Monday, December 2, 2013

Brett/Rye Farmhouse Ale (Not a Repost)

Three fermentors of the same saison, each with different Brett strains.Going back to one of my favorite combinations: saison with rye malt in the mash and Brett in the fermentor! My friend Nate and I were both furloughed from our federal government jobs for a few weeks in October, during that time we decided to enjoy a sunny afternoon drinking beer, eating fried fish, and brewing. A couple years ago, we brewed a similar batch, that we wanted to refine. Young it was enjoyable, but it became obnoxiously horsey/rough/funky as it aged. That character could have been the result of several things, but I suspect it was simply the strains we pitched.

We split this batch three ways to try three different Brett blends, each with the same combination of saison ale yeasts. The Brett we pitched came from bottle dregs (from the abovementioned drinking), and a couple isolates that Bootleg-Biology Jeff dropped off a few weeks prior.

As with hops, sugar, and other ingredients, split batches are a great way to learn about microbes. This is especially handy with mixed-fermentation beers as the feedback loop is so long. If a batch takes a year or longer to be “ready,” the tweak and re-brew method could take a decade to arrive at the ideal formulation and process. As fun as the single-strain Brett experiments that I’ve done in the past have been, mixing strains is where things tend to start getting interesting!

Brett'd Saison - Furlough Edition

The two-month-old pellicle on one of the Brett'd saisons.Recipe Specifics
Batch Size (Gal): 10.50
Total Grain (Lbs): 21.40
Anticipated OG: 1.055
Anticipated SRM: 4.0
Anticipated IBU: 30.2
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75 %
Wort Boil Time: 90 Minutes

42.1% - 9.00 lbs. German Pilsener
28.0% - 6.00 lbs. American Pale Malt
18.7% - 4.00 lbs. Rye Malt
9.3% - 2.00 lbs. Wheat Malt
1.9% - 0.40 lbs. Sauer(acid) Malt

5 ml HopShot (Extract) @ 45 min.
4.00 oz. Czech Saaz (Pellet, 2.80% AA) @ 10 min.

1.00 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 15 min.
1.00 Whirlfloc @ 15 min.

White Labs WLP585 Belgian Saison III
White Labs WLP568 Belgian Style Saison Ale Yeast Blend

Water Profile
Profile: Washington, DC

Mash Schedule
Sacch Rest - 60 min @ 147 F

Brewed 10/8/13

Stir-plate starter made the morning of, 2L with two Saison III and one Saison Blend.

4 g of CaCl to 8 gallons of pre-boil filtered DC water.

Mash pH measured 5.6 initially, so we added 2% acid malt. Should drop it to 5.4 at room temperature.

Added 4 g of CaCl and 1.5 tsp of phosphoric acid to 8 gallons of filtered DC water for the sparge.

Chilled to 78 F and pitched the starter. Very clear wort, left a gallon or so with the trub behind.

Pitched a half bottle each of 100% Brett Nanus and Naardenensis into one third of the batch, two Bootleg Biology Pithos isolates into another third, and dregs from a Dark Saison IV into the final third.

Placed at 68 F to begin fermenting.

12/2/13 Still sitting in primary, ambient is upper 50s F.

12/7/13 Racked to three 3 gallon secondaries.

8/7/14 Bottled each aiming for 2.8 volumes of CO2. 2 7/8 oz table sugar n DS4, 2.75 in Nanus/Naardenensis, and 2.3 oz in Pithos.

5/12/15 Tasting notes on all three versions.

The DS4 version ended up being one of my favorite batches of funky saison!


Andrei said...

heya mike - looks like a great recipe. how long do you intend on leaving this beer in secondary?

i brewed a citra/rye saison in june (, need to update the recipe with the 3711 used to finish up, ended at 1.004 i believe). half the batch is now 4 months into its secondary with WL brett B. i'll take a reading at 6 months or so, but will probably let it go longer...

james k. said...

I brewed a rye honey golden ale fermented with 100% Brettanomyces Bruxelensis about 9 months ago. I pitched a large 2 liter starter of very actively fermenting brett. With an OG of 1.076 fermentation took longer than a standard ale ferment (about 3 months.) It leveled off at about 1.004 at which point I kegged it with 2 oz. Simcoe whole leaf hops and left to condition for another 2 or so months before tasting. It was fantastic then and has continued to evolve since then. Unfortunately, the roommates helped themselves a little too much and now I'm left with about 1.5 gal which will be bottled for future conditioning in the cellar.

Overall, I must say I'm quite pleased with Brett Brux. It cleaned up lots of the Acetaldehyde and excessive phenols present before maturation. Many 100% Brett beers have been described as one-dimensional and flabby on the palate. This must be an exception to the trend because it continues to increase in complexity and character as it ages. I look forward to brewing 100% Brett beers in the future. Thanks Mike for all your inspiration and guidance!

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

It's still in primary, but I need to harvest the yeast for this weekend's dark saison brew, so I'll be raking it soon. It'll be there until Nate and I have time to bottle. Probably a couple months.

Sounds delcious James, cheers!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this recipe and your comments. Am I to understand that you will pitch the brett from your previous beer into this beer in the secondary? I'm thinking of doing a similar beer, but have never brewed with brett before. Bud H.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

The dregs from the beers with Brett went into the individual primary fermentors. Secondary would be fine too, but we were drinking the beers while we brewed, so we pitched.

keithkirchoff said...

Have you (or any readers) ever experienced cross-contamination problems when you keg your brett beers? I've got a low abv saison brett that's just about ready, and I was thinking of kegging it. I'm a little concerned that I wouldn't be able to properly clean the lines from the brett. I'm not worried about the keg itself, just the lines.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

I've got separate keg, line, and tap for sour/Brett beers. Just safer that way I think. You can give it a shot, but you'll really need to break everything down for cleaning afterwards.

Unknown said...

I'm doing a similar beer for my first sour & pitched a standard saison yeast, then cultivated som Cantillion yeast in the bottle building up the culture in the bottle with a cup of fresh wort every 24 hours. I then pitched that into the fermented saison but after 3 weeks I'm not seeing any signs of activity. No pellicle, etc. Should I be seeing some activity? Should I just buy a new culture & chuck that in or are there potentially no sugars left to consume?

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Sours work at their own pace. Three weeks would be very early to start seeing visible signs of fermentation. Give it another 3 months. If you don't see/smell/taste anything by then, it might be time for plan B.

Pewther said...

Are these badboys still sitting in secondary?


The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

I bottled them last August (just added the details). Hopefully I'll get around to posting tastings soon...

Mike said...

Did you eventually post about the tastings? Apologies if I missed it. Would you mind providing a link if you did? Thanks!

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

I did completely forget to link the tasting notes. Sorry about that. I added a link at the bottom of the post!