Monday, July 9, 2012

100% Brett Trois IPA Recipe

Beers fermented with only Brettanomyces (as opposed to the more traditional secondary fermentation following brewer's yeast) are starting to really gain some traction. There was an initial wave of excitement in 2004-2005 when Pizza Port (Mo' Betta Bretta) and Russian River (Sanctification) released two of the first 100% Brett beers. I started this blog not much after by posting a recipe for my first 100% Brett beer, a fruity low-gravity saison.

Great cold break, but it all ended up in the fermentor.Recently there seems to has been another wave of interest in 100% Brett beers, thanks in no small part to Chad Yakobson’s research and enthusiasm for the technique. Chad is fermenting almost all of his beers at Crooked Stave with a variety of Brett strains, most of which he has isolated from beers and wines. Rather than featuring funky Brett byproducts as the dominate flavor, he is making spiced, hoppy, and dark beers that gain fruity-complexity from the unique fermentation. It is also exciting to see the recent re-release of Mo’ Betta Bretta (I'm looking forward to trying the bottle Jacob picked up for me... assuming Peter and Tomme were joking about the pineapple, garlic, and oregano?).

The batch I brewed last weekend was inspired by one of my favorite 100% Brett beers, the 2010 New York ultra-collaborative Super Friends IPA. Brewed at Ithaca with help from the brewers of Captain Lawrence, Ommegang, Southampton, and Flying Fisher, it was hopped with Citra and fermented with BSI Brett brux var. Drie and smaller amounts of a few other strains. Bright and citrusy hops with a complementary fruity-funkiness made for a unique IPA. With the release of White Labs Brett brux Trois, their version of Brett Drie, I decided to brew something similar. Hopefully White Lab's strain has similar characteristics to the original, which was isolated from a bottle of Drie Fonteinen J&J Blauw at the behest of Adam Avery. It will be interesting to see, especially considering Chad identified two separate isolates in the BSI culture.

I played around with the hops a bit, adding some Centennial to the Citra for complementary citrus character, and a bit of Chinook to keep it from being too fruity. I liked the combination of Citra and Chinook in the second runnings American Bitter I brewed two years ago, but I wanted to reduce the resiny/grapefruit character from the Chinook. I added a half pound of acid malt after starch conversion to provide some lactic acid for the Brett to create the fruity ester ethyl lactate.

HopRocket, Therminator, and March pump in action.This batch was my first time using some new equipment, a HopRocket (hop back) and Therminator (plate chiller). In this setup the wort flows from the kettle, propelled by the March pump (mounted on the black tote), into the hops in the hop back, and finally through the plate chiller on the way to the fermentor. This configuration allows the hot wort to flow through whole hops before being immediately chilled. With warm (~85 F) ground water this time of year I usually rely on a pump recirculating ice water through my chiller to drop the wort the last few degrees, but this time I immersed my immersion chiller in a bucket of ice water to serve as a pre-chiller for the ground water. The wort only got down to 78 F (in just seven minutes though), a few hours in my spare fridge brought it down the rest of the way. I’ll do a more detailed write-up of my new chilling process once I make a few adjustments and get a bit more practice.

Great 100% Brett fermentation within 12 hours.The biggest challenge of fermenting with only Brett is growing enough cells to pitch. While suggestions vary, most brewers pitch somewhere between ale and lager cell counts. I bought from White Labs, so I had to grow 3 billion cells into close to 150 billion. A two stage starter on my stir-plate at around 80 F was enough to do the job in about 10 days. The 1.5 L starter had the beer rocking by the following morning at 66 F. This morning I moved the still slowly fermenting beer out of the “cold room” and into the basement where the temperature is in the mid-70s to help the Brett finish. In another week or two I’ll dry hop the beer and get it on tap as quickly as I can.

Super 100% Brett IPA

Recipe Specifics
Batch Size (Gal): 5.25
Total Grain (Lbs): 13.50
Anticipated OG: 1.064
Anticipated SRM: 4.3
Anticipated IBU: 96.5
Brewhouse Efficiency: 69 %
Wort Boil Time: 75 Minutes

70.4% - 9.50 lbs. Canadian Pale "2-Row"
22.2% - 3.00 lbs. German Wheat Malt
3.7% - 0.50 lbs. Cara-Pils Dextrine Malt
3.7% - 0.50 lbs. Acid Malt

A closeup of the bubbles at the start of fermentation.-----
5 ml        HopShot (Extract) @ 60 min.
1.50 oz. Centennial (Pellet, 8.50% AA) @ 60 min.
2.00 oz. Centennial Pellet (Pellet, 8.50% AA) @ 0 min.
1.00 oz. Citra (Whole, 10.00% AA) @ 0 min.
1.00 oz. Chinook (Whole, 13.00% AA) @ Hop-Back
1.00 oz. Citra (Whole, 10.00% AA) @  Hop-Back
2.50 oz. Citra (Whole, 10.00% AA) @ Dry Hop
1.50 oz. Centennial  (Pellet, 8.50% AA) @ Dry Hop
1.00 oz. Chinook (Whole, 13.00% AA) @ Dry Hop

0.50 - Whirlfloc @ 15 min.
0.50 tsp - Yeast Nutrient @ 15 min.

WLP644 - White Labs Brettanomyces bruxellensis Trois

Water Profile
Profile: Pliny the Water

Mash Schedule
Sacch Rest - 60 min @ 153 F

6/22/12 300 ml starter of WL Brett Trois, started.

6/28/12 Stepped up to 1.6 l (pitched .1 L into Berliner weisse)

7/1/12 Brewed with Keith

4 gallons distilled plus 5 gallons filtered DC tap water. 10 g gypsum, 3 g CaCl.

Added acid malt for the last 20 minutes of the mash since the pH was already low enough without it.

Fly sparged into Peter's keggle. Hot break.

One bag of ice was not enough for the pre-chiller for the plate chiller, only got the temperature down to 78. Put in the fridge for four hours to bring it down the rest of the way.

65 F ambient temp for fermentation.

No apparent fermentation the next morning, but when I shook the Better Bottle there was a huge CO2 release that cause it to blow off.

7/9/12 Moved out of cold room to 75 F to help finish fermentation.

7/12/12 Gravity down to 1.010, fermentation appears about finished. Big fruity flavor, hard to distinguish hops from the Brett.

7/22/12 Kegged with the bagged dry hops. Extra 3 cups put into a plastic bottle with 6 Chinook cones, force carbed.

8/23/12 What a terrific, tropical-fruity, balanced, quenching, summer IPA!

7/2/13 This recipe was reincarnated as Modern Times Neverwhere!


Jeffrey Crane said...

Nice Summary on this yeast and its history. I look forward to see how your results compare to what I've experienced.

Do you think this beer has a chance to make it into the Modern Times beer lineup?

Ben Quinn said...

Could you recommend a good commercial bret beer for a beginner? Been brewing awhile but never really dove into the bret beers and I'd like to try a good example.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

We’ll see how it turns out, but I like the idea of doing some quicker funky beers to put on tap while the barrel program is getting up and running. I could also see us doing smaller 100% Brett versions of some of our beers, as The Bruery does.

Are you talking about any beer with Brett, or a 100% Brett beer? Orval is the classic beer for Brett bruxellensis bottle conditioning. As far as 100% Brett beers go, I think the recently release "Brett Beer" from New Belgium is the most widely distributed (although I have heard mixed things about the flavor). Depending on where you live there may be others available.

Matt said...

I'd like to talk to you about a better way to chill. It is my least favorite part of my brew day and if I could get it down to under 10 minutes I would be thrilled.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

I’m brewing a hoppy American wheat this Saturday if you’d like to come by to see the new cooling rig in action.

Ben Quinn said...

Thanks. I'll start with the Orval. I've seen it but never tried it.

Anonymous said...

I love my therminator. I recycle the cooled wort back into the kettle. It takes me 15 minutes to cool 13 gallons from 212 edgrees down to tap water temperature. I then let all of the hot and cold break settle out before draining the wort into my fermentor. I like to have as clean a wort as possible. You metioned that you fill your fermenter directly from the therminator. Are you concerend at all about the hot break, cold break, and possible hop debris creating off flavors in your brew? It would be an interesting experiment to ferment half of a batch with hot and cold break and the other half without and compare the differences.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the blog.

Could you clarify when one should use a stir plate for propping up different bugs?

Also, what guidelines in general regarding oxygenation should one follow when propping up, or fermenting with, pure brett or mixed cultures?

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

For other cases I've considered doing something similar, but returning the wort to the kettle would defeat the purpose of using a hopback. I bagged the kettle hops, and the whole hop-back hops did a pretty good job of filtering out the hot break, but it was a lot of cold break in the fermentor. I’ve never had an issue transferring hops or break material to primary though. As far as I'm aware most professional brewers allow the cold break into the fermentor.

Brett is a yeast, so I treat it just like Saccharomyces. It does take a bit longer to grow, so I just leave it on the stir-plate for a few days longer for each step. Lacto and Pedio do not need oxygen, so I just grow them without aerating. This post gives more details on maintaining cultures, but let me know if you have any questions it doesn’t cover.

scott charles said...

Interesting. I had no idea Orval was anything other then a typical Belgian ale. I need to do another tasting! And read up a bit.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

That is one of the great things about Orval. Fresh it is actually pretty clean and hoppy (it is dry hopped), but with age it develops wonderfully rustic/funky flavors. Really the classic "Brett finished" beer.

Anonymous said...

Great information; I have a vial of WLP644 waiting to go into an all Brett beer this weekend. Would underpitching the Brett cause off flavors or would it just cause a longer fermentation?

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Under pitching will lead to more cell growth, which will create more byproduct. However, I’d be worried about the long lag time for pitching out of a tube (compared to an undersized starter). I remember reading about someone pitching a tube of White Labs Brett into five gallons of wort and not seeing activity for 17 days. In that time you could get the growth of all sorts of unwanted microbes. The Brett also wouldn't be healthy and you could get under-attenuation as a result.

If you want more “classic” Brett character, I’d do a mixed fermentation with brewer’s yeast and Brett with a long aging period.

Good luck!

Jeff said...

Mike, it may have been my blog you read about the 17 day lag on.
My first attempt was amazing and is still the best beer I have ever made. My second attempt using the one vial pitch method resulted in a beer full of Vynl like phenols, its been sitting for a while and it doesn't look promising. I think a small starter may give the fruit, or maybe some acid malt that Brett can convert into ethyl lactate.

Anonymous said...

I ended up making a 1l starter. I turned off the stir plate after a day and after a few hours it looks like the Brett is still in suspension, about 7/8ths of the volume. There is only a small layer on the bottom of the flask. I am going to add in another 0.5l of wort today and then it will be pitched on Sunday.

Thanks for the advice.

lylekarsen said...

Wondering how this beer turned out for you? YMMV and all but I had an extremely active fermentation within a day of pitching my 644 vial. Wasn't a huge saison, about 1055, but it didn't produce any noticeably different smells during fermentation when I racked another slightly stronger wort onto it afterwords. Mainly I felt like they undersold the solvent character because that was certainly dominating and mango or pineapple in my experience but I don't worry at all about things like this since I leave beer in relatively open fermentations and skim them pretty regularly the first few days. Better out than in. The yeast I've worked with that compares the most favorably in terms of its quick initial burst of fermentation along with a tediously slow floc. process would be DuPont saison dregs.

Your recipe is intriguing and I'd be very interested in making a beer like this using some of these WLP644 dregs so I could enjoy some of this strains' results before my bottles of saison are ready to try next spring.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

This batch just went onto gas last weekend. My first impression of the still under-carbonated beer is of pineapple juice in the aroma. Bright, fresh, tropical, fruity, juicy etc. The flavor might be slightly too bitter, but that may be the hop particulate. With the big citrusy hops though it is hard to say for sure what aromatics are from the fermentation though.

I’m planning to use some of the slurry from this batch to prime a Belgian single I’ll bottle in a couple weeks.

Did you pitch a vial without a starter? If so I’m not surprised that there were some off-flavors (although I’m surprised how quickly it started fermenting), these vials are really intended to pitch along with or following a brewer’s yeast strain.

lylekarsen said...

If I wasn't clear what I meant to say is that I didn't notice major differences in what I would consider on-flavors for the type of beer I was going for, i.e. more Isovaleric than Caprylic/Butyric acids, between the batch I pitched with the vial and the following batch made on its cake. Unfortunately I was racking my second beer yesterday and that one has developed another issue I've not previously encountered that tastes a bit like the oxidative yeasts to me, although its novelty clouds my ability to perform a very accurate sensory analysis. I believe I left it out too long in a bucket in this hot, bacterial-laden atmosphere. I should emphasize that I like to brew in a fairly rustic manner- I live on an organic farm in TN and grow a good bit of my own base malt and also some cascade and fuggles. I generally ferment open in buckets with lids lightly resting on top of the buckets, then close the bucket after the beer is mostly done (depending on style) and leave it for a week or a few (again style dependent) and then I will go ahead and transfer to either one of my ten gallon wine barrels or a carboy in my ~60F cellar. I carbonate farmhouse, British, and wheat beers cask-style in corny kegs with C02 for extra gas if I need it as well as dispensing pressure (I like to get belgian beers/hefes *really* carbed). My first Brett. experiments were done with my own fruits as inoculant for a couple years, but this summer I decided to try out some of the commercial non-sach yeast cultures as well as culturing a few of my favorite wild yeasts from commercial breweries and while looking for some information came upon your site and several others out there as well. I have to add that I attribute much of the quality of my beer to having access to a delicious and totally pure supply of water along with top-quality ingredients.

I mash my farmhouse-family beers along a slightly modified version of the DuPont schedule outlined in Markowski because it works for me- it allows me to get a complex mash without actually doing anything but stirring every so often. I don't really care about low mash efficiencies because they are highly fermentable/digestible and the folks who made these 200 years ago had under-modified grains and a poor understanding of the science of brewing, but I believe the beer was in many cases better than it is today. I basically try to think about what would make German lager brewers mad, and then do all those things! Another goal of mine is to produce beer with a minimum of effort and expense. Cost of my brewing rig is only two kettles and the barely modified Xtreme. I do usually create yeast starters but in this case I wanted to see the yeast achieve a very full expression of its organic acids and esters. Unfortunately, its obvious that I'll need to close off my fermentation schedule and/or tighten up my sanitation practices for using Brett. yeasts in isolation. As I'm sure you're aware there are several examples of beers which are deliberately underpitched for the development of the acids/esters I was hoping to produce (Ethyl Isobutarate, Ethyl Isovalerate, 4-vinyl-guiacol, etc.) and that was the main reason I didn't want to build up a culture (I also wanted to have under and over pitched examples of the yeast in beer for sensory anaylsis so that I could start zeroing in on my optimum pitching rate which can be very different among ale yeast strains IMO). Another one of the reasons I wanted to try some new Brett. cultures was that I had grown accustomed to the species which seem to inhabit both the air when I've left beer exposed and my unwashed but clean fruit directly placed into fermenting beer (they are different, but similar- the oxygen works well to produce Old Ale/Porter infections).

lylekarsen said...

Although the second batch I made onto the relatively fresh yeast cake developed an undesirable contaminant that I mentioned earlier, I'm currently quite happy with the underpitched beer I made first which is also in secondary. It was made on June 17th, about 1045-ish, and after a week two pounds of strawberries and one pound of raspberries were added (strawberries were frozen so they provided no additional yeast). This confirmed another suspicion that I had about these yeasts which is that, while purity is a desirable component of commercial beer because of its repeatability, this is at the sacrifice of the indescribably rustic loveliness of beers produced with the artisanal blends of yeast which were the norm before Pasteur and co. Anyhow I was really wondering if anyone had gotten the sort of solventy, 4-ethyl-phenol flavors that turned up the second time around, and this post was all I could find to triangulate my experiences before deciding whether or not to invest another beer on this still unknown yeast. So thanks again, I'm certainly looking forward to reading about your future brewing endeavors as well as how this particular brew turns out. I never tried to put too much hops in any of these wild beers because of the insane attenuation and the mouth-feel impact a lot hops might impart- its also just a matter of general preference that I seem to prefer "hoppy" beers 15-25 IBUs lower than most other people seem to like the. Perhaps I am a "super taster" for hops, or I just don't care for some of the newer varieties/quantities being used as much as others, I don't really know. For example I would brew your recipe minus the hop back and with half the hops, maybe a little more than half on the finishing side but probably with something like Liberty. Brett. Trois did produce fairly complete attenuation in the 90-95% range on my end, did you have the same experience?

I'm also glad to see people taking such a professional interest in brewing these great beers in our humble but rapidly expanding wild brewing culture State-side. Its certainly of great interest and mighty fun for those of us who are confirmed amateurs such as myself. Sorry about the long winded reply!

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

I think many of the best ideas and result are born from restrictions and frugality. Sounds like you have quite the brewing method, glad to you are capable of making beers you really enjoy! Having all of that great grain/hops/fruit is a big advantage, hopefully as homebrewing and craft brewing grow there will be more catering to brewers looking for the best ingredients.

This batch only attenuated to about 85%, probably thanks to the moderately high mash temperature and CaraPils. The beer has a firm bitterness, but I don’t think it is excessive. It certainly could use a bit more body, but I wouldn’t call it thin. The flavor has a huge pineapple flavor, really tropical. Hard to tell though exactly what is from the Brett, and what is from the aggressive hopping.

Brett pitching rates are a really interesting topic that hasn’t been well covered or explored. I know Chad Yakobson has been backing down his pitching Rates at Crooked Stave, but so far I’ve been happy pitching on the high end in terms of flavor and fermentation rate. Good luck!

ivano harris said...

How's the beer doing? Tried my hand at something like this recently, but used largely Nelson and tried to avoid overly tropical hops so that I might be able to better delineate between what the hops and yeast brought.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

It is sitting on tap, should be ready to review by next week. It is super tropical (pineapple) in the nose, hard to pinpoint exactly what is from the hops and the yeast.

Good luck on your batch!

Fred Brown said...

How is the chilling set up doing? Curious to hear more about it.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

It works pretty well, but with my warm summertime tap water it is a bit of a hassle. I had to replace some fittings to make things easier, but the next time I use the system I'll do a more complete write up.

Anonymous said...

So I just made an IPA on 9/13 using just the 644 vial with no starter. I had solid fermentation going within 15 hours at 70F. Today(9/17) fermentation had slowed quite a bit and gravity is down to about 1.030 from 1.064. Do you think given another week this should come down quite a bit more?

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

It should come down a bit, but you really under-pitched the ideal amount of Brett. White Labs packages contain less than 3 billion cells when fresh (pitching more like 150 billion would have been my target). Never pitched one of their Brett packages without a starter or additional yeast, so hard to predict how low it will go. Best of luck!

Adam Mc said...

Big krausen after 24 hrs pitching a 4L starter.

Am I reading your notes right, no 0 min, all hop back?

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

No, there was both a flame-out addition (labeled 0 min.)and hop-back. If you don't have a hop-back you can do a hop-stand for 20 minutes with the 0 minutes addition and then add the hop-back hops when you start chilling.

Petter said...

Hello Mike!

I'm making a similar beer, 100 % brett with Brux Drie Trois.

I don't have any acidulated malt, but I have food grade lactic acid. Is it a good idea to add some, for the brett to work with? If so, any idea of how much, and when to add it (mash, boil, fermenting)?


The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Certainly wouldn't hurt, but it would be fine without it. 1/2 tsp would probably be enough. You could add it to the mash if your pH was too high, the sparge, or the boil.

John Evens said...

Hi Mike,

I was wondering if you could give me some advice on saving this brew. I saved the dregs of the New Belgium Brett Beer (wasn't able to find out what strain it was). I wasn't sure what to do with it but this 100% brett IPA sounds like an interesting concept. However, I miscalculated the bittering hops (I used Chinnok pellets instead of hop shots) so the bitterness is a little high. I'm down to 1.010 and actually it's not tasting as bad as I'd feared, but do you have ideas on what I might do to counteract the bitterness? If I try to add anything sweet, the Brett will just chew it up, right? So should I treat with metabisulphite first. I have some natural lemon juice from my mother in law and wondered it that might help balance it out. I guess I could blend a small glass to get an idea of what it would taste like. Any input would be appreciated. Thanks!

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

First off, as far as I have read, the New Belgium Brett Beer was pasteurized (accidentally) on its way to bottles. So I'm not sure what it is that you cultured? I know New Belgium pasteurizes and then re-yeasts with brewer's yeast for many of their sour beers, not sure if that was the case on this one though.

If it is brewer's yeast (how does it taste?) you could add some maltodextrin to add to the sweetness. Acidity actually enhances/replaces bitterness in low levels, and can make for an acrid combination at higher levels. Blending is another viable option, if you have a lower IBU beer (or one with a smoother bitterness) that would pair well.

Hope that helps!

John Evens said...

My main reason for believing that it is at least partially Brett yeast is that every step up I have done the activity has been slow. The New Belgium Brett Beer wasn't especially sour so not sure how my beer should taste at this early stage. I racked 2/3rds of it onto some blueberries I had in the freezer. I had not other use for the berries and this beer can't get any worse so I figured I'd put the two together and see what happens. The other 1/3rd I left plain so we'll see if it sours over time.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Certainly could be. Brett on its own really doesn't make much acidity, one of the big misconceptions about what a 100% Brett Beer should taste like.

Let me know how they turns out!

Paul said...

Im going to use this yeast on a MiniIPA that I am doing. I have wanted to do a Brett beer. This 1.032 beer should be a fun little experiment. The flavors that you describe sound awesome! Here is my little experiment...

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Good luck. My only worry on a low gravity 100% Brett beer would be mouthfeel, without the glycerine that ale yeast produces. Let me know how it turns out!

Paul said...

I will! Are you thinking it will be to thin? Im not a Brett genius.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

It depends on what you want, it'll be light and bright. I tend to use less attenuative strains in low gravity beers or saison strains, which are high glycerol producers (which adds mouthfeel).

Paul said...

Duly noted. Thank you.

Pbeau said...

I'm considering brewing my first Brett beer and was wondering about the equipment I use to ferment and dispense from. Should I plan for Brett only fermenter, siphon, kegs, etc? Or is it really just a concern with bacteria infected beers? Do you replace your tap lines once a brett beer keg has kicked?

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

I didn't always, but now I separate pretty much all of my post-boil equipment. If you don't be very careful about cleaning and sanitizing. I usually pass my old "clean" gear onto my sours when it gets scratched or discolored.

I have a keg in my kegerator that is on a party tap that gets any sour beers I keg. Considering changing that configuration as the tap has a tendency to drip, probably best to avoid having the non-brewer's yeast microbes covering the outside of the kegs. Also FYI, Brett is a yeast, not a bacteria.

Good luck!

Pbeau said...

Yes, thank you! I guess I'll look into a picnic tap for that keg, or install a perlick tap specifically for brett beers! Thanks for the reply and for a fantastic blog!

Drew said...

Generally speaking, with an all Brett fermentation in a beer like this, is there an approximate FG (or fg range) you're looking for before bottling/kegging or is this more like Brett in the secondary where the gravity will continue to drop over time and you're looking for consecutive stable gravity readings? I'm curious as this is the first time I've used Brett as my primary strain.

I ended up brewing a tweaked extract version of this three weeks ago (og 1.052) and measured 1.012 this past weekend. Things tasted great and I'm anxious to dry hop and bottle, but if the gravity will continue dropping I'd prefer to avoid potential bottle bombs.

Anonymous said...

I'm interested in brewing this but as far as I know, all three brew shops in Brooklyn sell Wyeast. Is Wyeast 5112 equivalent to WLP 644 or are the strains substantially different in character?

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

They are the same species, but their characters are very different. Brett Brux var. Trois (aka Brett Drie) is very fruity compared to the isolates that both Wyeast and White Labs market as Brett bruxellensis. You could certainly give it a shot, the the result will be funkier (for better or worse).

OpenGlobeBrewer said...

So I just brew a riff on this recipe and vastly overshot my mash temp, mashing at 160 by mistake. My assumption is that Brett trois should be able to eat the long chain sugars anyway and that this shouldn't matter too much for this yeast compared to regular yeast. Is this a valid assumption in your view?

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

The biggest issue is that it'll slow the fermentation. The Brett will most likely dry the beer out eventually (although not as much as it would with a lower mash temperature), but the longer carbohydrates will increase the time it takes. Make sure the gravity is close to stable before dry hopping to preserve the fresh hop aromatics.

tom gagner said...

I bought the B. Trois right after reading this recipe, and plan to brew it Saturday. I haven't made a starter, I seen pitching just the straight tube might take awhile for fermentation. I want the tropical fruit to this beer, can I get away with a quick starter tomorrow, or should I pitch this, with US05?

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Brett takes about a week to reach maximum cell density in a starter, very slow compared to brewer's yeast (and you are starting with about 1-2% of the cells you really need)! A quick starter won't hurt, but it doesn't sound like you'll have enough for a safe primary fermentation.

You can pitch with US-05,but it will result in a different character in the finished beer. The Brett won't be there in high enough numbers to make a big impact during primary, so it'll do it's work after the highly attenuative American ale yeast. Taking compounds it releases and making new ones. Not saying it'll be a bad beer, just different.

tom gagner said...

Thanks! I ended up making a starter with a cup of DME and about half a growler of water friday night. I brewed it Saturday, and the starter had a thin krausen. I ended up pitching it Sunday morning, and by Monday afternoon, there's about a 1 1/2 krausen, and airlock activity. Can't wait to try it.

Juan said...

First off, thank you for the hard work you do keeping hhis blog up! It has been a great resource for me ever since I stumbled on it. So, I brewed a variation of this recipe about two weeks ago. I used Brett C3 I got from BKYeast and built up a 1.5L starter. The day after brewing I had lots of activity in my blow off tube and this carried on for about a week before slowing down (ferm temps at 72). For the past 5 days it has been stuck at about 1.030, even though there is bubbling about every 4 or 5 seconds. I am assuming that although I built up a starter, I didnt wind up growing enough yeast as needed. So now I am wondering if I should just sit back and wait it out and move on to worrying about something else, or grow up a starter of Brett Trois and pitch that to help finish this thing up. Any recommendations?

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

I have Dmitri's cultures (at Modern Times), but I haven't used them yet. He'd probably be a better resource in terms on the expected behavior of those strains than I am.

That said, how long did you allow the starter to grow? What was the base beer?

If it was still bubbling, I'd give it another week or two on its own to do its thing. If it still hasn't dropped, then consider pitching another strain.

Juan said...

my base beer was pretty much identical to yours, with the exception that I used Pilsner malt instead of the Canadian 2 row and my quantities were a bit higher to make up for the lower efficiency of my equipment. And I built my starter up over 10 or 11 days.

I will shoot Dmitri a message and see if he has any insight.

emmur0 said...

I brewed a 1.060 IPA with Brett Trois on 8/10/2013 and it's made it's way down to 1.020. I would've expected the gravity to be around 1.012ish. Made a 2 step starter for 14days before brew day. Grist was:

8 lbs Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM)
4 lbs Wheat Malt, Pale (Weyermann)
1 lbs Oats, Flaked (1.0 SRM)
1.25 oz Pacific Jade [14.70 %] - Boil 60.0
0.50 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 15.0 mins)
1 Wort Chiller (Boil 15.0 mins)
8.0 oz Corn Sugar (Dextrose) [Boil for 15 min]
2.00 oz Galaxy [14.00 %] - Aroma Steep 30.0 min Hop 8 0.0 IBUs
1.50 oz Motueka [7.00 %] - Aroma Steep 30.0 min Hop 9 0.0 IBUs

Mashed at 153F and fermented at 73 for almost 3wk.

Think another pitch of Trois would bring her down to 1.012?

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

I'm surprised too. I would double check your thermometer to make sure you aren't mashing a few degrees hotter than you think.

Might be time for some Wyeast 3711 to finish things out?

Eric said...

Two questions about the amount of yeast you pitched. First, you mentioned that fresh White Lab vials have about 3 billion cells, but their website says they have between 70-140 billion cells:

Also, what about your target of 150 millions cells? Mr. Malty suggests about 230 billion cells for 5.25 gallons of a 1.064 ale and 310 billion for a hybrid. Just wondering how you do your calculations. I'm brewing up something similar so I appreciate your insight. Thanks!

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

The ~100 billion cells are what is in a standard White Labs tube of brewer's yeast, not their Brett cultures. Take a look at tubes of each side-by-side and you'll see how much less sediment is in a Brett tube compared to the standard. Their Brett are intended to pitch into secondary, and their cell counts are perfect for that!

I tend to think Mr. Malty suggested pitches are on the high end of the range. In this case I made the largest starter I could (just ordered a 5 L flask), and went with that. You could certainly pitch more (as some brewers suggest), but as long as you're pitching at least close to an ale rate, you should be fine.

Eric said...

Yikes, I had no idea the Brett cultures had a lower cell count, but you're absolutely right, the Brett one did have less sediment. Thanks for the info. Any thoughts on his stir plate growth rate vs. Kai Troester's? If I go by Kai, my 2L starter of White Labs Brett C would have finished up with about 280 billion cells, which should be more than enough, but Jamil's math puts me at about 35 billion. By the way, a yeast math post from you would be really interesting.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Honestly you'd be better talking to Chad Yakobson, or taking a look at his thesis. I've never done a cell count, so not my area of expertise. I do know Brett grows slower than Sacch, so give your starter plenty of time. 2L on a stir plate, regardless of the exact count, should be plenty.

Mark Wingert said...

I'm planning on brewing this recipe this weekend. I was wondering what your Pliney the Water profile looks like. I am planning on building my water from scratch for this batch, so I was wondering what concentrations you would recommend. Thank you in advance for your advice!

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Rather than give you my water profile, I'll give you my parameters: minimal carbonate and sodium, at least 50 PPM calcium, ~100-150 PPM chloride (especially important in a 100% Brett beer as it adds body), and 125-175 PPM sulfate. I don't worry about magnesium too much but ~30 PPM is about as high as I'd go.

Best of luck!

Brad said...

Truly inspiring Mike. Cannot wait for your book! Already have my eye on a 100% Brett IPA this year. I noticed the Modern Times Neverwhere recipe on BeerSmith's recipe site is different from yours, mainly missing quite a few IBUs as well as having no late-boil hops. You mentioned with this brew you were unsure of where the fruits were coming from (hops or yeast) so the glaring discrepancy has me wondering which one to pursue. Any idea?

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

I think you're better off with the homebrewed version recipe. It was a bit tropical-hoppier than the production MT batch, which had more funky-Brett-pineapple (the hoppier the better for my tastes). Many of the recipes' flameout additions were reduced during scaling to combat excessive bitterness (commercial batches stay in the isomerization range much longer during whirpooling and inline chilling than homebrew scale batches). Best of luck!

LAC said...

Thanks for the great recipe! Recently brewed an all Citra version which turned out very nice. Now fermenting a bier de garde trois from the harvested yeast.

MdYohe said...

You posted a recommended water profile for the 100% Brett Trois IPA. Could you please go through how/why you decided to use that profile?

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

It's pretty much the standard water profile I use for hoppy beers. It works for me and my local water. I'd suggest trying a similar profile on a recipe you've brewed before and tasting for yourself if the adjustment is worthwhile.

CRUSADER1612 said...


The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

If the gravity is stable, I'd aim for the same carbonation (with the same priming rate) that I would for a clean IPA - 2.3-2.4? It is very risky to bottle earlier and assume additional Brett fermentation. You might end up with under-carbonated beer - or bottle bombs! If you rebrew, you'll know where fermentation is likely to stop, but I'd still rather see a constant gravity for a week!

Best of luck!

Richard Rossi said...

Hey Mike. I recently brewed a Brett IPA very similar to this. 9 days into primary, gravity was down to 1.018 from 1.076 so I upped the temp from the lower 70s to the mid to upper 80s to help finish it out. I had to put it in a tub of "warm" water in order to do this hence the big temp change. As of day 12, it's at 1.012 and smelling super tropical but the taste is very "hot". Possibly fusel? It was only in the upper temp ranges for no more than 8-12 hours at a time. I know that it is very early and I shouldn't get carried away but I just wanted your opinion on this. Thanks

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

So the temperature was swinging up and down? That tends to be less than ideal for yeast health and fermentation quality. Better to ramp up and then leave at a constant high temperature.

What temperature are you sampling it at? Drinking a young 8% ABV at 75-80F could likely make it taste "hot" even if it was low in fusels.

David Goodlin said...

I was considering brewing this beer, and following it with a Blood Orange Wheat.

My thought is to brew the BOW with Sac and then racking it onto the yeast cake from the Brett IPA and letting it age for 6 months or so.

Should I secondary the IPA and then rack the BOW on the secondary cake or just go with the primary?

You think I'll get some sour out of the BOW?

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Turns out WL Brett Trois isn't actually Brettanomyces (details here). Still great for primary fermentation, but I never thought it was a great secondary strain and this partly explains why. If you used another Brett strain for the IPA, I'd only re-pitch a small portion of the primary yeast cake (a tablespoon of thick slurry would be plenty). No need to secondary an IPA, even one primary fermented with Brett.

Good luck!

Oblivious said...

As Trio's is a sacc, I presume we can treat it like another years for pitching rates?

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Even though Trois is Sacch, I'll say that I've had good results pitching towards the high end of the range.

You'd also still ideally make a two stage starter because the vials come with ~3% of the cells in their normal tubes of brewer's yeast.

Oblivious said...

Ak ok I might have to do a sep up starter.

But since it a sacc, I suppose we can use all our normal equipment

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Probably, although it may still be a bit wild. I've bottle conditioned with it and gotten some fruity-funky flavors.

Brett Benes said...

Since I don't have a hopback, should I just move all the hopback hops to flameout?

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

I'd add the flame-out hops, wait 15-20 minutes then add the hop-back addition and wait 15-20 more before force chilling. That'll give you a better range of aromatics. Best of luck!

Brett Benes said...

There's also no flavor hop additions, any reason in particular?

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

I find that the hop-stand addition (at flame-out, left for 20-30 minutes before chilling) is the best way to get the saturated hop flavor I'm looking for. Almost all of my hoppy beers don't get any hops between bittering and flame-out. I'd you haven't tried it, give it a shot!

abrouwers said...

I've brewed something really similar to this recipe a couple summers back, and loved it! I was thinking of doing a smaller beer, using your vienna malt concept as the base. Do you think that would do well, or would the result be a bit too much body? I'm trying to wrap my brain around the balance of bitterness, maltiness (as a session grade beer), and the tartness from the brett trois strain.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Should be a fine combination. Often I shy away from making beers with Brett too toasty (because of the additive effect with tetrahydropyridine), but since Brett Trois isn't actually Brett it should be fine.

RussF said...

Hi Mike,
Thinking of doing this but using The Yeast Bay's Funktown Pale Ale yeast, hoping that the Conan and Brett combination will throw out that peachy/fruity flavour. Do you think this would work well or worth sticking with the Brett Trois?

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

My understanding is that the Brett in Funktown is "Brett" Trois. Certainly could work, but I prefer 100% Brett fermentations for IPAs. My goal is to go from grain to glass as quickly as possible to enjoy the big fresh hop aroma. A mixed fermentation will need more time to display the Brett character.

Michael Maze said...

I have a vial of the 644 in my fridge and I was thinking about doing a kettle-soured Gose and dry hopping it with some Simcoe (saw something somewhere about piney gose and got inspired...). Do you think the 644 could handle starting primary at the lower PH? Would simcoe and the fruity esters clash in your opinion?


The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Maybe Freigeist Geisterzug Gose or Bayerischer Bahnhof Pineus Gose? Surprised there are two German gose brewed with spruce/pine!

It depends on the Simcoe, some is really mango-forward. I think fruit-on-fruit works better than anything too pine-resin leaning, but it all depends on your tastes! I wouldn't worry about the pH unless you are pushing it really sour.

Brett Benes said...

I brewed this last year and plan to give it a go again using some dregs I built up from a bottle of Crooked Stave Hop Savant. Last time I did think it was a little heavy on the pineapple/mango, so in your American Sour Beers book you mention for more of a West Coast style to use Columbus, SImcoe, and Amarillo in similar quantities. I want to give this a go, but was wondering which hops to sub for which? ie which for bittering, etc? Thanks!

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

I'd bitter with Columbus and use all three in roughly equal amounts for aroma. Pretty similar to this batch!

Dylan Austin said...

Now that the confusion regarding WLP644 is clear, would you expect same fermentation timetable for WLP648 when making a 100% Brett IPA. If FG stablizes after only a month in primary is it safe to bottle, or fear of bottle bombs should it sit longer?

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

With a big enough starter it should finish out in a similar amount of time. Once the gravity stabilizes, it shouldn't start dropping again!

Gregor said...

This is great, Thanks for all your great experiments!
I'm planning on making something like this soon but I live overseas where ingredients are hard to come by. I'm having my friend mail me some Yeast Bay Amalgemation Brett soon that I'll use. But acid malt is impossible to get here and getting lactic acid is expensive. Do I need the acid?
Also, I'm going to have to switch up the hops due to availability, you said you added Chinook from keeping it from being too fruity. I've never used 100% Brett before, if I just use a regular IPA mix would it maybe be too fruity? You think some southern hops would work well? (I got some Waimea, Dr. Rudi, and Vic's secret)

Thanks again!

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

A little lactic acid is nice to give the Brettanomyces a substrate for producing the fruity ester ethyl lactate. Not a huge deal if you leave it out, but you could sour a cup or two of wort with Lactobacillus from yogurt, probiotics etc. and add that at the end of the boil?

Sadly haven't used any of those three hop varieties yet, but you can certainly use whatever combo of hops suits you. The Brett will tend to shift things in a fruitier direction, so adding something a bit piney-dank is something I often do for IPAs with or without Brett!

Brian McCauley said...

Interested to hear your thoughts about this beer/yeast strain now that you know it's not Brett. What scenario would you use it again? Looks like attenuation was still very good. Was that attenuation enough that you would use it instead of 3711 in a non-brett sour beer?

If you were just using 644 without other microbes, would you use your sour post-boil gear or your clean post-boil gear?

Makes sense that it did not produce the "classic" Brett funk that you noted in the final tasting.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

It's a completely different strain than 3711, not nearly as phenolic or attenuative. Certainly could be similarly nice after a Lacto-souring though! Seems in general like a good match for hoppy beers, a local homebrewer had an IPA go to the second round of the NHC last year with it. Seems like a better analogue would be Conan.

I'd probably use it in the sour gear as it is a wild strain, and does seem to make a pellicle and thrive after a traditional primary fermentation. Either way could work if you clean/sanitize well!

Doug said...

Was wondering if you could comment on the lack of the hopback/whirlpool addition that you used here vs. that being missing in the recipe that ModernTimes put on Beersmith that you mentioned in your BYO article last issue? That one is at:

and the only hops addition (aside from the extract) is the dry hop. Did they go dry hop only for the commercial version or was it just an omission?

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

I assume it was just an omission from the recipe, although I wasn't there for brew day.

Sinkas said...

Just letting you know I brewed "this recipe" and was amazed at how good it turned out, I used a Brett blend ( from giga yeast)and used mosaic, centennial and Riwaka, with large flameout and dry hop, and with an OG of 1080 FG about 1018.
it was delicious, and even non beer drinking neighbours chugged pints of this

I also brewed the same recipe and fermented with 001 then spiked it at bottling with
the brett, which didn't really taste that great.


The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Cheers! Glad it was still good after you changed the yeast, hops, and malt bill! Haha.

Finishing a hoppy beer with Brett is tricky, perhaps a more characterful primary strain would have helped to bridge the distance with the Brett?

Sinkas said...

Hi yes I guess I should have said " inspired by your recipe"
TBH the version I spike with brett, was because it was a diacetyl bomb ( used a Vermont yeast sorry not 001)and I thought if I spiked it it might clean it up,
which it did.
to be brett primary seems to lock in different parts of the hop flavour and aroma, and they seem to taste better for longer

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

I was just joking. I've been blamed for people who did similar adjustments to other recipes and didn't like the results.

I like Brett-finished hoppy beers, but they often get funkier. That is a less immediately pleasant flavor with fruity hops, but it certainly can work. I have a Brett saison fermenting now that I have high hopes for with juicy Loral hops!

John Keane said...

I have my first Brett beer that I inoculated with Brett B Trois in secondary about 7 months and it is ready to package. Is the yeast cake still viable? I am brewing a IPA this weekend and was thinking about racking a few gallons onto the brett cake.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

I don't trust old yeast cakes for primary fermentation. I often add some slurry with a fresh pitch of brewer's yeast, but that doesn't sound like what you are interested in here. I'd make a starter if you want to reuse it. This was actually what is now Sacch Trois, but I've had good luck with the real Brett Trois in hoppy beers since!

Hector said...

Hi, first of all, thanks for sharing!

I want to brew a "kettle soured 100% Brett fake Flanders red-ish ale".

The idea is not to make a Flanders red, but some cheap fast version. I would like it to have low sourness and high funkyness with the same grain bill as a Flanders red and OG1058 aprox.

I do half batches (10-11L =2.6-3gallons).
Do you think it would be enough with one "wlp648 brettanomyces burxellensis trois vrai" packet or should I do a starter?
Do you think it can be fermented and bottled in just 1 month?