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03/28/08 02:15 PM  
Re: first time brett brewing
would one get excessive acetic acid when not adding, say, pediococcus or acetobacter, to the beer?

also: does anyone have any suggestions on splitting up a vial of yeast? i want to throw the brett b into the secondary, after the primary's done with sacch, so i can't just harvest it from a fermenter. should i maybe make a starter and throw some of the slurry into a jar of boiled water and throw it in the fridge for later use?

03/31/08 01:15 PM  
Re: first time brett brewing
Pedio: doesn't make acetic anyway, so you don't have to worry about that one.

Acetobacter: does make acetic and can make enough to turn your beer to vinegar. Supposedly it's in the air everywhere and probably in your beer too, regardless of what you do. (Prove it by opening a bottle of beer, covering with an airlock that doesn't have water in it, and letting it sit out for a few months). But, it won't do anything unless you let it have oxygen.

Brett: will also make acetic if you give it oxygen. Some people have disputed this in various places, but there's a paper freely available on PubMed showing this definitively. (Though there are some rare strains that don't.)

In the end I don't think it matters whether brett or acetobacter is the one making the acetic, the point is that more oxygen generally gives more acetic if either of these are in your beer. You do need quite a bit of oxygen to get lots of acetic--on the order of 10s of gallons of air if I remember correctly. Somewhere in the archives is a calculation I did once.

01/27/09 04:02 AM  
Re: first time brett brewing
so this thread has been dead a while, eh?

well, a lot has changed since i last posted, and my first beer with brett added has been in secondary since april.

the variables:

i went with a fairly lightish american pale malt and hops profile (this was also part of an experiment where i used the same hops/malt profile but fermented with an apa strain). it happened to be a centennial varietal, with a 1.050 og.

instead of wlp570, i went with the white labs saison yeast wlp565 as my sacch strain. i pitched the sacch on brew day, and let it sit for 20 days, then added a pretty healthy brett brux starter to the secondary, to which i then racked the wort. i used a plastic bucket with an airlock for the secondary.

it's been sitting there since april 20, and today was the first time i just couldn't wait any longer. i was considering bottling around this time, and so i wanted a gravity and a taste.

the taste is so close to what i think i had in mind that i can't wait to have this as a summer beer. positives: great orange/lemon zest citrus note. think that citrus note you get from a, say, cantillon, and erase any funk or oooh-that's-going-to-be-sour, and you have the citrus note in this. it's just like the brett starter smelled. wonderful. the only problem is, it's going to be hard to make it last, come may or june or whenever i decide it's ok to start drinking it. i do plan to see how it ages, though.

i think the hops will come out more once it's carbonated, and we'll see what happens. right now, though, it's all esters. it's lightly spicy, and i was hoping for the spiciness to be on the light side, so that's good. but the low gravity and the phenols combine for this insane drying sensation. i mean, it's really dry. what's the driest champagne you've ever had? i can beat that.

so far so good. now the variables are when to bottle, what to add as primer, and how long to let it sit. what does one normally do for carbonation when using brett as a secondary? do i go with the normal amount of priming sugar? will that overcarbonate? how long will it take, and what changes might i expect over that time? or, perhaps more fairly, how much change might i expect and how long might that take?

right now, the default values are: normal priming sugar (though maybe slightly less due to the over-attenuation concerns), bottle in a week or two, and wait until may to try it. well, probably april 20, since that would be a year since i put it in secondary.

01/27/09 10:11 AM  
Re: first time brett brewing
"normal priming sugar (though maybe slightly less due to the over-attenuation concerns), bottle in a week or two, and wait until may to try it"

Do you mean put priming sugar in now and then wait two weeks? That will just dry your beer out even more, right? You want to add priming sugar the day of bottling.

While I didn't do this with my brett beer, the common opinion here seems to be that you measure the gravity regularly then bottle once your gravity stops moving. I believe you can either add sacc for a faster carbonation, or let the brett do its thing, then carbonation will take a few months.

01/27/09 12:47 PM  
Re: first time brett brewing
What is the FG at now? That will help determine if it's ok to bottle and how much priming sugar to use. You say it's dry, how dry? Less than 1.005? Less than 1.000?
01/28/09 06:53 PM  
Re: first time brett brewing
<<Do you mean put priming sugar in now and then wait two weeks? That will just dry your beer out even more, right? You want to add priming sugar the day of bottling.>>

sorry, i was unclear. i meant bottle in two weeks using normal priming sugar at bottling time. i don't plan on adding any other fermentables before bottling.

as for adding sacch: i've already got a sacch strain in there--i used it for the primary. presumably it's still healthy enough for bottling?

tankdeer: i don't have my notes in front of me right now and i don't remember precisely, but i want to say it was around 1.005-1.010. it dropped about 10 points in the past nine months. this is supposedly the strain orval uses to bottle with and then lets the bottles sit a year. does anyone know if they prime, and with how much?

everyone: another question i have is about oxidation. is it as big a concern when using brett? i don't know if i've seen anything mentioned about this, but i've never let a beer sit this long, and certainly not in a bucket. nine months in, it seems like there's no oxidation at all, but how much danger is there? this is just for curiosity's sake. i don't know how much control other folks take to minimize oxegenation, and i'm wondering if all this time fermenting presents a danger when i don't take a whole lot of precautions for that.

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