Author Topic: When/how to add Brett as a secondary yeast?  (Read 3034 times)

Online erockrph

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When/how to add Brett as a secondary yeast?
« on: April 10, 2013, 07:32:38 AM »
So I'm going to be brewing my first Brett-aged beer soon and I'm looking for some pointers on how to manage the Brett. Here's what I have planned so far:

This upcoming Monday - Brew 3 gallons of a 1.040 table saison as a starter for my primary yeast (WY3711). Planning to pitch in the mid-60's F, hold it for about 2 days then let it take off as best as I can (my basement is still fairly cool, so I'll probably have to insulate in combination with my brew belt).

The following Monday - Brew 3 gallons of a 1.080 Bière de Garde and pitch onto my saison yeast cake. Planning to ferment in the low 60's F for a couple weeks, then let it come to ambient for long-term aging.

I have a vial of Brett Trois that I'm going to use for the Bière de Garde. I'm looking for some significant Brett character in the finished beer. Any suggestions on how to handle the Brett aging? Do I need a starter for the Brett if it's just the secondary yeast for a 3-gallon batch? When do I pitch it? Should I wait until the 3711 starts to finish up, or should I pitch it sooner to give the Brett more food to start off with? Thanks!
Eric B.

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Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: When/how to add Brett as a secondary yeast?
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2013, 08:01:38 AM »
If you want more brett character you don't want to use a starter. Like other expressive yeast, the more stressful the initial conditions the more flavor compounds it will produce, although brett will make flavor compounds for months/years to come.

You can just pitch brett when you add the biere de garde wort on the yeast cake. It's not going to consume much of the sugar ahead of 3711 but there's no reason to delay pitching it. Brett takes a longer period of time to develop critical mass than sacc strains.
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Offline redbeerman

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Re: When/how to add Brett as a secondary yeast?
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2013, 08:24:06 AM »
I do not make a starter for Brett used in the secondary.  Make sure the vial is still within its usable date range though.  I have had less than optimal results with expired vials and great results from fresh.  The fresher the better.
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Offline gmac

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Re: When/how to add Brett as a secondary yeast?
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2013, 09:52:34 AM »
WLP670 is a blend that I think is very similar to what your asking about. Obviously both yeast get pitched at the same time. I think the sacc gets going fast and the Brett is slower and cleans up all the leftovers. Assuming this is true, I wouldn't think it would matter.

Offline redbeerman

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Re: When/how to add Brett as a secondary yeast?
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2013, 10:00:39 AM »
WLP670 is a blend that I think is very similar to what your asking about. Obviously both yeast get pitched at the same time. I think the sacc gets going fast and the Brett is slower and cleans up all the leftovers. Assuming this is true, I wouldn't think it would matter.

I'm not a big fan of that because I don't like leaving the full load of primary yeast around while the Brett does it's work.  I know the Brett is supposed to clean up the autolysis byproducts, but I have had great results racking into the secondary and then pitching the Brett.  I just think leaving a primary yeast at warm room temps for a year like the Brett likes is not a good idea.
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Online erockrph

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Re: When/how to add Brett as a secondary yeast?
« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2013, 10:10:45 AM »
WLP670 is a blend that I think is very similar to what your asking about. Obviously both yeast get pitched at the same time. I think the sacc gets going fast and the Brett is slower and cleans up all the leftovers. Assuming this is true, I wouldn't think it would matter.

I'm not a big fan of that because I don't like leaving the full load of primary yeast around while the Brett does it's work.  I know the Brett is supposed to clean up the autolysis byproducts, but I have had great results racking into the secondary and then pitching the Brett.  I just think leaving a primary yeast at warm room temps for a year like the Brett likes is not a good idea.

When do you rack to the secondary? Do you let the primary yeast finish completely first or leave a little extra for the Brett to chew on? One idea I had was to rack to secondary when it gets to the 1.020's to possibly slow down the saison yeast a bit while the Brett gets going.
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Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: When/how to add Brett as a secondary yeast?
« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2013, 11:00:38 AM »
WLP670 is a blend that I think is very similar to what your asking about. Obviously both yeast get pitched at the same time. I think the sacc gets going fast and the Brett is slower and cleans up all the leftovers. Assuming this is true, I wouldn't think it would matter.

I'm not a big fan of that because I don't like leaving the full load of primary yeast around while the Brett does it's work.  I know the Brett is supposed to clean up the autolysis byproducts, but I have had great results racking into the secondary and then pitching the Brett.  I just think leaving a primary yeast at warm room temps for a year like the Brett likes is not a good idea.

That is the first time I heard of that issue, indeed, the blended products have both and must be pitched "together". White Labs Berliner Weisse blend is an example, as is Roselaire.  Still your point about autolysis is seemingly a good one, at least intuitively.  I wonder if the Brett metabolizes the autolysis byproducts? If so, then some yeast leftover would be a good thing.
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Offline kylekohlmorgen

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Re: When/how to add Brett as a secondary yeast?
« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2013, 11:12:39 AM »
When do you rack to the secondary? Do you let the primary yeast finish completely first or leave a little extra for the Brett to chew on? One idea I had was to rack to secondary when it gets to the 1.020's to possibly slow down the saison yeast a bit while the Brett gets going.

Allow your primary yeast to complete a healthy fermentation, take up by-products, and floc out.

Brett doesn't need fermentable sugars (or even unfermentable ones) to live and produce flavor compounds. Brett will metabolize just about anything and turn it into flavor: proteins/carbohydrates, hop acids, even alcohol and existing flavor compounds from the primary yeast. Brett will have a flavor impact despite the FG, especially with that specific strain.

You'll need a few gravity points for brett to ferment and produce CO2 (I assume you're bottling?). I always assume that brett in the bottle will take me down to 1.002 eventually, take that into account when you're thinking about priming sugar. You can also bottle some without priming sugar for long aging. Prime the rest like normal, opening a bottle every month or so to check for over carbonation.

You don't need to make a starter unless you want to keep some brett slurry around for later on. I use brett in a lot of beers, so I keep a starter going and pull off slurry as I need it.
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Offline gmac

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Re: When/how to add Brett as a secondary yeast?
« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2013, 12:40:18 PM »
I've had 3711 take me down to 1.002 alone.
I wait until the rapid fermentation is done and then keg. I don't worry about being perfectly clear when I siphon. I admit I'm assuming that I'm getting Brett in the beer because it shouldn't be done and floc'd out totally. Then it sits in the keg until I need it. I find that even with some yeast in the keg once it's sat for a day or two it clears fast.
Not saying I'm doing it right but I'm happy.

Offline redbeerman

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Re: When/how to add Brett as a secondary yeast?
« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2013, 04:50:32 AM »
I would think better results would be had by doing a dextrinous mash if using a saison yeast if you plan on pitching Brett in the secondary, much as in a Flanders style.  Low mash temps and a monster saison yeast (like 3711) probably won't leave much for the Brett to work on. YMMV.
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Re: When/how to add Brett as a secondary yeast?
« Reply #10 on: April 11, 2013, 07:32:27 AM »
I would think better results would be had by doing a dextrinous mash if using a saison yeast if you plan on pitching Brett in the secondary, much as in a Flanders style.  Low mash temps and a monster saison yeast (like 3711) probably won't leave much for the Brett to work on. YMMV.

Yeah, I was planning on mashing high. Plus I'm going to use a fair amount of crystal malt (about 8%). I'll probably let this sit in secondary for at least 6 months or so before I even think about bottling, so even if there is just a little there for the Brett to eat I think I'll be happy. From my understanding, a lot of brett's flavor contributions come from eating secondary fermentation byproducts more so than sugars/dextrins.
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Offline redbeerman

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Re: When/how to add Brett as a secondary yeast?
« Reply #11 on: April 11, 2013, 09:29:16 AM »
I would think better results would be had by doing a dextrinous mash if using a saison yeast if you plan on pitching Brett in the secondary, much as in a Flanders style.  Low mash temps and a monster saison yeast (like 3711) probably won't leave much for the Brett to work on. YMMV.

Yeah, I was planning on mashing high. Plus I'm going to use a fair amount of crystal malt (about 8%). I'll probably let this sit in secondary for at least 6 months or so before I even think about bottling, so even if there is just a little there for the Brett to eat I think I'll be happy. From my understanding, a lot of brett's flavor contributions come from eating secondary fermentation byproducts more so than sugars/dextrins.

Yeah, they eat pretty much anything.  I had a Flanders red finish at 1.000, but it still has a nice mouthfeel and nice dry finish.
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Offline bbkf

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Re: When/how to add Brett as a secondary yeast?
« Reply #12 on: April 12, 2013, 05:37:51 AM »
So I'm going to be brewing my first Brett-aged beer soon and I'm looking for some pointers on how to manage the Brett. Here's what I have planned so far:

This upcoming Monday - Brew 3 gallons of a 1.040 table saison as a starter for my primary yeast (WY3711). Planning to pitch in the mid-60's F, hold it for about 2 days then let it take off as best as I can (my basement is still fairly cool, so I'll probably have to insulate in combination with my brew belt).

The following Monday - Brew 3 gallons of a 1.080 Bière de Garde and pitch onto my saison yeast cake. Planning to ferment in the low 60's F for a couple weeks, then let it come to ambient for long-term aging.

I have a vial of Brett Trois that I'm going to use for the Bière de Garde. I'm looking for some significant Brett character in the finished beer. Any suggestions on how to handle the Brett aging? Do I need a starter for the Brett if it's just the secondary yeast for a 3-gallon batch? When do I pitch it? Should I wait until the 3711 starts to finish up, or should I pitch it sooner to give the Brett more food to start off with? Thanks!

if you use 3711 yeast with a biere de garde wort, You'll likely get a dark and strong saison, not a biere de garde.  If you then add brett, you'll get near 100% attenuation. You can pitch the brett yeast straight from the vial when you add the wort to the yeast cake.  Keep in mind that when adding the wort to the saison yeast cake that you'll have a lot of saison yeast there and the beer will likely ferment fast.

two years ago i did a saison with 3711.  I did make a starter for the 3711.  I also pitched a vial of brett brux (no starter) when i pitched the saison yeast.  I still have bottles of it and the FG is well below 1.000.  I bottled it at 1.005.

Offline kylekohlmorgen

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Re: When/how to add Brett as a secondary yeast?
« Reply #13 on: April 12, 2013, 09:46:39 AM »
...Keep in mind that when adding the wort to the saison yeast cake that you'll have a lot of saison yeast there and the beer will likely ferment fast...

Good point here.

Also, over-pitching at this quantity will decrease ester production. I would figure out how much slurry you need (Mr. Malty) and scoop it out with a sanitized measuring cup.
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Offline andyi

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Re: When/how to add Brett as a secondary yeast?
« Reply #14 on: April 12, 2013, 12:56:06 PM »

@ bbkf

How is the beer?