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Recipe – A low gravity Brett beer

01/10/2013

A bit of a walk on the wild side of things for a change, this post from Ryan Brews, a highly recommendable site, inspired this recipe for a brettanomyces flavored beer. The idea here is to make a low gravity “funky” beer that will be ready sooner than a higher gravity one. This is my second wild beer, the first one was a brew that was inoculated with dregs from a Cantillon sour together with a saison strain (that one is now half a year old, maturing away under a rather disgusting looking pellicle). This one doesn’t have any bugs ie. bacteria, just wild yeast added together with the main saccharomyces strain.  According to Ryan, a low gravity beer with brett will need less time to mature and should be ready to bottle in 2-3 months. I’ll start to take gravity readings at that point and when it seems that the gravity is stable I’ll bottle and let the beer age in the bottles.

There are slight differences from the recipe Ryan provides, first of all I added a bit of Munich malt mainly for colour and I chose a Belgian yeast strain, Safale T-58, that has a low attenuation (atypical for a Belgian strain) in order to leave more sugars for the brett to work on. That’s the theory at least… Brewing is not a hobby for someone who expects quick feedback but brewing a beer that has a minimum of 2-3 months before it’s ready to taste is quite a long learning cycle to say the least.

These wild beers are more of an experiment for me, I don’t have the room to start a pipeline of beers that will take ages to mature and to be honest, the most extreme versions of sours that I’ve had the opportunity to taste have not really knocked my socks off in a positive way, rather the opposite. Now, something like Orval is pleasant and enjoyable but I don’t feel, at least now, that such beers are really worth both the time and money it would take to brew solely such beers, or even more often than the current rate. At this point there is more than enough room to be adventurous with “ordinary” beer. So, if I end up sacrificing these wannabe funky beers to the great white porcelain god, I won’t be all tears, I’ll just write it of as a brave experiment. And if it ends up being enjoyable, fine, I love beer.  A win-win situation.

The recipe :

Recipe
—————-
Target Batch Size (Litres/Gallons): 15.00 / 3,96
Total Grain (Kg/Pounds): 2,7 / 5,95
Anticipated OG: 1.040
Anticipated SRM: 5,6
Anticipated IBU: 18,8
Wort Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Fermentables
—————–
86,0%     – 2,3 kg / 5,07lbs kg Weyermann – Pale ale Malt
7,0%        – 0,2 kg / 0,44lbs Weyermann – Acidulated malt
7,0%        – 0,2 kg / 0,44lbs Weyermann – Munich malt

Hops
——–
10,0g / 0,35oz. Magnum (Pellet, 11.00% AA) @ 60 min For 18,8 IBU

Extras
———-
½ Tablet of Whirlfloc @ 10 Min.
½ Teaspoon of yeast nutrient @ 10 Min.
½ Teaspoon Calcium Chloride in mash

Yeast
———
Safale T-58
Wyeast – Brettanomyces bruxellensis

Mash
———————–
20 Litre BIAB @ 67 Celsius for 60 mins (5,28Gal/152F)

30/10/13 Update : I racked the beer of the yeast cake and sampled it. It had a distinct smell of hay at this point. A few weeks after racking it seems that there is a pellicle forming on top of the beer.  Very curious to see how this one turns out…

7/3/14 Took a lot longer than planned to bottle this one but given the nature of the beer it should only get better with time. Should be carbonated and ready to taste in a week or so, tasting to follow. The sample at bottling was… interesting. I had plans to use the yeast cake (or what’s left in the secondary anyway) but didn’t get around to brewing one at the time of bottling. I’m planning to try something similar but also with bacteria for a sour beer. Looking into sourcing some bottle dregs for this purpose. Another interesting idea would also be to brew something similar but dry-hop it before bottling.

Final gravity at 1.006 abv ~ 4,5% Bottled with a few grams of rehydrated so-05, aiming for 2,4 vol of carbonation.

Tasting here. Turned out to be an interesting beer.

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