Author Topic: Help! Brett only beer slow/stuck fermentation?  (Read 1524 times)

Offline ukolowiczd

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Help! Brett only beer slow/stuck fermentation?
« on: December 06, 2011, 07:26:16 PM »
I have never used Brett lambicus (wyeast 5526) but I read the Wild Brews book and a couple articles. Anyway I made a 3 gallon recipe with an OG of 1.062, used a pound of accidulated malt to lower the pH and only inoculated the batch with the Brett. l. It's been 3 full days now going on 4 and nothing. Nothing at all. Should I expect to see nothing? Tiny bubbles are in the bubbler but no big bubbles have happened and no krausen or any type of activity. Should I wait longer? Should I pitch some normal yeast? Add lactic acid? Give up?

Online morticaixavier

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Re: Help! Brett only beer slow/stuck fermentation?
« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2011, 07:51:44 PM »
I don't know for sure but I am pretty sure Brett is a slow mover. I would wait it out or maybe pitch more brett!
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Jonathan I Fuller

Offline hoser

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Re: Help! Brett only beer slow/stuck fermentation?
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2011, 09:08:00 PM »
What was your pH of the wort prior to pitching? Also, did you make a starter. Yes, Brett. is slow fermenter, but behaves like a normal yeast when it is the only organism.  You may not see a pelicle if all you pitched was Brett. Lambicus.  Brett does like an acidic environment, but if your initial pH was too low it may preceed slower than normal.  Brett. generally likes the 4.0-4.5 range.  That is why you generally add the sour bacteria after the Brett. has finished it's secondary fermentation.  All that being said, I would do nothing.  Be patient and wait.  You will do more harm than good. Your beer will be fine.  As Charlie says. "RDWHAHB"

Offline paul

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Re: Help! Brett only beer slow/stuck fermentation?
« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2011, 09:15:43 PM »
I'm in the midst of my first all-brett fermentation, so take my advice for what it's worth...

My beer started at 1.053 and finished (?) in two weeks at 1.008.  I only used 0.4 lb acid malt, so I don't think pH is the problem (unless it was too low as Hoser suggested).  Did you pitch a big enough starter?  Note the White Labs vials contain a pretty low number of cells, optimized for use in the secondary, not the primary.  I pitched a vial of brett lambicus and a vial of brett brux using a two-step starter.  Assuming the Mr. Malty calculator works for brett, I think I pitched a std ale rate. 

Also, what's your temp?  I pitched at about 65 F.  The fermentation did take a little longer to start, maybe 24-36 hours.  It wasn't vigorous fermentation, and when it started to calm down after just a few days, I started to increase the temperature up to the mid 70s.  At this point I got a second, more vigorous fermentation, and foam kept coming out of the air lock.

So, I'd say check your pitching rate, and perhaps add more brett if you think it was low.  Also, you could try warming it up a little.  I don't think brett will produce many fusels, so my understanding is a warmer temp is OK.

Offline ukolowiczd

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Re: Help! Brett only beer slow/stuck fermentation?
« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2011, 05:08:49 AM »
Okay so it looks like I should wait and/or possibly pitch more Brett. I keep it in a temp controlled room at 70F and pitched at 65F so I know temp isn't an issue. Also it's only around 12 IBU's so I don't think the hops are interfering with it (although there is trub/hops at the bottom of the carboy). I did not make a starter b/c I used the wyeast full 100ml and only pitched it in 3 gallons of wort rather than 5. I figured it'd be fine, but was obviously wrong in this case. Perhaps a bit more patience. Going on day 4...

Offline eltharyon

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Re: Help! Brett only beer slow/stuck fermentation?
« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2011, 06:01:45 AM »
From what I have read, Brett actually expresses itself better when underpitched.  If there is any sign of fermentation I think you are good, let the bugs grow.

Offline ukolowiczd

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Re: Help! Brett only beer slow/stuck fermentation?
« Reply #6 on: December 07, 2011, 04:13:01 PM »
Well patience be damned I went right after work to buy another packet of Brett. l. (for another $13), get home and of course the freakin' thing is bubbling! It took 4 full days, but tiny bubbles have started! I I could pitch the new packet I got or I suppose I could make another sour this weekend. Any votes?

Offline corkybstewart

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Re: Help! Brett only beer slow/stuck fermentation?
« Reply #7 on: December 07, 2011, 04:32:03 PM »
Go for another sour-try one with fruit.  Sours should legally be the only type beer that fruit is allowed in;D
I'd really just rather be brewing in sunny Carlsbad New Mexico

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Re: Help! Brett only beer slow/stuck fermentation?
« Reply #8 on: December 07, 2011, 04:32:39 PM »
Well patience be damned I went right after work to buy another packet of Brett. l. (for another $13), get home and of course the freakin' thing is bubbling! It took 4 full days, but tiny bubbles have started! I I could pitch the new packet I got or I suppose I could make another sour this weekend. Any votes?

make another one. if what eltharyon says is true you don't want to pitch more in there right? I have no idea if it is true but...
"Creativity is the residue of wasted time" - A. Einstein

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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Help! Brett only beer slow/stuck fermentation?
« Reply #9 on: December 07, 2011, 04:35:32 PM »
Yeah, make another one.  Or see if you can return it, you can always make another with the dregs of this one when it's done. :)
Tom Schmidlin

Offline ukolowiczd

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Re: Help! Brett only beer slow/stuck fermentation?
« Reply #10 on: December 07, 2011, 04:37:08 PM »
I'm feeling making another one too. As for using the dregs, don't I have to let it sit for like the next 3 years until it's drinkable or something? Again no idea, just experimenting.

Online morticaixavier

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Re: Help! Brett only beer slow/stuck fermentation?
« Reply #11 on: December 07, 2011, 04:39:16 PM »
I'm feeling making another one too. As for using the dregs, don't I have to let it sit for like the next 3 years until it's drinkable or something? Again no idea, just experimenting.

yeah it will want some age but you can transfer it to secondary or a barrel after a while and reuse the 'cake'.
"Creativity is the residue of wasted time" - A. Einstein

Jonathan I Fuller

Offline ukolowiczd

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Re: Help! Brett only beer slow/stuck fermentation?
« Reply #12 on: December 07, 2011, 04:44:32 PM »
I plan on moving it to a 3 gallon barrel I have. When do I move it? When gravity comes down? After a couple weeks?

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Help! Brett only beer slow/stuck fermentation?
« Reply #13 on: December 07, 2011, 05:11:47 PM »
If the gravity drops below 1.010 I would feel free to transfer or to let it sit.  I don't know if I'd move it at all before 1.020.  In between I'd keep an eye on it.
Tom Schmidlin