100% Brett Brux Pale Ale

IMG_0657Now that I’m starting to get into brewing sours, I really wanted to do a beer with all Brettanomyces as the primary yeast. So far I’ve done combinations of ale yeast, brett, and bacteria just to get my feet wet in the wild fermentation domain but never used just Brett by itself.  I’ve drank tons of brett beers so I’m pretty familiar with all of the types of flavors it can produce (horsey, funk, hay, cherry, pineapple, etc), but brewing one is definitely on my to-do list.

I went with a pale ale style recipe – a hoppy beer that still has some legitimate malt presence for balance. All Belgian Dingeman’s malts to give it a more classic European feel – pilsner malt as the base for a crisp, light, bready flavor, a fair amount (20%) of Munich for a slightly bigger, maltier base to the beer, and some caramunich to really round out the body.  For hops I used Magnum to get the IBUs up, but lots of Mosaic at flameout for aroma. I’ll add some dry hops later on as well.

  • 17.05 lb Pils
  • 4.4 lb Munich (5L)
  • 0.55 lb Caramunich 45L
  • 1.5 oz Magnum hops (first wort)
  • 4 oz Mosaic hops (flame-out)
  • WLP570 Belgian Golden Ale (5 gal)
  • WLP650 Brett Brux (5 gal)

// Mash-in 1.36 qt/lb (7.5 gal) at 130F for 15 minutes, 148 for 30 minutes, 154 for 20 minutes, mash out at 168F. Add first wort hops, boil 90 minutes. Chill to 185, add flame-out hops, stir and let sit for 20 minutes. Chill to 65, collect around 10 gallons of 1053 wort. Pitched entire 1L starters of each. Brewed 3/22/15. //

3/23/15   570 showed signs of fermentation fairly quickly after pitching, after 24 hours the Brett was not showing anything. The Brett starter really didn’t look like it did much, even though I started it on the stir plate a good 7 days before brew day. Pitched another vial of 650 to hopefully kickstart things.

3/24/15  Brett’s airlock was raised, and later on in the afternoon showed some slow bubbling. Phew. ::wipes sweat from forehead::

3/29/15  570 at 1016. Still a little sweet, but nice bright peachy flavors with a citrusy hoppy zing. Not really that much hop aroma and some subtle flavor. Tossed in 1 oz of Mosaic hop pellets loose. 650 still chugging away.

4/1/15  570 at 1012. Level of sweetness is right and hop flavor is improving. Lots of peach aroma. Gonna leave it here for one more day then start crash cooling.

4/3/15  Moved the 570 to the fridge to crash cool. Brett is at 1026. Nice funky aroma, slightly horsey but not too much, with some fruity hop aromas. Still pretty sweet but overall on the right track.

THE VERDICT

Really happy with both beers that came out of this batch. The 570 is a great yeast – I really like the soft peach esters it gives and the Mosaic hops really complimented that character. I got a lot of compliments on that beer as being super drinkable and refreshing, so I think this recipe is overall pretty sound. The 100% Brett beer was also really good. It’s got a good level of “funk” and character from the yeast with all around great flavor. It’s tough to describe the overall picture that you get from this Brett; there’s some mango, peach, and assorted tropical flavors without the really bright and piercing citrus that accompanies hops with similar profile. There’s that kinda horsey/hay bale thing too but it’s more in the background. Maybe after using it a few more times i’ll be able to explain it better, but that’s all i’ve got for now. The hop flavor seems a little subdued, which makes me think that this could have benefited from dry-hopping with some additional Mosaic, but it’s not bad where it is.

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