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01/26/07 06:11 PM  
Should I make a starter for brett
This question was asked on another forum. I was wondering if you could make a starter for brett or should you just pitch the vial into the beer? I'm thinking secondary fermentation - not primary. Thanks!
Al B
01/27/07 10:37 AM  
Re: Should I make a starter for brett
Probably not needed for secondary unless your vial is old.

But it certaintly doesn't hurt.

01/27/07 09:43 PM  
Re: Should I make a starter for brett
I have not used brett in the past except for pitching the slurry of an Orval once - so I was wondering - if I made a starter would I see a lot of activity (with a WL tube)? I guess I'm not sure what to expect and I have heard that brett works very slowly. Thanks for your help!
01/28/07 11:29 AM  
Re: Should I make a starter for brett
Hi MV -

A starter I recently made from Orval dregs did not show a lot of visible foaming/kraeusen, but fermentation was evident after 3-4 days via bubbling of the airlock I attached to the 12oz bottle I used. I would imagine your commercial culture would start up quicker. Also, the distinctive brett aroma - from the Orval B. Brux. I got pineapple and the 'barnyard' aroma that I've always thought of as 'urinal puck' - is a good sign it's working.

But as Al B noted, the starter is likely not critical for use as a secondary - just give it some time to get going. Don't forget it should continue to do some work after bottling also - I believe the word on the street is that Orval now adds theirs at bottling and does not secondary with it, and it still seems to express pretty well.

Good luck and keep us posted - what is the beer, anyhow?

01/28/07 11:59 AM  
Re: Should I make a starter for brett
Thanks EriikH - the beer I am going to pitch the brett in is a tripel. I will be letting it ferment for a few months in the beer before bottling in champagne bottles. I think I will let the starter sit for a couple days before pitching. It does not have an airlock right now, just aluminum foil. I don't have a stopper big enough for the flask so maybe I will give it the "aroma test." Thanks again!
01/29/07 11:25 AM  
Re: Should I make a starter for brett
Sounds intriguing! I hope you'll take an SG of the beer when you pitch it and again at bottling and let us know - it would be interesting to see how much residual sugar the brett chews through.

A little swirling is always a help in eliciting the aroma from the starter, natch.

01/29/07 12:00 PM  
Re: Should I make a starter for brett
Hehe ... well, the REASON I wanted to pitch the brett was because I had a very disapointing FG (1.018) on a recipe I usually get 1.010-12 on. Not sure what happened. Had been debating champagne yeast but a topic came up on another forum so I figured I'd go ahead and experiment rather then dump it.

I went ahead and pitched the yeast this morning. It definately had an aroma different then any other yeast starter I have made before. I was getting some faint activity on the surface, some light surface foaming and a little bit of yellow formation (pellicle?) that was unlike any starter I have made. Thanks for all your help. I will reply back when the gravity starts to drop.

One more question - I currently have this in stainless (corny keg).... I was wondering if should move it to plastic to let it breath more? I thought I have read these things work better if the fermenter is pourus (like wood or plastic). Perhaps I am just confusing Lambic fermentations. Thanks for all the help.

01/29/07 06:06 PM  
Re: Should I make a starter for brett
MV, for that question we will have to wait for one of the more truly brett-savvy folks here to respond. My guess is that porosity and O2 availability it's not an issue for brett as a secondary fermenter, but frankly I don't know.

As for gravity, my experience was that it took my Orval clone down about 2.5 pts in a month (1.0135 to 1.011). Haven't checked again after bottling. YMMV!

01/29/07 07:02 PM  
Re: Should I make a starter for brett
I think moving it to plastic at this point, or otherwise providing small doses of oxygen, will do the following (plus a bunch of stuff I don't know or understand):

- almost definitely lead to greater acetic acid

- speed oxidation/staling of the beer

- increase the likelihood of unwanted infections

Your call whether you want the acid, and how much to worry about oxidation/infection. Personally I'd leave it in glass.

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