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Brettanomyces Brewing
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04/03/07 09:59 AM  
Brettanomyces Pellicle
Two days ago I brewed my first all-brettanomyces batch. After 24 hours there was a thin layer of activity on the surface of the wort. But after 36 hours a serious pellicle had formed on the top of the wort - a solid layer on top of the wort that extended about 2 inches below the surface.

It even looked like the same type of formation had begun on the bottom of the carboy.

My question is: how do you know when to rack an all-brett wort to secondary? Do you wait for the pellicle to disappear? Or do you periodically take gravity readings to know when the time is right?

Mike T
04/03/07 10:25 AM  
Re: Brettanomyces Pellicle
Iím not sure what the technical difference between a krausen and a pellicle is (or even that there is one), but in my limited experience with Brett C as a primary fermenter it seems to act just like a regular yeast. That is to say that for about a week I get a large foamy head that falls when activity is complete leaving the top of the beer clear. After two weeks or so I transfer it to secondary, having given time for a good deal of the Brett to fall to the bottom of the fermenter.

This is less than 24 hours in on one of my Brett beers:


Beers that I have added Brett C to after primary fermentation have eventually grown sort of a funky pellicle like thing.

Not the best shot, but the one in the back right corner is an Old Ale that had Brett C pitched into it about 3 months prior to this shot:


04/03/07 10:50 AM  
Re: Brettanomyces Pellicle
I prefer to leave the beer on the bugs for an extended period of time. I feel that it allows the flavors to evolve and mature. I have tasted beers that were on the bugs for a few months and they are nothing to sneeze at, either. I just prefer the complexity that a bit of age gives the brew.

The pelicle that forms from a brettanomyces fermentation is a protective layer that the bacteria build up. The pellicle won't neccesarilly disapear, at least I've never seen it disipate. I would just break through it with a racking cane and extract the goodies that lie beneath.

04/03/07 11:42 AM  
Re: Brettanomyces Pellicle
Great pictures. The one in the front left has the same kind of little flakes I've seen with WY B. Lambicus (and Roselare). What's in that one?
Mike T
04/03/07 01:23 PM  
Re: Brettanomyces Pellicle
The one in the front left is a lambic with Wyeast lambic blend (it had a better pellicle but it got broken up when I took the carboys out of the fridge to clean up the wort that was pushed through the wood), next to that is a Flanders red/bruin with Roeselare, and the back left is a dark strong (you can see the gross airlock which was from the fermentation unexpectedly starting back up after I racked it off 6 lbs of cherries) with Brett C and Orval dregs.
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