brett IPA sounded like an interesting choice.

I assume you are just planning to steep the carapils and acid malt? You won’t get any starch conversion from the acid malt but if the only reason you’re using it is to wash the acid off into the wort, then it should be fine.

I’ve made a few all-brett IPAs and pale ales. I’d recommend that you use a small amount of a sharp hop, like Chinook or Saaz or something. Just a little something to cut the fruitiness that you get from the yeast and from hops like Citra, etc. Otherwise, I think your IBUs are good.

And yes, you can be drinking this beer in a couple months. Won’t take 6-9 months. I just brewed a 1.032 beer with trois and it appears done after 6 days.

I’d be interested to hear how this beer works with extract. Never done it.

[quote=“sl8w”]I assume you are just planning to steep the carapils and acid malt? You won’t get any starch conversion from the acid malt but if the only reason you’re using it is to wash the acid off into the wort, then it should be fine.

I’ve made a few all-brett IPAs and pale ales. I’d recommend that you use a small amount of a sharp hop, like Chinook or Saaz or something. Just a little something to cut the fruitiness that you get from the yeast and from hops like Citra, etc. Otherwise, I think your IBUs are good.

And yes, you can be drinking this beer in a couple months. Won’t take 6-9 months. I just brewed a 1.032 beer with trois and it appears done after 6 days.

I’d be interested to hear how this beer works with extract. Never done it.[/quote]

I always thought you need to give brett at least 3 months to develop its character and 6-9 is even better but cause this is an IPA i quess you are right at least 3 though…brett yeast need some time IMO…im interested to see how this turns out too…Salude

I’ve done 9 or 10 all-brett beers, and have drank them all by about 6-8 weeks. They are the most aromatic at that point. Mine have gone through a slight dip in flavor quality after 4-5 months, but grow out of that after a month or two. They taste good again, maybe even better, but they loose some of the fruity brett aromas. When I’ve done brett IPAs I’ve tried to drink them fresh when the aromas from brett and hops are at their peak. You’ll note that the tasting notes on The Mad Fermentationist’s beer is from about this same time period. YMMV.

Yo lawbadger report back and let us know how it turns out

If you use Brett as the primary yeast, it acts pretty much like any ale yeast and ends up crisp and dry with a little character, but not at all like when it’s pitched in secondary and given months to chew on the complex carbs.

[quote=“sl8w”]I assume you are just planning to steep the carapils and acid malt? You won’t get any starch conversion from the acid malt but if the only reason you’re using it is to wash the acid off into the wort, then it should be fine.

I’ve made a few all-brett IPAs and pale ales. I’d recommend that you use a small amount of a sharp hop, like Chinook or Saaz or something. Just a little something to cut the fruitiness that you get from the yeast and from hops like Citra, etc. Otherwise, I think your IBUs are good.[/quote]

I’m planning on steeping the grains and going for that result with the acid malt. I’m curious to see if such a small amount will have any noticeable impact on the beer.

I had been thinking about tweaking the hop schedule along the lines of what you mentioned and using 1oz Chinook at 0 mins. Would you suggest doing a flameout or dry hop addition, or both?

.4 pounds of acid malt is quite a bit actually, and should be fine for what you’re trying to accomplish. FWIW, I too add a little lactic acid for my all-brett beers, but I have no idea if it has a noticable impact. Doesn’t hurt anyway.

If it was my beer, I’d probably do a small amount of Chinook as an aroma or flameout addition. I probably wouldn’t do much … just enough to give it a little different dimension. If I was using a more rustic strain of brett I’d probably use a lot more Chinook, but with Trois I think it would still be best to let the fruitier hops dominate. Good luck.

I actually ended up brewing this on Sunday with a few tweaks (batched increased slightly to 5.25 gal, dropped light lme to 6 lbs, did .5oz chinook additions at 5min and flameout, and pitched two vials of WLP664 instead of doing a starter). Brew day went fine with basically hitting my new est og at 1.052, pitched yeast at 65, and set 6.5 gal carboy in cool area to keep temps in the 67-72 range.

Fermentation was going fine yesterday, but at some point overnight I had a blow-off. Definitely wasn’t expecting this with an all brett fermentation and would have used a blow off tube if I had known. At least the aroma from the carboy smelled great…

Has anyone else experienced an all brett primary fermentation blow-off, especially when using Brett Trois?

yes it pretty much ferments just as quickly on all brett ferementations as regular sach and can have blow off.
Yes it will take longer to reach way low gravity but the initial ferment goes fairly quickly.
Once thing in brett ipa’s IME is finding the right hop bill and bitterness balance, brett chews through everything so a really dry crisp beer can seem overly hopped sometimes.

Apparently Breakside Brewery and Gigantic collaborated on making an India Wild Ale with significant dry hopping and it’s outstanding (according to swmbo). I’ll report back with my tasting after work this afternoon.

Update —

After three weeks in the primary, the gravity has dropped to 1.012. I’m going to give it another week or two to see if it gets in the 1.006-8ish region before dry hopping and bottling.

I tasted the sample and it’s great right now. The chinook did a great job of cutting the fruitiness to a nice and smooth, but still hop forward beer. The Brett gave off a little fruit sweetness and a mild barnyard funk without being at all sour or tart. Looks like this one is turning out very well.

[quote=“Lawbadger”]Update —

After three weeks in the primary, the gravity has dropped to 1.012. I’m going to give it another week or two to see if it gets in the 1.006-8ish region before dry hopping and bottling.

I tasted the sample and it’s great right now. The chinook did a great job of cutting the fruitiness to a nice and smooth, but still hop forward beer. The Brett gave off a little fruit sweetness and a mild barnyard funk without being at all sour or tart. Looks like this one is turning out very well.[/quote]

Brett does not make a sour beer at least not right away some strains can have more sourness acidity but that takes a while and needs oxygen.
You’re also gonna have to wait longer than a week or 2 if your bottling.

From what I’ve been able to gather from a few different forums, all Brett fermentations are about 90% done within 2-4 weeks and the last 10% of gravity points slowly drop over the course of a few months.

I’m planning on drinking this soon and not aging it. If I give this another few weeks before dry hopping and then use slightly less priming sugar than I otherwise would at bottling, I would think I’m fine and wouldn’t be risking bottle bombs or have the need for any extended aging prior to bottling.

This is my first time using brett as my primary strain so I’m just trying to make sure I’m not missing or overlooking something here.

[quote=“Lawbadger”]From what I’ve been able to gather from a few different forums, all Brett fermentations are about 90% done within 2-4 weeks and the last 10% of gravity points slowly drop over the course of a few months.

I’m planning on drinking this soon and not aging it. If I give this another few weeks before dry hopping and then use slightly less priming sugar than I otherwise would at bottling, I would think I’m fine and wouldn’t be risking bottle bombs or have the need for any extended aging prior to bottling.

This is my first time using brett as my primary strain so I’m just trying to make sure I’m not missing or overlooking something here.[/quote]

your in for bottle bombs if your just going to use “slightly less sugar” if you are going any route like this you have to very carefully look at your gravity, your proposed finished gravity and the volumes of CO2 wanted in bottles. It does not take much to create a bottle bomb with standard bottles .002-.003

Update –

I’ve been doing reading on all brett fermentations, especially those using Brett Trois, on The HomeBrewTalk forum, The Mad Fermentationist, Bear Flavored Ales, Bikes, Beers, and Adventures, and The Brett Project by Chad Y. of Crooked Stave. One thing to note is that it looks like Brett Trois acts as a typical sach yeast when used as the primary strain. From The Brett Project:

Pure culture fermentations conducted over a 35-day period with the primary pitching rate showed more time was needed for most of the strains. B. bruxellensis (BSI-Drie) was the only initial strain with an attenuation level comparable to what would be observed from fermentations conducted with Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

As I previously posted, I was down to 1.012 after three weeks. To give the brett a little more time to work, I gave the beer another week before I dry hopped and then an additional week before bottling. One comment from the above blogs was that dry hopping may help with dropping a few points if things weren’t already stable. So at five weeks in after having dry hopped, I was still holding steady at 1.012. To compensate for the brett potentially continuing to work, I carb’ed these on the lower end of the IPA spectrum at 2 volumes and used all my available bombers/belgian bottles (in addition to 12 ozers as well).

The sample I tried was great with the tropical fruit aromas and flavors and a mild sweet tropical funk aroma in the background. These should turn out very well once carb’ed and I can give some tasting notes if anyone is interested in an update.

would love to get some tasting notes, particularly on the mouthfeel/carbonation. Seems like there are differing opinions as to how Brett-only responds to bottle conditioning.

I just realized I had never posted my tasting notes for those of you that wanted to know how it turned out.

Appearance - golden amber pouring clear without any haze, slight carbonation leading to short lasting head with nice lacing.

Aroma - tropical fruit with background notes of stone fruit, brett funk not particularly prominent as it melds well with the hops.

Taste - tropical fruits with slight hop bitterness at the end, well balanced and no brett funk that you may expect.

Mouthfeel - nice carbonation, good body and not as dry or thin as you would think.

Overall - very smooth and drinkable, “hopheads” who prefer ipas year round and don’t particularly like sours or brett funk have enjoyed this, would brew again and maybe sub Nelson for the Chinook.

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