Author Topic: tips for brett blonde  (Read 1088 times)

Offline homoeccentricus

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tips for brett blonde
« on: August 07, 2016, 10:53:08 PM »
Yesterday I drank a fantastic brett blonde @ De Struise here in Belgium. 4.5% ABV, lagered in a merlot cask. It's not going to be sold outside of the tasting room as they only brewed a small batch. I know they used some WYeast  brett, but the place was too busy to ask more questions. I assume no pitched lacto/pedio although the beer was sour. Incredibly crisp and delicate. Not too much of that horseblanket barnyard stuff. Any tips on how to make this type of beer? I assume I'll be adding oak cubes soaked in merlot after fermentation is complete...
Frank P.

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Offline majorvices

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Re: tips for brett blonde
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2016, 11:10:36 PM »
100% brett fermented beers are surprisingly clean. Shouldn't be overtly sour unless other methods were used. You won't get much in the way of horse blanket or heavy funk but more like fruity esters like apricot and, perhaps, mild funkiness.

I don't really have any tips but you might play with aeration levels. The harder you make it on the yeast the more flavorful the beer becomes.

Offline homoeccentricus

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Re: tips for brett blonde
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2016, 11:58:11 PM »
I don't really have any tips but you might play with aeration levels. The harder you make it on the yeast the more flavorful the beer becomes.

Could you explain this a little more extensively? Thanks!
Frank P.

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Offline majorvices

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Re: tips for brett blonde
« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2016, 12:37:02 AM »
When brett has to struggle it creates more funk flavors. When situations are ideal it creates more clean flavors. If you add brett to a "finished" beer that has dextrines to slowly chew on it will create more funk flavors than when you pitch it in fresh wort. So you can have a 100% brett fermented beer that tastes cleaner than, say, Orval where the brett is added post fermentation.

Offline homoeccentricus

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Re: tips for brett blonde
« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2016, 06:44:56 AM »
Understood. But what about the aeration levels?
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Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: tips for brett blonde
« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2016, 04:23:43 PM »
Understood. But what about the aeration levels?

Same premise: adding oxygen at the start of fermentation produces clean, fast fermentations while cutting down the oxygen available requires the yeast to work harder and produce more flavor compounds. Brett is no exception to this basic premise although too much oxygen has a tendency to cause brett to rip through the beer and then stall before finishing while too little can trigger a very slow, secondary-like brett fermentation. For more flavor you can treat it similar to trappist/abbey strains by underoxygenating to the same volume of oxygen but I wouldn't go lower.
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Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: tips for brett blonde
« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2016, 04:27:08 PM »
I wouldn't assume that beer definitely did not use any LAB along the way just because they called it a brett beer rather than sour. Often breweries avoid calling it sour unless it is full force sour to avoid problems with consumers avoiding sour beers or complaining it is not sour enough. Could have been lacto soured up front--could even just have a lactic acid addition.
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Offline homoeccentricus

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Re: tips for brett blonde
« Reply #7 on: August 08, 2016, 04:30:21 PM »
Ok, got it. Looked at some recipes from Mike Tonsmeire. Seems like either clausenii or brux seem most adequate.
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Offline homoeccentricus

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Re: tips for brett blonde
« Reply #8 on: August 08, 2016, 04:39:15 PM »
I wouldn't assume that beer definitely did not use any LAB along the way just because they called it a brett beer rather than sour. Often breweries avoid calling it sour unless it is full force sour to avoid problems with consumers avoiding sour beers or complaining it is not sour enough. Could have been lacto soured up front--could even just have a lactic acid addition.
Hello, this is Belgium calling ;)
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Offline homoeccentricus

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Re: tips for brett blonde
« Reply #9 on: August 08, 2016, 04:50:56 PM »
Haha, no, Carlo from Struise said it was pure Wyeast Brett.
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Offline erockrph

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Re: tips for brett blonde
« Reply #10 on: August 09, 2016, 03:42:40 AM »
When brett has to struggle it creates more funk flavors. When situations are ideal it creates more clean flavors. If you add brett to a "finished" beer that has dextrines to slowly chew on it will create more funk flavors than when you pitch it in fresh wort. So you can have a 100% brett fermented beer that tastes cleaner than, say, Orval where the brett is added post fermentation.
Actually, I think a lot of wild beer brewers are moving away from this line of thinking. The reason Brett makes a funkier beer in secondary is because a Saccharomyces primary ferment creates the precursor compounds that Brett turns into more complex flavors. So in Orval's case, for example, Brett has plenty of esters and phenols to work with from the primary ferment with a Belgian ale yeast.

I would recommend a starter for the Brett. It may take a couple of steps to reach target pitching rates, given the lower cell counts in commercial packaging. Brett starters also take longer than Saccharomyces to get going. Each step may take 3-5 days (maybe even a week for the initial step).

The point of the starter isn't so much to ensure a clean beer, but to get to full attenuation in a reasonable amount of time.
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Offline Phil_M

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Re: tips for brett blonde
« Reply #11 on: August 10, 2016, 01:15:34 AM »
A co-worker of mine is big into brewing brett beers...his experience is that the longer the beer sits on the brett/yeast cake, the funkier it gets. I can't say anything yet, but I'm trying his advice on my current brett beer.
Corn is a fine adjunct in beer.

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Offline homoeccentricus

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Re: tips for brett blonde
« Reply #12 on: August 10, 2016, 09:29:37 PM »
A co-worker of mine is big into brewing brett beers...his experience is that the longer the beer sits on the brett/yeast cake, the funkier it gets. I can't say anything yet, but I'm trying his advice on my current brett beer.
But you are striving for a less funky beer ? Because that's what I'm after. A big starter will certainly help.
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Offline homoeccentricus

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Re: tips for brett blonde
« Reply #13 on: August 10, 2016, 09:34:01 PM »
Also, with respect to starters, I think that when you start with a blend such Roeselare starters are not recommended because you don't know which strains will dominate the other ones, but with a pure Brett that danger does not exist.
Frank P.

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Offline homoeccentricus

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Re: tips for brett blonde
« Reply #14 on: August 17, 2016, 10:59:05 PM »

Apparently Carlo got it wrong. The beer was first fermented with sacch and then a Brett blend was added. :(
Haha, no, Carlo from Struise said it was pure Wyeast Brett.
Frank P.

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