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


100% — 8.80 Lbs. Pilsner Malt (US)


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)


2.00 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 10 min.


White Labs WLP650 — Brettanomyces Bruxellesnsis

Water Profile

6.00g Calcium Chloride
12.00g Gypsum

Mash Schedule

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


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%


Toasted Coconut, Vanilla, and Cacao Nib Baltic Porter

coconut-balticGregory and I decided to brew another batch of our Baltic porter (Baltic Tiger) so we’d have a dark brew to drink through the winter.  We were originally just going to brew another regular version, but decided to tailor this batch to our friend and business partner, Chris Richardson’s, tastes by adding coconut, vanilla, and cacao nibs.

For the specialty ingredients additions, Gregory soaked 6 oz. of cacao nibs and 3 vanilla beans in Bullet rye whiskey for a week before toasting 1 pound of coconut flakes in the oven at 350F for 15 minutes.  He added both of these to the beer in a tertiary fermenter, and a week later we bottled it with brown sugar as our priming agent.

We again used California lager yeast, and cold steeped the roasted grains.  It was nearly a two month process from brewday to bottling, but we did no extensive cold maturation this time around.  We also tweaked the grain bill a bit for this version.

Recipe and tasting notes below:

Toasted Coconut, Vanilla, and Cacao Nib Baltic Porter

Recipe Specifics

Batch Size (Gal): 5.5
Total Grain (Lbs): 21.01
Anticipated OG: 1.088
Anticipated SRM: 56.0
Anticipated IBU: 27
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75%
Wort Boil Time: 90 Minutes


42.84% — 9.00 Lbs. Munich 6°L
28.56% — 6.00 Lbs. U.S. 2-Row
07.14% — 1.50 Lbs. Melanoidin Malt
04.76% — 1.00 Lbs. Chocolate Malt
04.76% — 1.00 Lbs. Flaked Rye
02.38% — 0.50 Lbs. Crystal 120L
02.38% — 0.50 Lbs. Special B
01.81% — 0.38 Lbs. Roasted Barley
01.81% — 0.38 Lbs. Black Malt
01.19% — 0.25 Lbs. Chocolate Rye
01.19% — 0.25 Lbs. Chocolate Malt
01.19% — 0.25 Lbs. Chocolate Wheat


1.00 oz. Perle (Pellet, 5.5% AA) @ 90 min.
0.45 oz. Fuggle (Pellet, 3.6% AA) @ 90 min.
1.00 oz. Fuggle (Pellet, 3.6% AA) @ 30 min.
0.50 oz. Fuggle (Pellet, 3.6% AA) @ 10 min.
0.50 oz. East Kent Golding (Pellet, 5.0% AA) @ 1 min.
0.50 oz. East Kent Golding (Pellet, 5.0% AA) @ 0 min.


1.00 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 10 min.
6.00 oz. Cacao Nibs
3.00 Vanilla beans
1.00 Lbs. Toasted Coconut Flakes


Wyeast 2112 — California Lager

Water Profile

1.00 g Calcium Chloride

Mash Schedule

Single Infusion – 90 min @ 155F


11.28.16 — Made a 1L starter of California Lager yeast

11.29.16 — Cold steeped 1.26 Lbs. of roasted grains in 2.5 quarts of room temperature water for 24 hours.

Brewed on 11.30.16 with Gregory

11.30.16 — Added cold steep addition @ 10 min. to flameout

11.30.16 — Chilled wort to 65F and pitched the starter

12.02.16 — Signs of moderate fermentation activity

12.07.16 — Transferred to secondary

01.10.17 — Soaked 6 oz. of cacao nibs and 3 vanilla beans in Bullet rye whiskey

01.17.17 — Toasted 1 Lbs. coconut flakes @350F for 15 minutes

01.17.17 — Added the coconut, cacao nibs, and vanilla beans to beer in tertiary fermenter

01.24.17 — Bottled 5.5 gallons @ 2.2 volumes CO2 using brown sugar as priming agent

Tasting Notes — 02. 26.17 (bottle pour)

Black in color and opaque with a billowy tan head which laces thin and lingers.  Toasted coconut dominates the nose with a hint of caramel, vanilla, and roasted malts supporting.  Coconut is front and center on the palate, giving way to bittersweet chocolate and a hint of black licorice.  Boozy alcohol notes and flavors of dark roast coffee meet mid palate and dry out the finish.  Bittersweet chocolate and espresso notes linger for some time.

Calculated OG: 1.086
Calculated FG: 1.021
Approx. ABV: 8.5%

Spring Saisons

Flower Saison 02This post will detail two recent saisons that we brewed for and/or during spring here in the PNW.  The first is a version of our pink peppercorn saison that we added wisteria and lilac flowers to and heavily hopped with Chinook (we had a bunch laying around and had to use them up).  The second is a fir tip table saison we brewed using fir tips Gregory foraged in Leavenworth, WA.

I’ve wanted to use lilac in a beer for a while now and figured it would marry well with the floral peppercorns and Chinook’s earthy-spicy notes.  While Nate, a longtime friend of mine, was visiting I brought this up to him and he recalled that he had success using wisteria in a saison.  In West Seattle both lilac and wisteria grow abundantly and were available early as we’ve had a very warm season, so I decided to use them both.

FlowersGregory and I wanted to experiment with ester and phenol production as they relate to fermentation temperature with our go-to saison yeast — we usually use the brewbelt with Wyeast’s French Saison strain, which sometimes produces more bubblegum/banana notes than we desire — so we opted to let the yeast “free-rise.”  We used the same grain bill as our previously brewed pink peppercorn petite saison, but got better mash efficiency and attenuation so we ended up with a higher ABV and a drier beer.  The absence of the brewbelt almost eliminated the esters/phenols associated with saisons, resulting in a beer that is more akin to a pale ale than a saison.

For the fir tip table saison, we wanted something very light, dry, and easy-drinking.  We simplified both the grain bill and the hop additions, using classic European hop varietals.  Knowing we usually get better efficiency/attenuation than what Brewtoad calculates for session beers, we crafted a recipe that they determined would only be about 2.9% ABV to arrive at our desired 3.5% ABV.  We used White Labs’ Belgian Style Saison Blend and used the brewbelt for a shorter amount of time than we normally do (3 days as opposed to a week) to continue experimenting with ester/phenol production.  We added the fir tips from Leavenworth twice in the boil.

Read on for recipes, processes, tasting notes, and additional photos:

Kitchen Sink Saison With Pink Peppercorn, Lilac, & Wisteria

Recipe Specifics

Batch Size (Gal): 5.5
Total Grain (Lbs): 8.00
Anticipated OG: 1.039
Anticipated SRM: 2.0
Anticipated IBU: 33
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75%
Wort Boil Time: 90 Minutes


50.00% — 4.00 Lbs. Pilsner (BE)
25.00% — 2.00 Lbs. Vienna
12.50% — 1.00 Lbs. Flaked Oats
12.50% — 1.00 Lbs. Wheat


0.30 oz. Magnum (Pellet, 13.0% AA) @ 60 min.
0.50 oz. Chinook (Pellet, 12.0% AA) @ 10 min.
0.50 oz. Horizon (Pellet, 12.0% AA) @ 10 min.
2.00 oz. Chinook (Pellet, 12.0% AA) @ 01 min.
0.80 oz. Saaz (Pellet, 3.2% AA) @ 0 min.
2.00 oz. Chinook (Pellet, 12.0% AA) @ 4 days (dry hop)
2.00 oz. Chinook (Pellet, 12.0% AA) @ 7 days (dry hop)


1.00 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 10 min.
1.00 Whirlfloc @ 15 min.
7.0g Pink Peppercorns (ground) @ 5 min.
1.60 oz. Fresh Lilac Flowers @ 5 days (in keg)
3.15 oz. Fresh Wisteria Flowers @ 5 days (in keg)


Wyeast 3711 — French Saison

Water Profile

1.00 g Calcium Chloride
1.50g Gypsum

Mash Schedule

Single infusion – 60 min @ 155F
Mash out — 10 min @ 172F


03.31.16 — Made a starter of French Saison

Brewed on 04.12.16 with Gregory

04.12.16 — Chilled wort to 77F & pitched the yeast

04.14.16 — Vigorous fermentation activity

04.16.16 — Added half of the dry hops to primary as fermentation slows

04.20.16 — Transferred to secondary and added remaining dry hop additions

04.27.16 — Split the batch and bottled two gallons with 2 oz. corn sugar for 2.6 volumes CO2, and kegged the remaining three gallons, adding the flowers in the keg for 5 days before removing them.

Flower Saison 01Tasting Notes — 06.08.16 (poured off tap)

Yellow-straw color and clear with a large fluffy white head stand that dissipates slowly and laces thick.  Big floral notes and a hint of peppercorn on the nose.  Hardly any saison esters/phenols detected.  Body is very dry and crisp with the herbal, grassy and spicy notes of Chinook dominating the palate.  Finishes with vivid and lingering earthy bitterness, and some peppercorn spice.


Calculated OG: 1.045
Calculated FG: 1.002
Approx. ABV: 5.6%

Fir Tip Table Saison

Recipe Specifics

Batch Size (Gal): 5.5
Total Grain (Lbs): 6.00
Anticipated OG: 1.030
Anticipated SRM: 1.0
Anticipated IBU: 22
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75%
Wort Boil Time: 90 Minutes


66.67% — 4.00 Lbs. Pilsner (BE)
16.67% — 1.00 Lbs. Flaked Oats
16.67% — 1.00 Lbs. Wheat


0.75 oz. East Kent Goldings (Pellet, 5.7% AA) @ 60 min.
1.00 oz. East Kent Goldings (Pellet, 5.7% AA) @ 5 min.
1.00 oz. East Kent Goldings (Pellet, 5.7% AA) @ 1 min.


1.00 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 10 min.
1.00 Whirlfloc @ 15 min.
1.80 oz. Fir Tips @ 5 min.
1.80 oz. Fir Tips @ 1 min.


White Labs WLP568 — Belgian Style Saison Yeast Blend

Water Profile

1.00 g Calcium Chloride
1.50g Gypsum

Mash Schedule

Single infusion – 70 min @ 154F
Mash out — 10 min @ 172F


Brewed on 05.12.16 with Gregory

05.12.16 — Chilled wort to 70F, pitched the yeast & put onto brewbelt

05.14.16 — Vigorous fermentation activity

05.15.16 — Removed brewbelt

05.22.16 — After 10 day primary, kegged the batch and began force carbonating

Fir Tip Table SaisonTasting Notes — 06.08.16 (poured off tap)

Pale-straw color with large fluffy white head stand that dissipates quickly and laces medium.  Light grainy pils malt and a hint of bubblegum on the nose.  Citrus and pine form the fir is mellow but center stage on the palate.  Light and creamy mouthfeel with a round and smooth bitter flourish on the dry finish.

Calculated OG: 1.030
Calculated FG: 1.004
Approx. ABV: 3.4%