Author Topic: Alcohol Tolerance of Brett  (Read 3184 times)

Offline tygo

  • I spend way too much time on the AHA forum
  • ********
  • Posts: 2622
  • Sterling, VA
    • View Profile
Alcohol Tolerance of Brett
« on: August 24, 2012, 05:58:51 AM »
What are people's experiences with this?  Wyeast lists their Brett cultures as having a tolerance of ~ 12%.

As I was drinking my coffee this morning and thinking beery thoughts I was wondering what would happen if I added a brett culture to a batch my 13% wee heavy after the primary fermentation was complete.

It has a pretty high finishing gravity, 1.028 this year I believe.  So there would be plenty of food for the little beasties. But would they be able to do anything in the high alcohol environment?
Clint
Wort Hogs

Fermenting: Wit
On Tap: Lucifer's Hammer Golden Strong Ale, Dopplebock, Old Fuzzynut's Ale

Offline erockrph

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2414
  • Chepachet, RI
    • View Profile
    • Critical Tastings
Re: Alcohol Tolerance of Brett
« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2012, 06:48:09 AM »
I'm kinda curious about this myself. I have a barleywine that is sitting at about 11% and an FG of 1.025ish. I was planning on saving about 2/3 of a gallon and pitching some Orval dregs into it. I'll probably just set it aside for a year or so and forget about it, but I'm wondering how far it will end up going down and when it would be safe to bottle it.
Eric B.

Finally got around to starting a homebrewing blog: The Hop Whisperer

Offline saintpierre

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 402
  • Augusta, ME
    • View Profile
    • www.malthomebrewclub.org
Re: Alcohol Tolerance of Brett
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2012, 06:57:38 AM »
Let us know what you decide and how it turns out if you follow through.  I would be interested to learn what your experience is.
Mike St. Pierre
Maine Ale & Libation Tasters (MALT)
BJCP Recognized
[719.4, 74.1] AR

Offline mihalybaci

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 144
    • View Profile
Re: Alcohol Tolerance of Brett
« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2012, 07:00:40 AM »
"Wild Brews" lists the alcohol tolerance of Brettanomyces at 18%, seems like it would be worth a shot.

Offline nateo

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2162
  • Aachen, DE
    • View Profile
Re: Alcohol Tolerance of Brett
« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2012, 08:23:15 AM »
I've read a few places that to get the "best/most" Brett character, it needs to ferment under pressure. Orval adds their Brett at bottling. Just don't put it in normal beer bottles and you should be fine.
In der Kürze liegt die Würze.

Online AmandaK

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 929
  • Redbird Brewhouse
    • View Profile
Re: Alcohol Tolerance of Brett
« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2012, 08:44:00 AM »
I've read a few places that to get the "best/most" Brett character, it needs to ferment under pressure. Orval adds their Brett at bottling. Just don't put it in normal beer bottles and you should be fine.

I have also read that. But I also have seen/tasted in my personal experience that Brett does develop more of the "classic" character when it is stressed. Whether that be under pressure, in a high alcohol environment (bottled in both cases), or in the presence of a low pH habitat, it still develops many weird flavors/aromas.

Back to the OP, I had a 10.5% Belgian Dark Strong Ale that quit at 1.026. So I bottled half straight and pitched Wyeast's Brett Lambicus into the rest. It quit at around 11.6% ABV (I think at around 1.017), and has been chillin' in the bottles since August 2011. It's really quite an interesting beer. Big cherry pie in your face, then the complex BDSA in the background.
Amanda Kertz
Kansas City Bier Meister
BJCP National

Offline tygo

  • I spend way too much time on the AHA forum
  • ********
  • Posts: 2622
  • Sterling, VA
    • View Profile
Re: Alcohol Tolerance of Brett
« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2012, 04:27:06 PM »
I think the next batch of this I brew I'll split out some 1 gallon test batches after the primary is done.  I want to try one with brett, one with oak, and maybe one with both.  The rest I'll leave as is.
Clint
Wort Hogs

Fermenting: Wit
On Tap: Lucifer's Hammer Golden Strong Ale, Dopplebock, Old Fuzzynut's Ale

Offline kylekohlmorgen

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1163
    • View Profile
    • The South House Pilot Brewery
Re: Alcohol Tolerance of Brett
« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2012, 05:57:08 AM »
Wild Brews cites Brett alcohol tolerance ~ 18%
@southhousebrew

Indianapolis, IN

Recipes, Brett/Bacteria Experiments:
http://southhousepilotbrewery.blogspot.com/

Offline nateo

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2162
  • Aachen, DE
    • View Profile
Re: Alcohol Tolerance of Brett
« Reply #8 on: August 27, 2012, 06:39:38 AM »
Wild Brews cites Brett alcohol tolerance ~ 18%

Just about all wine and beer yeast are S. cerevisiae, but different strains can have much different alcohol tolerance. What Brett species and strains were they talking about in Wild Brews?
In der Kürze liegt die Würze.

Offline mihalybaci

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 144
    • View Profile
Re: Alcohol Tolerance of Brett
« Reply #9 on: August 27, 2012, 06:44:22 AM »
Just about all wine and beer yeast are S. cerevisiae, but different strains can have much different alcohol tolerance. What Brett species and strains were they talking about in Wild Brews?

It was just about the Brettanomyces genus in general. The alcohol tolerance for Saccharomyces was listed at 25% ABV, so its more than likely the maximum tolerance for any known strain since not all S. cerevisiae can live to 25% (obviously).

Offline kylekohlmorgen

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1163
    • View Profile
    • The South House Pilot Brewery
Re: Alcohol Tolerance of Brett
« Reply #10 on: August 27, 2012, 07:00:13 AM »
Wild Brews cites Brett alcohol tolerance ~ 18%

Just about all wine and beer yeast are S. cerevisiae, but different strains can have much different alcohol tolerance. What Brett species and strains were they talking about in Wild Brews?

Good point - the table I'm referring to is actually pretty vague. It lists each general type of yeast/bacteria covered in the book (Sachh. C, Brett, lacto, pedio, acetobacter, enterobacter), and their general tolerance for alcohol, pH, etc. Those numbers could vary quite a bit.

Don't have the book on me, but when I get home I'll check the reference and see if there is more info available on species/strain.
@southhousebrew

Indianapolis, IN

Recipes, Brett/Bacteria Experiments:
http://southhousepilotbrewery.blogspot.com/

Offline nateo

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2162
  • Aachen, DE
    • View Profile
Re: Alcohol Tolerance of Brett
« Reply #11 on: August 27, 2012, 07:59:38 AM »
It was just about the Brettanomyces genus in general. The alcohol tolerance for Saccharomyces was listed at 25% ABV, so its more than likely the maximum tolerance for any known strain since not all S. cerevisiae can live to 25% (obviously).

Information that vague is worse than meaningless. I think it's actually less-informative than no information.
In der Kürze liegt die Würze.

Offline kylekohlmorgen

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1163
    • View Profile
    • The South House Pilot Brewery
Re: Alcohol Tolerance of Brett
« Reply #12 on: August 27, 2012, 12:29:01 PM »
It was just about the Brettanomyces genus in general. The alcohol tolerance for Saccharomyces was listed at 25% ABV, so its more than likely the maximum tolerance for any known strain since not all S. cerevisiae can live to 25% (obviously).

Information that vague is worse than meaningless. I think it's actually less-informative than no information.

On the whole - still a pretty good book. IMO.
@southhousebrew

Indianapolis, IN

Recipes, Brett/Bacteria Experiments:
http://southhousepilotbrewery.blogspot.com/

Offline erockrph

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2414
  • Chepachet, RI
    • View Profile
    • Critical Tastings
Re: Alcohol Tolerance of Brett
« Reply #13 on: September 15, 2012, 08:28:54 AM »
I've read a few places that to get the "best/most" Brett character, it needs to ferment under pressure. Orval adds their Brett at bottling. Just don't put it in normal beer bottles and you should be fine.

My barleywine finished out at 11% and 1.026. I'd like to let the Brett ferment under pressure, but I'm not sure the best way to handle this. I just racked a gallon into a 1-gallon jug with an airlock and pitched the dregs from one bottle of Orval. I want to end up with an overall low carbonation level, so I don't want to just bottle it now and let them go. I'd also be afraid that the pressure could end up too high for something like an Orval bottle since I have no idea how far the Brett may go with this.

My thought was to let it go for a couple of weeks, then cap the jug and vent it every so often to keep the pressure from going way too high. Does this sound too risky? Can I even safely get enough pressure in a gallon jug to make it worthwhile to try this? If I did try this, any suggestions on how often to crack the lid so I can keep the pressure up as long as possible without blowing the thing up?
Eric B.

Finally got around to starting a homebrewing blog: The Hop Whisperer

Offline nateo

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2162
  • Aachen, DE
    • View Profile
Re: Alcohol Tolerance of Brett
« Reply #14 on: September 15, 2012, 08:37:14 AM »
If you want to ferment under pressure, I wouldn't do it in anything not designed to hold the pressure. If you were fermenting in a keg with some kind of pressure relief valve, that'd be fine, but I don't really see any other way of (safely) doing what you want to do.

There's a guy in my homebrew club who comes across used kegs all the time. He sells them for about $30-50 depending on their condition. I've thought about getting one of those to do exactly what you're talking about, but that's not high on my budget right now.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2012, 08:38:48 AM by nateo »
In der Kürze liegt die Würze.