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01/20/08 11:53 PM  
100% Brett C lag time?
Hi there, I'm fairly new on here but have been brewing for a few years. I've just recently started getting heavily into Brett beers. Yesterday I brewed 10 gallons that I split; fermenting 5 with WLP550 and 5, 100% with WLP645 Brettanomyces Claussenii.

Here is the problem, I think that the Brett might not have been in the best shape. I made a 1000ml starter on my stirplate with it several days ago but never saw much activity. I just chaulked it up to Brett being slow to ferment. (Before I pitched it did seem that maybe there was a little activity, but I wasn't sure) I pitched the entire starter, and now I'm still not seeing any activity.

I know that 24 hours isn't really THAT long of a lag time, but I'm wondering what is normal for this yeast. I've been told that this strain ferments very similar to Saccharomyces; but as of now I'm not seeing it. I have tubes of Brett B and Brett L that I was going to do similar beers with. At what point should I just say, F it, and pitch some dry yeast? Or should I try pitching another Brett tube? Is viability normally a problem with these, or are they just slower to start than I had realized? Have I gotten to used to seeing activity within a couple hours?

Thanks for all the help!

01/21/08 07:04 AM  
Re: 100% Brett C lag time?
Without a proper starter you could be waiting for days. Brett starters are made differently than those for Sacch. More TLC, constant feeding, aeration on a stir plate, etc...

With advice from others here, I spent two weeks building a starter of Brett lambicus before pitching. Others here will have more advice for you, but my general impression is that Brett is a survivor and your culture is probably perfectly viable but will need away to get rolling.

I'd wait.

01/21/08 12:56 PM  
Re: 100% Brett C lag time?
I made one WL brettC starter on a stir plate at room temperatures this past Nov and Dec when it was chilling down to low 60s and upper 50s at night. It never took off even with multiple weeks and 2 tubes. Eventually it grew some nice blue mold though.

maybe it was bad tubes...

anyways, just tried another one recently and keep the house temp betw 70 and 75F even at night and the starter took off nicely with just a single tube.

I think the BrettC is highly temnperature sensitive and really needs some decent warmth to get it going initially.


01/21/08 01:03 PM  
Re: 100% Brett C lag time?
Brett REALLY likes warm temps if you want to use it as a primary fermenter. It can easily handle saison temps up to 90F with no ill effects.
01/21/08 01:16 PM  
Re: 100% Brett C lag time?
OK, great. Thanks. I'll pick up a heat pad to warm it up. It's hovering in the 62-64 range now.


Brian Richards
01/28/08 10:36 PM  
Re: 100% Brett C lag time?
I am planning on doing a 10 gallon batch of berliner weisse using all Brett C. I am going to make a starter tonight but I imagine I am going to need to grow this single tube up substantially in order to have enough yeast to get both 5 gallon carboys off to a healty fermentation. I am unsure of what size starter I should start with here. How much DME should I add after the initial fermentation in the first starter has finished. I want to make the right sized starter so I get good growth seeing as how I want to do 10 gallons. Any ideas?
01/29/08 01:13 AM  
Re: 100% Brett C lag time?
Well, first I wanna say that with all Brett C, it's hardly a Berliner Weisse anymore, which gets it's character from lacto. Still sounds pretty tasty though. If you're going for a normal Berliner gravity (say ~1.030) then you could probably get by with a 1 liter starter on a stirplate, or roughly 2 liters not on a stireplate. Check out www.mrmalty.com for more details.
Mike T
01/29/08 08:58 AM  
Re: 100% Brett C lag time?
Clearly you havenít had the experience of tasting Steveís 100% Brett C Berliner weiss. Somehow the low starting gravity and cold fermentation made for a delightfully tangy finished beer, something I have never gotten out of a pure Brett batch.

As for the starter, Iíd go more like a gallon starter. I try to aim for what would be the correct pitching amount for a lager. Start at a pint and work your way up from there.

All that being said, if I were you I would give the new Wyeast Berliner Weiss blend a shot since it is a limited release and contains brewer's yeast, lacto, and a "special" strain of Brett. I did a batch with it last week, no telling how it will be for a few months though.

01/29/08 12:53 PM  
Re: 100% Brett C lag time?
For my 100% brett beers, I try and make my starter about a month before brewing so I can scale up several times from tube/pack. This gives about 1/4" of solid settled slurry in a 2L flask. maybe 200-300mL of solid slurry I'd guess.

I usually do a decant and feeding every week or so and after 3 or 4 of them, do a final settle and decant and then picth the solid slurry into the carboy.

For my brettL and BrettB, 5 gallons of wort was rocking within 24 hrs of pitch at the above rates.

My brettC is now at this starter amount and I'm brewing tomorrow night so we'll see how fast it takes off.


Brian Richards
01/29/08 08:37 PM  
Re: 100% Brett C lag time?
Hmm, maybe I'll do a split batch with one being all Brett C and another with the the Wyeast Berliner strain. Another guy in my club is doing a Berliner with the sour mash technique so it will be interesting to try them all side by side. I think I'll go order that wyeast right now, thanks.
01/30/08 11:58 AM  
Re: 100% Brett C lag time?
<<Clearly you havenít had the experience of tasting Steveís 100% Brett C Berliner weiss. Somehow the low starting gravity and cold fermentation made for a delightfully tangy finished beer, something I have never gotten out of a pure Brett batch.>>

Clearly not Mike. ;) Sounds very interesting; something I may have to try.

My 100% Brett C brew is slowing down now, after a very strong ferment (and blowoff) that kicked off a little late. Maybe 36 hours or so. (Wow, that takes me back) I'm very excited to try it in another couple weeks.

I too am interested in the Wyeast Berliner Blend too. I've done a sour mash Berliner that turned out real nice, and I also want to try one with Kristen England's recipe and a pure lacto strain. Ah, so much to brew.

Mike T
01/30/08 01:31 PM  
Re: 100% Brett C lag time?
Steveís B-Weiss was one of the most eye-opening beers of the 100% Brett swap last winter.

I transferred my Berliner to secondary last night, it was down to 1.006 (81% AA), but it only had a light tart edge. I was under the impression that most of the souring was supposed to be done before the main alcoholic fermentation. I plan to give it a month in secondary before I give it another taste/gravity test, and decide how to proceed. No rush on this one, but I am hoping that it will be drinking nice come the hot DC summer.

01/31/08 01:05 PM  
Re: 100% Brett C lag time?
For the 100% brettC mentioned above on 1/29, it was brewed last night. 5 gallons of 1.054 received the 3 week total time stir plate 100% brettC decanted slurry.

No O2 added at pitch. House temp at 70-75F.

7 hours post pitch had just under 2 inches of foam on it so its rocking and rolling.

hope this info helps.

For BrettC, I'd recommend really keeping those ferment temps up and not too low. Around 60, I had very little luck with getting starters going. At 70ish F, it seems to do very nicely.

have fun, peteC

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