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%


Loomi Lime Leaf Sour Farmhouse Ale

Loomi & Lime LeavesThe loomi, also known as the black lime, is a sun-dried lime that is commonly used as a spice in Middle Eastern cooking.  Gregory had used them before in a beer and liked the results, so we decided to use them and lime leaves (we wanted makrut lime leaves, but had to settle with those found at Thriftway) for the second of our three Yeast Bay fermented ales.

For this beer we constructed a pretty basic saison recipe with minimal IBUs, and utilized The Yeast Bay’s Farmhouse Sour Ale blend which “contains two farmhouse/saison Saccharomyces cerevisiae isolates, Lactobacillus brevis, and Lactobacillus delbreuckii.”  In keeping with the citrus theme, we also decided to use a Yakima Valley Hops hop called Experimental Lemon Zest, and will add 0.50 oz. of fresh lemon zest with the dry hops five days out from kegging.

Loomi Lime Leaf Sour Farmhouse Ale

Recipe Specifics

Batch Size (Gal): 5.5
Total Grain (Lbs): 9.50
Anticipated OG: 1.048
Anticipated SRM: 3.0
Anticipated IBU: 15.0
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75%
Wort Boil Time: 90 Minutes


63% – 6.00 Lbs. American 2-Row Pale Ale
21% – 2.00 Lbs. American Pilsner Malt
10% – 1.00 Lb. U.S. White Wheat
05% – 0.50 Lbs. Honey Malt


0.30 oz. Experimental Lemon Zest (Pellet, 14.0% AA) @ 90 min (first wort).
0.70 oz. Experimental Lemon Zest (Pellet, 14.0% AA) @ 0 min.
1.00 oz. Amarillo (Pellet, 9.3% AA) @ 5 days (dry hop)
1.00 oz. Citra (Pellet, 13.7 AA) @ 5 days (dry hop)
1.00 oz. Experimental Lemon Zest (Pellet, 14.0% AA) @ 5 days (dry hop)


1.00 Whirlfloc @ 15 min.
1.00 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 15 min.
3.00 oz. Black Lime @ 0 min.
1.00 oz. Lime Leaves @ 0 min.
0.50 oz. Lemon Zest @ 5 days (secondary)


The Yeast Bay – Farmhouse Sour Ale

Water Profile

1.00 tsp Calcium Chloride
1.00 tsp Gypsum

Mash Schedule

Single Infusion – 60 min @ 154F


No starter on account of fresh yeast and the desire to keep the bugs in the blend at the manufacturer’s intended ratio.

Brewed on 03.25.15 with Gregory

03.25.15 — Chilled wort to 70F and pitched the Farmhouse Sour Ale blend

03.29.15 — Signs of moderate fermentation activity and put the carboy onto the brewbelt

04.05.15 — Took beer off of the brewbelt

05.29.15 — Tasted the beer to see if any acid had been produced per Yeast Bay’s description and decided to let the beer stay in primary for an extended period of time

09.20.15 — Kegged and began force carbonating the beer

Tasting Notes — 11.23.15 (Poured off tap)

Pours a clear pale golden color with a moderate head stand which laces thin.  Lots of lemon-lime citrus on the nose with a  hint of earth and sweet fresh lemon reminiscent of potpourri.  The citrus also dominates the palate, which is crisp and dry, with notes of tree bark and a suggestion of smoke surfacing in the middle from the loomi.  Never becoming very sour, this beer finishes with some lactic tartness, a round bitterness, and a lingering note of citrus.

Calculated OG: 1.046
Calculated FG: 1.007
Approx. ABV: 5.1%

Transfer Day

Three Beers 01

Three Beers 03Yesterday Gregory and I transferred three different beers that have been working for some time now — (from left to right) 100% Brettanomyces fermented IPA, Cabernet Franc grape rye saison, & Cabernet Franc grape sour pale ale.  I also transferred the Chanterelle Belgian Strong into secondary and added the mushrooms today.  I’ll get individual posts and recipes for the three brews we transferred yesterday up very soon!