Author Topic: brewing with Brettanomyces  (Read 1835 times)

Offline FRACKER

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brewing with Brettanomyces
« on: November 08, 2011, 01:08:43 PM »
I recently harvested some wild yeast from some wild grapes that I picked while hiking. I thought it would make a fun experimental batch. I was going for something Rodenbach-ish. I racked to secondary after 2 weeks and almost immediately a nice lacto-cap formed as expected. Probably 2 weeks later a big gnarly Brett pellicle took over the lacto.

It's been in secondary for about a month and a half. I'm just wondering how to tell if the Brett is finished funk-ifying the brew? How long should I keep it going? 6-12 months maybe? Is it safe to disturb the pellicle to sneak a taste?

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: brewing with Brettanomyces
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2011, 01:45:40 PM »
As I understand it a funky beer will just get funkier with more time. Not sure it ever really stops getting more funky. Yes you can sneak a taste anytime.
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Offline majorvices

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Re: brewing with Brettanomyces
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2011, 01:49:52 PM »
I don't think it will hurt to disturb the pellicle. The only possible harm I can think of would be that you would open a small surface of teh beer up to potential o2, but that's not really a huge problem at this point.

I'd suggest a 4-6 month wait before tasting. You may then decide to go another 4 - 6 months before trying again.
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Offline FRACKER

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Re: brewing with Brettanomyces
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2011, 02:03:36 PM »
Awesome! Thanks for the quick response guys. For some reason there seems to be a bit of a shortage on information about Brett on the web. It doesn't seem like there's been a whole lot of hard research done on their metabolism.

Cheers!

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Re: brewing with Brettanomyces
« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2011, 02:37:09 PM »
These guys really know their stuff:

http://www.babblebelt.com/
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Offline James Lorden

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Re: brewing with Brettanomyces
« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2011, 02:51:04 PM »
How did you culture the wild yeast?  Did you plate it then grow it up or did you add the grape skins directly to the wort.  I was really wondering where the lacto came from that you mentioned.  When I was researching my Supplication clone one comment that I came across from Vinnie at Russian River that I found interesting was that he recommends pitching the Brett 2 months before adding lacto and pedio because the brett doesn't like the low pH.

I assume that you are in glass.  I'd guess your head space is still pretty full of CO2 so as long as you don't really mix it up in there I'd say that your O2 pick up will be minimal.

I can't tell if this is a 100% brett beer or if you'd pitched an ale strain first then added brett.  The 1 all brett beer that I did finished much faster then I expected and was less aggressively flavored then some of the beers I've done with brett added to the secondary.  This could have to do with stress since the brett get off to a much better start when they are the only show in town.
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Offline FRACKER

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Re: brewing with Brettanomyces
« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2011, 06:30:03 PM »
James-

I did a mix of things in the culture. When I first cultured the wild yeast I made up a 1.040 wort and pitched about a cup of whole grapes into about 6 cups of wort. After something resembling a mix between a kroysen and a pellicle formed, I took some samples with an inoculating loop and streaked it out on some home made agar plates (1.040 wort and gelatin). I ran the starter through a filter funnel and pitched it straight into a 3 gallon wort.

The first step in fermentation was a clear Saccharomyces ferm. After flocculation a lactobacillus cap formed on top of the brew. I let it go for a couple more weeks and a pellicle replaced the lacto cap.

The agar developed a couple different colonies but I have yet to gram-stain them and Identify them. Based on their behavior I'm assuming that its just Sacch, lacto, and brett.

Offline James Lorden

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Re: brewing with Brettanomyces
« Reply #7 on: November 09, 2011, 06:56:30 AM »
Sounds very cool!

I have always pitched "bugs" around 2 months after brett so I am not familiar with the "lacto cap" that you are talking about.  Could you describe that a bit?
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Offline kylekohlmorgen

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Re: brewing with Brettanomyces
« Reply #8 on: November 09, 2011, 07:38:34 AM »
Thanks for sharing your adventurous brew!

Please keep this post up to date with how the beer develops!

I'm hoping that these wild bacteria give you at least a more interesting (if not better/more complex) result than store-bought cultures.

I'm hoping to experiment with this myself... maybe some over-ripe apples, pumpkins, or crabapples?
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Offline FRACKER

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Re: brewing with Brettanomyces
« Reply #9 on: November 09, 2011, 03:23:13 PM »
I'll keep you guys updated for sure. So far it's been a fun process. I'll be just as happy with a unique/different brew as a really good one.

Lacto forms a very thin cap on the top of the brew. It looks a little bit like a frozen over pond, with a spiderweb of ridges running across it.