Wild Fruit Yeast — Experimental Brettanomyces Bruxellensis Beer

While not working on the buildout for Best of Hands Barrelhouse, or beertending at The Beer Junction, I cultivate my brewing chops by developing test batches of definitive recipes Gregory and I have written, as well as continuing to experiment with more esoteric fermentations.  The beer documented here, is a prime example of my desire to push beyond the norm, and explore other methods of producing unique and uncommon flavor profiles in beer.

To keep our personal kegerators stocked, and when we don’t feel like making the same thing, Gregory and I will often prepare 20+ gallons of a particular wort and then split it, each undertaking different fermentations to create the beers we wish to imbibe at home.  This particular beer’s wort began as the basis for a Bohemian style pilsner lager (Gregory’s version), that I then took out there quite far to create an exceptional experimental Brettanomyces Bruxellensis beer.

I made a large two-step Brett. Brux. starter for about a week and a half before the brewday.  Before we chilled the wort to lagering temperature for Gregory’s version, I brought the post-boil wort down to about 70F and added roughly a gallon of it to 6oz of store bought organic raspberries (mashed) and 16oz of organic kumquats (cut in half).  I let this concoction cool for a few hours in our brewery’s storage space, and then brought it to my basement to sit overnight.  Meanwhile, I transferred my portion of the pilsner wort to a sanitized corny keg.

The following day, I transferred both the pilsner wort and the gallon of fruited, open fermented wort to a sanitized carboy (including some of the mashed raspberries and 3-4oz of the kumquats).  After five days of letting any bacteria/yeast I caught propagate in the wort, I pitched a 1400ml Brett. Brux. starter into the beer.  After five weeks and four days, I added my first dry hop addition; five days after that I added the rest of my dry hops, and kegged the beer four days later.

Read on for the recipe and tasting notes!

Recipe Specifics

Batch Size (Gal): 4.5
Total Grain (Lbs): 8.80
Anticipated OG: 1.054
Anticipated SRM: 2.0
Anticipated IBU: 28
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75%
Wort Boil Time: 90 Minutes

Grain

100% — 8.80 Lbs. Pilsner Malt (US)

Hops

0.30 oz. Saaz (Pellet, 3.0% AA) @ 90 min. (First Wort)
0.30 oz. Columbus (Pellet, 14.5% AA) @ 60 min.
1.10 oz. Saaz (Pellet, 3.0% AA) @ 20 min.
1.10 oz. Saaz (Pellet, 3.0% AA) @ 20 min. (whirlpool)
1.05 oz. Amarillo (Pellet, 8.2% AA) @ 10 days (dry hop)
0.30 oz. East Kent Golding (Pellet, 5.7% AA) @ 10 days (Dry hop)
1.05 oz. Eureka (Pellet, 18.0% AA) @ 10 days (Dry hop)
1.00 oz. Amarillo (Pellet, 8.2% AA) @ 5 days (Dry Hop)
1.00 oz. Eureka (Pellet, 18.0% AA) @ 5 days (Dry Hop)

Extras

2.00 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 10 min.

Yeast

White Labs WLP650 — Brettanomyces Bruxellesnsis

Water Profile

Seattle
6.00g Calcium Chloride
12.00g Gypsum

Mash Schedule

Single infusion – 60 min @ 153F
Mash out — 10 min @ 170F

Notes

Brewed on 04.09.18 with Gregory & Jensen

04.09.18 — Mashed up 6oz store bought organic raspberries and cut 16oz store bought kumquats in half. Chilled wort to 70F and covered the fruit mash with a portion of the wort in attempt to provide fruit yeast temp and sugar to propagate. Let sit open in fermentation garage for a few hours and will let sit over night in basement in attempt to catch wild yeast/bacteria.

Kegged the reminder of the wort and will transfer to carboy with the fruited wort and some of the fruit tomorrow.

04.10.18 — Transferred the fruited wort to a carboy with some of the raspberry mash and about 3-4oz of the kumquats, racked the pilsner wort on top and applied airlock. Will pitch a hefty Brett. Brux. starter soon.

04.11.18 — Built up remaining approx. 200ml Brett. Brux. starter with additional 32 oz of starter wort. Definitely caught something as airlock has pressure and wort seems to have a krausen or pellicle forming.

04.15.18 — Pitched approx. 1400ml Brett. Brux. starter into the beer. Still pressure in airlock and small krausen present.

04.16.18 — Light fermentation activity ~ 10 hrs after pitching the Brett. starter — constant bubbling in airlock.

04.25.18 — Fermentation has ramped up a bit, about a half inch krausen, constant and frequent bubbling in airlock. Put a brewbelt on for 10 hours overnight but no noticeable difference in fermentation this morning. Took off and replaced towel for UV protection.

05.24.18 — Added half + EKG of the dry hops to primary as still slowly fermenting.

05.29.18 — Added final dry hop addition to primary.

06.02.18 — Kegged batch and began force carbonating at 10PSI

Tasting Notes — 06.25.18 (on draft)

Billowy head-stand that dissipates quickly.  Slight chill haze present.  Lemon, grapefruit, and unspecified floral/herbal notes upfront on the nose, with supporting aromas of wildflower honey, overripe pineapple and horse blanket from the brett.  Bright, intense citrus-orange acidity hits the palate first with spicy-earthy undertones quickly following.  Spruce tip and pine-like flavors enter mid-palate and give way to a lemon-menthol sensation akin to a much milder Ricola lozenge.  Off-dry, spicy-herbal notes on the lingering finish.

Calculated OG: 1.054
Calculated FG: 1.004
Approx. ABV: 6.66%

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Table Saison Achillea (Barrel Fermented)

yarrow-rosemaryGregory and I recently brewed two more saisons utilizing the remaining foraged yarrow we had vacuum sealed and stored in the freezer over a year ago.  This is the first of those saisons, which underwent primary fermentation in the small American oak Parliament Whiskey barrel we’ve used in the past (which is almost neutral at this point).  We decided to make this one hopless, as we’ve done in the past with our Saison Achillea, but we left out the lavender and added some fresh rosemary this time.  We also decided to brew this one to session, or table strength, which is a fancy way of saying it’s low in alcohol content.

barrel-yarrowWe used Imperial Yeast’s F08 Sour Batch Kidz strain which is a blend of Belgian saison yeasts, Lactobacillus, and two Brettanomyces strains.  We let in condition in glass for over two months and bottled it with additional Brettanomyces Bruxellensis.

Our process and tasting notes follow:

Barrel Fermented Table Yarrow Saison

Recipe Specifics

Batch Size (Gal): 5.5
Total Grain (Lbs): 7.75
Anticipated OG: 1.035
Anticipated SRM: 5.0
Anticipated IBU: 0
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75%
Wort Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Grain

38.71% — 3.00 Lbs. Red Wheat
38.71% — 3.00 Lbs. Vienna
12.90% — 1.00 Lbs. Flaked Oats
06.45% — 0.50 Lbs. CaraVienne
03.23% — 0.25 Lbs. Crystal 40L

Extras

1.00 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 10 min.
1.00 Whirlfloc @ 15 min.
2.00 oz. Yarrow @ 60 min. (first wort)
2.00 oz. Yarrow @ 60 min.
3.00 oz. Yarrow @ 5 min.
0.60 oz. Rosemary @ 5 min.
2.00 oz. Yarrow @ 0 min.

Yeast

Imperial Yeast F08 — Sour Batch Kidz
Used barrel terroir
White Labs WLP650 — Brettanomyces Bruxellensis (bottle conditioning)

Water Profile

Seattle
1.00 g Calcium Chloride
1.50g Gypsum

Mash Schedule

Single infusion – 60 min @ 156F
Mash out — 10 min @ 170F

Notes

Brewed on 11.03.16 with Gregory

11.03.16 — Chilled wort to 70F & pitched the yeast into the oak barrel

11.05.16 — Vigorous fermentation activity

11.12.16 — After 9 day primary, transferred to glass secondary

01.24.17 — Bottled 5.5 gallons @ 3.2 volumes of CO2 with corn sugar and Brett. Brux.

barrel-table-yarrowTasting Notes — 02.26.16 (bottle pour)

Orange in color with a slight haze.  Thin white head stand which persists throughout drinking.  Sweet-herbal yarrow dominates the nose with a hint of honey in the background.  Sweet-tart yarrow is front and center on the palate and hits the sides of the tongue with a puckering tartness.  Faint hint of oak on the dry, crisp, quick finish.  Thirst quenching and simple.

Calculated OG: 1.035
Calculated FG: 1.010
Approx. ABV: 3.3%

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

Grain

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

Hops

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.

Extras

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

Yeast

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

Water Profile

Seattle
1.00 g Calcium Chloride
1.50 g Gypsum

Mash Schedule

Single Infusion – 90 min @ 155F

Notes

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%