Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Session Brett Belgian Pale

Orval is one of those beers that beer nerds love.  Dry, hoppy when fresh, funky when aged, complex but still drinkable etc... Bam Beer from Jolly Pumpkin is in the same realm, although it develops a bit more sourness as it ages and has a lower gravity/alcohol (much like the elusive Petite Orval, which may or may not just be watered down Orval depending on who you are talking to).  I combined the ideas of these beers to make a Brett spiked Belgian Pale that I'm hoping will be ready to drink in just a couple months.

The malt bill is pretty straight forward, mostly Pils with some Vienna for malty depth, and wheat malt for added head retention and a bit of body.  The hops were all Saaz, I even made an addition at 10 min (something I avoid in most funky beers) since I am only planning to let this one sit in secondary for two months before drinking.  I fermented it with the Belgian Ale (White Labs 550) and Brett B yeast cake from 1 gallon of Audrey's Amber.

Unlike most funky/sour beers I mashed this one pretty low to just give the Brett a small snack, hoping for some funky/rustic complexity without letting the beer get too funky.  I want this to be a beer that will be ready to put on tap in late summer and early fall. 

I may add some dry hops right before drinking, but I'll wait to see how the beer develops. 

Session Brett Belgian Pale

Recipe Specifics
Batch Size (Gal): 5.25
Total Grain (Lbs): 8.50
Anticipated OG: 1.042
Anticipated SRM: 3.5
Anticipated IBU: 32.1
Brewhouse Efficiency: 67 %
Wort Boil Time: 90 Min

52.9% 4.50 lbs. French Pilsener
23.5% 2.00 lbs. German Vienna Malt
23.5% 2.00 lbs. Wheat Malt

1.88 oz. Czech Saaz (Pellet, 3.50% AA) @ 60 min.
1.00 oz. Czech Saaz (Pellet, 3.50% AA) @ 10 min.

0.50 Whirlfloc @ 15 min.
0.50 Tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 15 min.

White Labs WLP550 Belgian Ale
White Labs WLP650 Brettanomyces bruxellensis

Water Profile
Profile: Carbon Filtered Washington DC

Mash Schedule
Sacch Rest 75 min @ 147

Brewed 6/5/10 with Peter

Batch sparged, run-off was a bit slow, but otherwise the brew was uneventful.

Added 2 g of gypsum to the kettle to boost the hops.

Chilled to 80 left in basement for 3 hours ~75 degrees. Shook for two minutes and pitched the remains of the 1 gallon of Brett B spiked Audrey's Amber.

Good strong fermentation after 12 hours. Looked pretty much fermented out after one1 week, but with a small krausen still sticking around.  Left aluminum foil on for the duration of primary fermentation.

6/22/10 Racked to a keg, gravity down to 1.006.  Topped off with CO2, but left in the basement for the Brett to do a bit of work.

1/13/11 The funk character overwhelms the rest of the beer pretty much.  Some malt shows through, should try the recipe again with a milder strain of Brett.


Ryan_PA said...

Ok, you may have given me an idea for my Father's Day Brew. I have a similar grist, different proportioned, 1.070 beer that I soured using the BugFarm culture. I think I will make a 1.048 beer either subbing sterling or styrian golds just because of personal preference. I have a healthy cake of Brett C I can blend with Abbey Ale. I may mash higher since the Brett C is less pronounced.

What temp are you fermenting at? Planning a secondary?

Bill DeBaun said...

Very excited about hearing how this turns out. This is what I was going for when I made an all-Brett C brown ale, but I don't think it's going to end up working like I'd hoped. If this works, I'll give this run a go.

slim chillingsworth said...

i might also try to brew this on sunday. i think i will do a 10 gallon batch and ferment half clean. thanks for the inspiration. are you going to switch out your kegerator lines when you tap this?

jaymo said...

I had a similar idea in mind earlier this year that I brewed at the end of April. I ended up using a Belgian Pils & Carahell grist, based on the Flanders Pale recipe in Wild Brews, but instead of a bug mix like Sparrow suggests I used the Wyeast Leuven special release, and a decent sized slurry of WY brett B & L taken from a friend's all-brett brew was pitched into the secondary. Saaz & a bit of Hallertauer. It is currently aging in the basement, but is due for a taste soon.

I'm also waiting on dry-hopping until I taste the finished result prior to bottling.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Glad this one seems to have been inspiring.

It is fermenting at ~75 ambient (my basement temp). I’m planning on doing a secondary in the keg for a couple months. Not sure if the Brett will have enough fuel to carbonate the beer, if not I may add a bit of sugar to keg prime.

I have enough room in my freezer for a third keg (and just got a CO2 distributor), so I’ll probably put this one and just pour out of a picnic tap. I actually did run a big blended sour through one of my taps and didn't have an issue serving a clean beer afterwards, but I gave the line a long soak in BLC line cleaner followed by Star-San.

Good luck on your batches.

Oblivious said...

Looking forward to see how this turns out as I am doing a very similar recipe and WLP550 yeast.

But was thinking of pitching some oval slurry in to a gallon or two to see how it turn out!

Rob Briscoe said...

I have a similar beer in secondary right now that is pils with a bit of caravienne and aromatic. I, too, used WLP550 and WLP650! At this point it had a really nice white, dusty pellicle on it. Should be ready to keg soon!

Cheers, Rob

Unknown said...

What do you think about doing this with ECY Bugfarm V?

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

The BugFarm has lots of lactic acid bacteria as well, so you'll get a sour beer. If you want to go that route I'd cut the hops down to ~15 IBUs, but otherwise it should be tasty as is.

Unknown said...

Got your book as a bday present a couple months back and started listening to the Sour Hour. You really got me pumped for making a sour beer. Starting with your Session Brett Belgian Pale recipe but using american 2-row, american malted wheat, and german dark munich for the grist (same %). I purchased WYEAST 3763 Roeselare Ale and no other yeast. Too sour? Missing other flavors w/o the BPA yeast? Thoughts? Any help is appreciated. Cheers! -Chris

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Roeselare really doesn't produce huge sourness, especially in a low OG beer with a substantial number of IBUs. It'll make a very different beer than this one though, which had no lactic acid bacteria. Just depends what your goal is.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the feedback. I'm looking for some sour character and some funk. I'll mash higher, skip the BPA yeast, and just go with Roe. I was planning to bump the grav a touch and increase the color with some brown sugar (1 lb). Just doing primary for 4-6 weeks and then kegging. This is truly an experiment and step into the sour/wild world. Will let you know what it tastes like a couple months. Prost!

Unknown said...

Hi. I've also just recently brewed this beer after having got a hold of your book. You've inspired me to brew some sours and also take much better brewing/tasting notes. I allowed the beer to ferment using the new wyeast belgian schelde ale for four days before pitching half a pack of wyeast brett B. I'm planning on leaving it for six months before packaging. How long should I expect it to take to completely ferment? Foolishly I didn't take a gravity reading before pitching the brett. Also curious, once the gravity is stable will brett character continue to develop after the fermentables are gone? Cheers , Steve

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Never try to predict the stock market or Brettanomyces!

Six months is likely plenty of time, but take a gravity reading at five months, and see if it is stable a month later.

Brett will continue to change the beer for years even after it is bottled. Maybe even especially after it is bottled. Not sure what it is about being under pressure, but Brett responds well.

Hope the batch turns out well!