Saison Bretta Prunus — Experimental Fruit Saison

Saison Bretta PrunusI was reading Michael Tonsmeire’s American Sour Beers and I got to thinking we should experiment a little — ie: “what if we reversed the usual brett. beer protocol and pitched the brett. first and the regular yeast afterwards?”  I knew that big pitches of brett. may act as a normal yeast and complete primary fermentation rather quickly (2-3 weeks), and that brett. will eat left over nutrients from dead yeast cells, creating interesting and complex esters.  So we disregarded the fact that the saison yeast would probably have few (if any) sugars left to work with and would probably die, and went ahead with the experiment to see what would happen.

We pitched the saison yeast a week after the brett. and decided to use local foraged plums that Eric picked for us, adding them about a month after a long primary for an additional two month secondary before kegging.   Recipe, process and tasting notes below:

Saison Bretta Prunus

Recipe Specifics

Batch Size (Gal): 5.5
Total Grain (Lbs): 13.50
Anticipated OG: 1.066
Anticipated SRM: 8.0
Anticipated IBU: 36
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75%
Wort Boil Time: 90 Minutes


66.67% — 9.00 Lbs. Pilsner
14.81% — 2.00 Lbs. Munich Dark 20L
07.41% — 1.00 Lbs. White Wheat
07.41% — 1.00 Lbs. Acidulated Malt
03.70% — 0.50 Lbs. Honey Malt


1.00 oz. East Kent Golding (Pellet, 5.0% AA) @ 60 min.
1.00 oz. Sterling (Pellet, 7.5% AA) @ 30 min.
1.00 oz. Sterling (Pellet, 7.5% AA) @ 5 min.


1.00 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 10 min.
1.00 Whirlfloc @ 15 min.
5 Lbs. 5 oz. wild plums (60 days)


Wyeast 3711 — French Saison
Wyeast 5112 — Brettanomyces Bruxellensis
White Labs WLP653 — Brettanomyces Lambicus

Water Profile

1.00 g Calcium Chloride
1.50 g Gypsum

Mash Schedule

Single Infusion – 90 min @ 155F


08.11.15 — Made a large starter of Brett. B and a normal starter of Brett. L

Brewed on 08.17.15 with Gregory

08.17.15 — Chilled wort to 75F and pitched the brett. starters

08.18.15 — Put onto brewbelt

08.19.15 — Signs of vigorous brett. fermentation activity

08.24.15 — Pitched the French Saison yeast

08.26.15 — Removed the brewbelt

09.14.15 — After long primary fermentation, transferred to secondary (bucket) and added the 5 Lbs. 5 oz. of plums (thawed with their juices)

09.25.15 — Gravity at 1.010

11.13.15 — Gnarly Brett. pellicle & Gravity stable at 1.008

Saison Bretta Prunus PellicleTasting Notes — 02.12.16 (poured off tap) 

A hazy beer despite the long maturation period.  Long lasting head that laces nicely with each sip.  Lush and sweet fruit on the nose akin to over-ripe apricots and nectarines, almost Starburst candy-like, with an underlying funk that reminded me of parmesan cheese when the beer was young.  The plums are front and center on the palate where their sweetness is carried along by the carbonation, and a slow decay into a round tartness occurs, bringing a less saccharine Sweet Tarts candy vibe to mind.  A quick herbal tea note announces itself if you warm the beer in your mouth.  It has a tart and tannic stone fruit-skin finish that lingers, eventually drying the palate.

Calculated OG: 1.061
Calculated FG: 1.008
Approx. ABV: 6.9%