Tuesday, July 3, 2012

All Brett Brown Beer

Brettanomyces, many view it as the black sheep of the yeast family. It is often considered a contaminate or at best added to a beer to make it a little peculiar and unique. Few people give Brett the opportunity to hold the center stage. For those few that are willing to give Brett a shot I promise that you will not be disappointed.

A Pellicile which is normally associated with Brett
Now before I launch into this I want to make a couple of disclaimers....
1st this is more of an experiment than a beer. I used a couple of second runnings to make this beer so I do not have a set recipe that I can give for it. I used wort from both my Rochefort 10 and my Pirate Lager beers to make this creation. In both cases I boiled the second runnings down to a gravity of 1.040 and added hops to about 20 IBU.
2nd I do not have a normal strain of Brett. What I do have is Brett cultured from New Belgium and from Russian River. They are two separate strains that I pitch together in equal proportion.

Now that I have made my disclaimer I want to touch on another subject with Brett. In order for optimal growth and alcohol production Brett needs oxygen ( at least according to Yeast by White). I thought I would give this a shot and let Brett ferment without an air lock. In order to do this I simple covered the top of the fermenter with tin foil and let the Brett go.

Before you write this off as a ramble or a shotty experiment due to lack of controls, records, or what have you at least take a look at how the beer turned out. I want to make it clear that this beer does not have any of the nasty characteristics that are associated with Brett but instead turned out rather enjoyable. It also at no point formed a pellicile which is normally associated with Brett. In addition, the beer finished at 1.005, which is be no means ultra attenuative, another myth often associated with Brett.

Appearance-  A nice strong head on the beer, but not gushing. This goes to show that Brett does not always eat every sugar it can get and can be used as the only organism in a fermentation.

Aroma- Malt aromas are pretty strong. I do not detect very much of anything added by the brett except maybe some earth like aromas, similar to dirt that is wet.

Taste- Not much added by the brett, a little funky fruit aftertaste.

Mouthfeel- pretty middle of the road

Overall- I am very pleased with my Brett. I now know that it can ferment well in the presence of oxygen without the beer turning into an oxidized mess (but very little hops are in the beer which I am sure helps) I think from here I will design a beer that is meant to be fermented with just Brett.

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