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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

My Funky Brother Brett

During the mash
A few months back I stumbled upon an interesting article on brewing beers fermented 100% with Brettanomyces instead of Saccharomyces. The article featured a couple of names that I've started to become familiar with over the past few months since my first read through.  The biggest take away for me was actually the non-use of aeration. It was an intriguing article so I posted it up to my Brewluminati Facebook group. This generated a lot of good discussion and several of us decided to undertake the challenge.

I decided to brew up a Mo Betta Brett inspired recipe which I'd found on both White Labs and the Mad Fermentationist. I named the beer My Funky Brother Brett after both Brettanomyces and my actual brother Brett. For the strain I went with White Labs WLP645 (Brettanomyces claussenii). Brettanomyces claussenii was discovered at the Carlsberg brewery in 1904 and some of the descriptors that I've read for clean fermentations are fruity with pineapple like aroma. For those who note that Mike (The Mad Fermentationist) is using Brettanomyces anomalus and not Brettanomyces claussenii I'd like to point out that according to Chad Yakobson of The Brettanomyces Project and Crooked Stave in a NHC 2011 presentation B. claussenii has since been reclassified as B. anomalus. So they are scientifically the same strain.

The hardest part was actually finding time to brew it with everything else I had going. Looking at my scheduled Bonnie suggest that I brew it on a Friday night. I've been thinking of doing a late night brew session for a while so I agreed and invited some fellow brewers over to assist and hang out.

I brought out the fire-pit so people could stay warm
Ive been hovering in the low 60s lately in my efficiency and this was no exception.  For some reason I calculated the efficiency of the recipe at 65% but ended up 4 points under gravity at 1.056 or 60%. I know some people getting 75-80% from batch sparging but that isn't me. I'd love to get it up but for now I just need to start basing recipes off of what I'm really getting not what I wish I was getting.

One note on working with Brettanomyces, because the size of the cell is so small Brettanomyces can hide in the smallest seams or scratches, so if you start to venture this direction you'll want to keep it isolated. I bought a bucket that I intend to use only of brett-based beers and have an old secondary that I will give to the project. In addition I'm going to mark all hoses and siphons that comes in contact with the brett including keg tubing. I didn't do this with Halvtreds as it used a clean primary and will only be soured in bulk aging in a keg.

It's going to be in primary for a while as I've read the strain can take up to 11 days to really get underway.


My Funky Brother Brett
Belgian Pale Ale
Type: All Grain Date: 12/9/2011
Batch Size (fermenter): 5.00 gal
Brewer: Scott Bennett
Boil Size: 7.65 gal
Boil Time: 75 min
Equipment: Brew Pot (15 Gal) and Igloo/Gott Cooler (10 Gal)
Brewhouse Efficiency: 60.8 %

Beer Profile
Est Original Gravity: 1.060 SG
Measured Original Gravity: 1.056 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.014 SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 6.0 % 
Bitterness: 20.9 IBUs
Est Color: 5.0 SRM 


8.75 lb Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM)
1.25 lb Munich Malt (9.0 SRM)
1.00 lb Acid Malt (3.0 SRM)
1.00 lb Cara-Pils/Dextrine (2.0 SRM)
1.00 lb Oats, Flaked (1.0 SRM)

0.40 oz Magnum [14.00 %] - First Wort 75.0 min
0.50 oz Citra [12.00 %] - Aroma Steep 0.0 min

1.0 started Brettanomyces Claussenii (White Labs #WLP645)

1.00 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 15.0 mins)
1.00 tsp Yeast Nutrient (Boil 15.0 mins)

Mash Profile

Mash Name: Single Infusion, Medium Body, Batch Sparge Total Grain Weight: 13.00 lb
Sparge Water: 5.95 gal Grain Temperature: 72.0 F
Sparge Temperature: 168.0 F Tun Temperature: 72.0 F
Adjust Temp for Equipment: TRUE Mash PH: 5.20

Mash Steps
Mash In Add 16.25 qt of water at 167.7 F 152.0 F 60 min
Sparge Step: Batch sparge with 2 steps (1.72gal, 4.23gal) of 168.0 F water
Mash Notes: Simple single infusion mash for use with most modern well modified grains (about 95% of the time).

In the future for brett beers starters need at least a week to get started
Tomme Arthur’s - http://www.whitelabs.com/beer/homebrew_customerclub_4th06.html
The Mad Fermentationist (Mike)’s - http://www.themadfermentationist.com/2007/09/mo-betta-bretta-2.html

To save time I setup in the morning before work
Filling the mash water
Hops and fining
My small flask worked great for vorlofing
Filled with sparge water
Checking the fill volume
Fill temp
Generally I try to utilize the water used in cooling elsewhere
I the ice bath completing the cool down
The left behind, also a good shot of my dip tube from Brewers Hardware
Some of the beers enjoyed that evening
Capped off a great evening with this...

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