Despite the reputation I've gained over the years for brewing big/weird/sour beers sometimes I need to brew a simple batch so I have beer on hand to drink that I'm not trying to age. In this case I had the additional motivation building up enough yeast for my 10 gallon share of the pale braggot that will be going into one of our wine barrels next month. Two years ago I brewed a simple Extract Single that turned out crisp and satisfying, so I decided to adapt it into an all-grain recipe. I lowered the original gravity slightly to better suit the warm weather, but my efficiency was higher than expected so I ended up leaving out the .75 lbs of table sugar I had earmarked for the boil.
The better than expected efficiency may have been due in part to my more aggressive than usual water treatment. I added phosphoric acid and a small amount of calcium chloride to reduce the mash pH. Luckily my water is well suited for most gold-brown colored beers, so I usually only need to adjust the pH for very light or dark beers. I should probably get a pH meter that would take readings faster and more accurately than the Color pHast strips I've been using (I'm also interested in taking readings of my finished sour beers, which are below the 4.0-7.0 range of the pH strips).
I had to move this beer along rather quickly into bottles because I needed the yeast cake and didn't have any empty secondary fermentors, but I wanted to try adding Brett to a portion of the batch... Against my better judgement (waiting for a funky beer to ferment out completely before bottling) I decided to add Brett to two six-packs at bottling. After filling all of the bottles, and capping most of them, I put one bottling wand full of Brettanyomyces bruxellensis starter into each of the remaining bottles before capping.
My worry is that it doesn't take much additional attenuation to over-carbonate a beer (the fermentation of just .002-.003 is enough for full carbonation) so I am expecting this portion of the batch to eventually reach an explosive level. Ideally I should have used thicker bottles (as Orval does), but with standard 12 ounce bottles I'll be sampling the beer frequently and moving it to the fridge when the carbonation level becomes concerning.
Batch Size (Gal): 5.00
Total Grain (Lbs): 7.00
Anticipated OG: 1.048
Anticipated SRM: 2.6
Anticipated IBU: 24.2
Brewhouse Efficiency: 90 %
Wort Boil Time: 90 Minutes
100.0% - 7.00 lbs. German Pilsener
0.75 oz. Hallertauer Tradition (Pellet, 6.00% AA) @ 60 min.
0.50 oz. Hallertauer Tradition (Pellet, 6.00% AA) @ 5 min.
0.50 oz. Styrian Goldings (Pellet, 5.25% AA) @ 5 min.
0.50 Whirlfloc @ 15 min.
0.25 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 15 min.
WYeast 1214 Belgian Ale
Profile: Washington DC
Protein Rest 15 min @ 127
Sacch Rest 50 min @ 148 (Infuse)
Sacch II 10 @ 155 (Infuse)
Mash Out 5 min @ 166 (Infuse)
1 qrt starter made 6/25/11
Brewed 6/26/11 by myself
Added 2 g of CaCl and 3/4 tsp of phosphoric acid to the mash.
Batch sparged with water with 1 g CaCl and 3/4 tsp phosphoric acid.
Chilled to 68 F, pitched the starter which was just starting to show activity. Left at 65 F ambient to start fermenting in a bucket.
7/10/11 Bottled the 4.5 gallons with 3.5 oz of table sugar. FG 1.010 (79% AA, 5% ABV). Added 1 bottling want worth of Brett B starter to 12 of the bottles, will be interested to see how much time it takes for them to show that character. Left ~78 F to carbonate.
8/11/11 At one month in the bottle I was able to differentiate the two versions of the beer, but I was not able to pick which one had Brett.
5/7/12 The Brett'd version scored a 39.5 at NHC as a Belgian Specialty. Placed 2nd out of 55 beers. Snippets of the judges' notes.