Thursday, February 1, 2007

Mo' Betta Bretta

Based on my research of a beer called Mo' Betta Bretta originally brewed by Peter Bouckaert (of New Belgium) and Tomme Arthur at Pizza Port. It is now being brewed by the Lost Abbey Brewery as The Golden Rule.

The acidulated malt in the recipe was intended to replace a slight pre-boil Lactobacillus souring that was used in the original recipe. Brettanomyces takes lactic acid (which makes yogurt tangy) along with ethanol and turns them into Ethyl Lactate (fruity, buttery). If I used an adequate amount this ester should lend more complexity to the beer.

I aerated Mo Betta' with 60 seconds of pure oxygen, which is considerably more than my first Brett brew got. More oxygen dissolved in the wort at the start of the fermentation is supposed to cause the Brett to produce more acid.

This batch is also being fermented 20 degrees cooler (low 60's ambient) than the previous batch, which should force the Brett to ferment slower and theoretically create more interesting fermentation byproducts.

What I'm trying to say is this beer should be considerably funkier than my first 100% Brett brew.

The photo was taken less than 24 hours after pitching, apparently pitching onto a yeast cake gets a fast start even with wild yeast.

Mo' Betta Bretta

Recipe Specifics
Batch Size (Gal): 4.75
Total Grain (Lbs): 11.50
Anticipated OG: 1.061
Anticipated SRM: 4.9
Anticipated IBU: 10.7
Brewhouse Efficiency: 69 %
Wort Boil Time: 125 Minutes

8.50 lbs. Belgian Pilsener
1.00 lbs. Belgian Munich Malt
0.75 lbs. CaraFoam
0.75 lbs. Flaked Oats
0.50 lbs. Sauer(acid) Malt

6 grams (.2 oz) Magnum Pellets @ 50 minutes

1 Servomyces @ 10 min
.5 Wirlfloc @ 10 min

White Labs WLP645 Brettanomyces Claussenii (yeast cake)

Water Profile
Profile: Pale, Low Hop

Calcium(Ca): 65.0 ppm
Magnesium(Mg): 7.5 ppm
Sodium(Na): 15.0 ppm
Sulfate(SO4): 50.0 ppm
Chloride(Cl): 96.0 ppm
biCarbonate(HCO3): 23.0 ppm

Single Infusion for 60 minutes at 151

Brewed 1/31/07

Oatmeal boiled for 10 minutes with 1/2 gallon water to gelatinize before mashing.

The Sauer Malt was added at the start of the sparge so it wouldn't interfere with the mash pH.

Cooled to 63 degrees and oxygenated for 60 seconds while racking onto the yeast cake from the first Brett brew.

2/8/07 1.014 Not much funkier than the first brett brew, but it does have a little more sourness. Still pretty cloudy, not sure if that is just the oats or if it is the Brett.

2/11/07 Transferred 2 gallons to 1 gallon jugs for secondary, and 2 gallons on top of cherry puree (1 lb dried Montmorency cherries heated with Luigi Bosca Resera Pinot Noir to cover to 160 and steeped for 15 min, drained and then pureed with about 1 cup fresh wine.) The beer with the cherries quickly turned bright red.

2/12/07 Decided that it was a waste to leave the 1/4 gallon of SebastianP's Brett C in a fermenter alone, so I poured it into the Cherry fermenter. Gravity of the straight batch is down to 1.010 if the residual liquid in the yeast cake is any indication.

2/17/07 Sample of Cherry carboy gravity at 1.010, looks like any sugar the cherries added is gone. Light pink color with a mild cherry/funk nose, should smooth out as time goes by.

2/18/07 Added some US-56 to one of the plain jugs, looking to see how it effects carbonation and flavor in the finished beer.

2/28/07 Transferred off the cherries, still 1.010. Plain batch is tasting great and is down another point to 1.009.

3/10/07 Bottled, 2 oz of sugar for the 2 gallons of plain. The plain had 4 bottles "bottle hopped" centennial, mt hood, sterling, and simcoe. The cherry got about 2.25 oz of sugar for 2 gallons, the sugar colored slightly because some got caramelized on the sides of the pan.

4/17/07 Tasting of the cherry/wine half

7/21/07 Tasting of the plain half 

8/21/09 Final tasting of the plain half, still very tasty.


brendan said...


Did you get lactic Acid bacteria to produce some Lactic so the brett has can make Ethyl Lactate - ( which I think of as a tropical ester.. not so buttery, which would be the diacetyl?) - - or do you think there's Lactic Acid from the Acidulated malt?

I truely dig your site. You don't happen to live anywhere near nebraska do you?

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Nope, I'm living right outside Washington DC at the moment. I don't think I've even ever been to Nebraska, haha, glad you are enjoying my random postings.

No lactic acid bacteria in this one, at least here. Sauermalt is made by letting lactic acid bacteria sour the malt before it is dried. I was just counting on the acid on the grains to give me the twang. So far I'm not tasting too much tropical, but the beer is still pretty young. The buttery description of Ethyl Lactate was taken from Wild Brews, this is my first time ever trying to get it so I can't comment on how similar the character is to diacetyl.

In a couple of months I'm going to be involved with a swap and tasting with some other homebrewers who have all done 100% Brett beers. The guest panelist for the tasting is head brewer of Pizza Port/Lost Abbey Tomme Arthur, so I guess I'll get some good feed back on this beer if I end up sending it in.

Homebrewer Brian said...

It's been cool reading up on your experience because I have been wanting to do an all brett beer with B. Clausenii. I have a vial right now that I need to grow up to a pitchable amount. How did you go about growing up your brett by the way? I just brewed my first funky beer last weekend. I did a 10 gallon batch of Flander's Red.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

In the past I have used a few grams of chalk in the starter to buffer the acidity that Brett can create. However, for my starter of Brett A I just built it up like a regular starter and didn’t have an issue. Sorry I have been lax on replying to comments, I recently moved and was without internet access at home for a month while Comcast bumbled around. Good luck on the Flanders Red, I just tried a sample of my first attempt at the style and it is headed in the right direction.

Unknown said...

On going to try make this one with the cherries/wine adds. I'm not sure about the cherry puree make: you mean you heat some wine to 160f and then steep there the cherries for 15 min, after that you drain (so this wine turns out) and then you've pureed the pastorized cherries and added a cup of wine to the puree. Is this correct? In case it is why not to pasteurize the cherries with normal water? I guess i'm missing something and maybe i'm doing a stupid question but i just can't get out of it...

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

I'll note that I brewed this batch nearly eight years ago, so I likely wouldn't brew it the same way today. I wanted to rehydrate the dried cherries with something more interesting than water, thus the wine. However, I decided rather than adding the "spent" wine to the beer, I'd rather add "fresh" wine. If I was rebrewing this recipe I'd probably skip the heating all together and add the wine and cherries as is to the fermentor. Hope that helps!

Unknown said...

Thank you for your answer! Just finished reading your book and i'm just starting to get funky, so the 1st batch it'll be the "sebastian good damn" and the second will be this one. I really like your site and your book. Cheers from italy.