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Brettanomyces Brewing
E-Symposium Transcript!

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Author Replies
05/01/06 10:19 AM  
Brettanomyces e-symposium, interest?
A couple months ago we had a sour/funky beer swap and I learned something amazing. Homebrewers can make great beer with Brettanomyces as the primary - if not sole - fermentation agent. N8 sent out such a brew, it did not have any of the character I would have expected. Words like horsey, mousey, etc had no relivance here, N8s beer tasted like a grainy pale lager with a distinct rough edge. Really unexpected and impressive.

Saturday I spent some time in AlBs truck, we talked mostly about a similar effort he has just launched. Al is in the very first stages, but already getting results that I fould really surprising. I sat back and listened to his description, but I found myself following up with an endless string of questions. Some he had answers for, some educated guesses. But one thing was clear, when you know pretty much nothing about a subject you are capable of thinking of questions that might not occur to a person with expertise. For that reason I believe a session that allows audience participation - as opposed to an article - is critical for homebrewers wishing to gain competency in this area.

I think Brett brewing is one of the great brewing areas of the new millenium. I also see that little conventional brewing wisdom applies when discussing it. I have spoken with Al and N8, both very knowledgable lab guys, about arranging a moderated virtual Q&A session covering this topic. Whether or not this idea developes into an event is up to you, the homeBBBrewBoard user. If 8 people want in we will do it (so far theres one, me!). It would occur in our chatroom, I would act as moderator. You need that or such an event becomes 10 people in a room all talking at once. But though the session would be well structured it would also be designed to let anyone with something to say express themselves. If you would like an example of how something like this might go, hit the "BBB SPECIAL PROJECTS" link on the left menu and go to the "BBB VIRTUAL EVENTS" section. To be sure those attending get the attention they need I will have to cut this off at 15. If I actually turn people away (which would surprise me) follow up sessions will be arranged, I would love to get this info out to everyone who wants it. I will be upgrading the chatroom to allow for transcript recording.

Please indicate your interest by responding to this thread. The order of your response will determine the order in which questions will be presented. Steve

05/01/06 12:53 PM  
Re: Brettanomyces e-symposium, interest?
I'm interested - my first all Brett beer didn't turn out too well (of course I haven't tried it in some 4 - 6 months, so who knows by now), but I want to try again.
05/01/06 06:15 PM  
Re: Brettanomyces e-symposium, interest?
I would be interested in this as well steve. I have dabbled a bit with brett, and plan on doing a all brett beer this saturday.

So count me as interested.

Mykel Obvious
05/01/06 06:51 PM  
Re: Brettanomyces e-symposium, interest?
YES!!! As long as the date and time work out... I'm there... experimental brewing fascinates me to no end... I'm thinking about doing a 3 gallon test batch and doing each gallon with a different Brett strain, all other variables equal and see what they taste like... and look at potential for blending etc.

I'm very glad both this board and SteveG are here!!! (not to mention all the other great people who are full of interesting info!!!)


matt dinges
05/01/06 08:15 PM  
Re: Brettanomyces e-symposium, interest?

I'd be interested in that...although right now the only question I can think of is: N8, can you tell me more about this beer?



05/01/06 10:08 PM  
Re: Brettanomyces e-symposium, interest?
Matt, I think if this thing happens, which is starting to look good, I'll ask both N8 and Al to write something up describing the process as they each experienced it. This alone will be quite an eye opener, I can say N8s explainations fascinated me, as did Als. I think that's a great place to start, with some basic foundation behind us the Q&A session can take off as my conversation with Al did. Honestly, Al concluding his explaination is where the conversation began!

Mykel, A., thanks! B. Getting a time that is good for all is hard and not always possible but always my objective. If a couple more people chime in this could potentially happen in the next week or two. But we'll do all we can to make it work for everyone.

05/02/06 07:11 AM  
Re: Brettanomyces e-symposium, interest?
I'm interested...haven't brewed with brett yet, but I want to soak in some second-hand experience before trying.
05/02/06 08:04 AM  
Re: Brettanomyces e-symposium, interest?
SteveG -

I'd love to get a copy of the transcript, or be a passive reader during the live session. As for participation I just don't know enough and would not want to burden the panel with a blizzard of basic questions. Just got Wild Brews in the mail yesterday; currently on page 12...

Al B
05/02/06 08:56 AM  
Re: Brettanomyces e-symposium, interest?
Hey, I've been a microbiologist fer awhile now and these Brett-bugs are all new to me too! The basic stuff is important, and its making my brain think...........and it hurts........but I can take it! I'm getting some interesting results in just producing a starter-culture of B. clausenii (and its only been 48 hrs).

Al B clausenii

PS - the Wildbrews info has good info on the subject -

there is quite a bit of "may do this" or "may do that" in a later chapter (living things like Bretts have a mind of there own). But some things are beginning to come clear as far as characteristics after a given fermentation.

05/02/06 09:28 AM  
Re: Brettanomyces e-symposium, interest?
Joe, the reason to do this is because none of us know enough. We will all be asking basic questions, you should have heard me grilling Al Saturday! It was not as one seasoned brewer to another, it was more like biology teacher to student on the first day of school. Don't worry, you'll be fine. And if all you do is rely on the transcript you might not satisfy an area where you are not clear.
05/02/06 11:40 AM  
Re: Brettanomyces e-symposium, interest?
Yea Joe, the only stupid questions are the ones you didn't ask.

Al, I was excited to watch the same things when I was culturing up some Brett Brux. a year or so ago. I've heard from a few different people that have used Brett and other funks that they DO have a mind of thier own.

Also, have you done any snooping around on the ATCC site?


There is a wealth of info from those guys. One more thing, have you heard the theory about adding tomato juice to your brett cultures to lower the pH? I was told that in reasarching the proper way to culture up brett bugs. I did try it, but not sure if it helped or what...

Al B
05/02/06 12:29 PM  
Re: Brettanomyces e-symposium, interest?
Yeah, I was looking there a bit (man, bugs can be expensive)

Actually, I have info on adding tomato juice to Pediococcus cultures. For Bretts, i have stuff to use alot of CaCO3 for buffering.

The pH dropped like a lead balloon after 24hrs on my Brett starter - which may affect budding of yeast (if it gets too low) according to one source, Bretts stop reproducing under pH of 3.4. Reformulation of wort starter media......yes...

05/02/06 01:18 PM  
Re: Brettanomyces e-symposium, interest?
me interested!


Matt Walker (mwsf)
05/02/06 01:44 PM  
Re: Brettanomyces e-symposium, interest?
Not sure if I'll be able to participate in the e-symposium; I'm out of town a lot in the next couple weeks. Very cool idea though and at the very least, I'd love to check out a transcript.

And I'm also having some strange results growing a starter of B. clausenii. I just stepped up from 400mL to 2000mL and I should have used a blow-off tube on my flask! Definitely not the results I would have expected from B. clausenii.

Sean Paxton
05/02/06 05:06 PM  
Re: Brettanomyces e-symposium, interest?
I am very interested in this whole topic.

I just got 4 varieties of Brett. Looking to do a few different brews, some just Brett, others using Brett as a second bacteria after a primary yeast…

Thanks Steve for setting this up!



Al B
05/03/06 07:10 AM  
Re: Brettanomyces e-symposium, interest?

What is the 4th Brett? (I'm assuming B. clausenii, bruxellensis, and lambicus).


Sean Paxton
05/03/06 11:14 AM  
Re: Brettanomyces e-symposium, interest?
Hi Al,

The three you mentioned and a new one that I have not seen on the homebrew shelves: Brettanomyces Anomalous. Wyeast has now released it with their bruxellensis and lambicus line up of bacteria.

From Tomme’s article on WhiteLabs page:

Brett Anomolus has also been isolated from Belgian Brewing Cultures as well as some of the Stout Cultures from Irish Breweries. It is in this sense sometimes referred to as the "Stout Strain" of Brett. It produces an ester that is more mild and somewhat less "horsey" than Bruxellensis and Lambicus.

In April of 2004 we conducted an experiment at Pizza Port in Solana Beach and brewed Moe Betta Bretta, a 100% Brettanomyces Anomolus Fermentation. This collaborative beer developed and brewed with Peter Bouckaert of New Belgium Brewing Co. tested the potential for 100% Brettanomyces Anomolus fermentations. The finished product was quite aromatic with notes of pineapple and passion fruit. A much more reserved quality of barnyard esters was perceived due to the Anomolus fermentation.

I’m very curious and have lots of ideas, but my base knowledge and understanding these bugs is still novice. After having a pint of le Terior from New Belgium, the idea of dry hopping a 100% brett beer with Amarillo, specially using something of the Anomolus or Claussenii strain, would be very interesting.



Al B
05/03/06 11:38 AM  
Re: Brettanomyces e-symposium, interest?
Hmmmm, Wyeast is now releasing it - I think I'll take a look at this anomulus in a comparision to clausenii.


05/03/06 05:20 PM  
Re: anomulus & clausenii
<<Hmmmm, Wyeast is now releasing it - I think I'll take a look at this anomulus in a comparision to clausenii. >>

They are the same strain of yeast, or put more succintly anomulus = clausenii. For some reason single Brett species often get multiple names. As for a source for this info, most recently (this morning in fact), I noticed this being said in Phil's Farmhouse ales book, though I am sure I have heard this from Chris White of whitelabs as well.

All of this is not to say that the two will produce indistinguishable beers. Just like sach, and I suspect perhaps even more so, the strains from the two vendors could produce noticeably different results.

Happy experiment'n

05/03/06 06:06 PM  
Re: Brettanomyces e-symposium, interest?
Actually on White labs site they describe the two as being "closely related". I had thought I'd heard this somewhere but I couldn't remember where so I held back. Thanks for mentioning Chris! I went to whitelabs.com and there it was.
Matt Walker (mwsf)
05/03/06 08:43 PM  
Re: Brettanomyces e-symposium, interest?
Anybody know which strain(s) of Brett is in Russian River Sanctification? It's another 100% Brett beer. I think I remember Vinnie saying it was a Brett blend but I'm not sure. It definitely doesn't have the pineapple esters that Mo Betta Bretta does.
05/03/06 09:53 PM  
Re: Brettanomyces e-symposium, interest?
I understand it is either bruxellensis or lambicus. I was surprised, I figured for all brett brewing you'd want something less in your face. I thought for sure he'd be using anomulus or clausenii. Then I tasted N8's!

In a year we MUST do a brett swap.

05/03/06 10:02 PM  
Re: Brettanomyces e-symposium, interest?
He definitely uses two strains of Brett, plus he also added a lactobacillus to the last batch. This information is on the RR website, but he does not specifically list which strains he uses.
Al B
05/03/06 10:11 PM  
Re: Brettanomyces e-symposium, interest?
I think I have a nice starter media formulated now......this Brett is exploding - I don't have cell counts to verify this but its growing as fast as any Sacch. culture I've seen - in only 3-4 days there's one fat, gluttonous slurry (I hope it doesn't turn into "the BLOB").
05/04/06 10:52 AM  
Re: Brettanomyces e-symposium, interest?
The Sancification uses Brett Bruxellensis and Brett Lambicus. There is also Lactobacillus Delbrueckii.

05/07/06 11:26 PM  
Re: Brettanomyces e-symposium, interest?
I am very interested in an e-symposium. I have a cascade pale ale, brewed in late december that was fermented with dregs of a 6 pk of New Belgium's Beire de Mars and a few Orval Bottles. It was fermented in plastic, and It was my first sbrett brew, so i had to look at the pellicle from time to time. It was kegged for future aging,- in the now dedicated FUNKY KEG and tasted weird... I wasn't sure I'd like it. I thought it might be too acetic, but then I tried my first Cantillion Gueuze, and CRAP!- my brew was 'very mellow" and enjoyable.
Al B
05/08/06 07:16 AM  
Re: Brettanomyces e-symposium, interest?
Sebastian -

How did yer Brett brew go this past Sat? Any details to share??

I am scheduling my "take me to ....Funkytown" Farmhouse Ale w/ B. clausenii (500ml of pure sludge) this coming weekend (or maybe I'll call it "you better, you better, you Brett" -The Who)

Al B funnnnnnnnnnnky

05/08/06 12:46 PM  
Re: Brett -brew on Sat
So far so good. I received a slightly out of date (expiration date of late April) vial of yeast from an online source. There really not as much yeast mass as I am used to in a normal WL vial. I made a standard DME pint starter on Thursday night and stuck it on a stir plate. It finally started to show activity on Friday night and was rockin & a rollin by the time I pitched at 4 pm on Saturday.

I was a bit worried, with the conflicting info on starter media for Brett, about getting it up and going, but have to say it is performing just as well as the other three Saison yeasts that I pitched that day.

I might be pushing the fermentation temperature envelope with the Brett, but I want to be able to directly compare it with my other yeast pitches. In another thread I mentioned that I brewed a 12 gallon batch divided it 4 ways and pitched Wyeast 3724 Saison (Dupont), 3725 Bier de Garde (Fantome), 3726 Farmhouse (Blaugies), and the WL645 B. Clausenii. Because I am using the saison strains I am doing a primary ferment at 90*F. I hope the Brett doesn't get too funky at these temps.

All 4 batches were going full bore within 2 hours of pitching. The most active part of fermentation was done by this morning, I'll keep them for at least a week at 90*F though, especially with the finicky Saison strains I want these to ferment to completion.

I'll keep you all filled in on how things go, but if worse comes to worse, I can always blend the Brett with the others.

Al B
05/08/06 02:05 PM  
Re: Brettanomyces e-symposium, interest?
Zoiks! 90 degrees - that may be interesting for the Brett...

The vial I got was older - March, I think, and it had less yeast mass too. Getting the Brett active using regular DME will do, I added CaCO3 to ensure propagation in high numbers. I'm sure it increased in population (probably up to 2x in 24hrs) once activated - until a pH of 3.4 or lower (if reached). At that point, it will still be very much alive.......

- Apparently, Bretts (probably all) are acid producers with aeration (acetic with oxygen, lactic without)(mostly) so to get the most out of the culture, I added 0.5% CaCO3. This is also recomended in many resources I have - not essential for short term growth, but important for long term storage and maximum population vs. nutrient level.

- after I added some fresh wort to my clausenii culture - it is fermenting some of the most peculiar pinapple/apple aromas - very intense. Its also very vigorous in CO2.....Its ready to go......

05/08/06 04:29 PM  
Re: Brettanomyces e-symposium, interest?
<<-after I added some fresh wort to my clausenii culture - it is fermenting some of the most peculiar pinapple/apple aromas - very intense.>>

Actually this is what I remember most about a fresh tasting of Pizza Ports Mo Betta Bretta (also done with a anomolus/clausenii strain). The intense pinapple fruit aspect was so suprising. Certainly convinced me that primary brett fermentation is an entirely different beast.

05/20/06 05:12 PM  
Re: Brettanomyces e-symposium, interest?
I'm down with it.

I'm getting ready to start propping three Bretts (Figured WLP's Cl was too close to Wyeast's Anomolous)and making 3 3.5g batches of a simple Pale to see how they compare.

Oxygen increases the lactic acid production, usually not a problem in secondary, but in oxygenated wort/starter, I plan on scheduled buffering to take up some hydrogen as it's freed.

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