Thursday, December 29, 2011

Belgian Single 100% Brettanomyces Fermented on Wine Soaked Oak

I bought a vial of Brettanomyces Lambicus from White Labs because my Dark Saison needs the brett to calm down the sweetness of the figs and to hit the terminal gravity I wanted. This gave me the opportunity to make a style of beer which I am a fan of: the west coast sour. Sours such as Temptation and Sanctification from Russian River have captured my imagination of what beer can be. Using those beers as an inspiration I am working to reproduce this idea at home with Hungarian oak cubes soaked in vodka and then in Cabernet Sauvignon. My design of this beer is a simple pilsner and aromatic base lightly hopped and fermented out with Brett yeast. My hope for the flavor profile is a light beer with a light fruity wine flavor and some funk. At the end of the fermentation I hope to have a nice yeast cake of Brettanomyces Lambicus and some oak cubes impregnated by it. My Belgian Single is good on it's own; the recipe is solid when fermented with Ardennes yeast. I imagine that it will be totally different and the answer might be some Ardennes yeast and some Brett.

Brett L's character according to Wyeast, "It produces a pie cherry-like flavor and sourness along with distinct “Brett” character. A pellicle may form in bottles or casks. To produce the classic Belgian character, this strain works best in conjunction with other yeast and lactic bacteria. It generally requires 3-6 months of aging to fully develop flavor characteristics."

(read more after the break.) 

My Brett Beers
Boil Size: 1.5 gal
OG: 1.032 SG
Estimated Color: 3.0 SRM
Estimated IBU: 17.0 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 72.00 %
Boil Time: 90 Minutes

1 lbs 3.3 oz Pilsner (2 Row) Bel (2.0 SRM) 98.7 %
0.2 oz Aromatic Malt (26.0 SRM) 1.3 %
0.10 oz Saaz [4.00 %] - Boil 60.0 min 9.2 IBUs
0.20 oz Saaz [4.00 %] - Boil 12.0 min 7.7 IBUs
0.5 pkg Brettanomyces Lambicus
0.10 oz Hungarian Oak Cubes w/ Cabernet Sauvegion

Saccharification Add 6.22 qt of water at 159.1 F 152.0 F 60 min
Mash Out Heat to 168.0 F over 7 min 168.0 F 10 min

Brew Thoughts:
I altered my process in a few ways for this brew. I wrapped the kettle in a towel to hold in heat; very effective. I used hop bags; very effective. Nothing else different for this batch except the brettanomyces and the oak in primary fermentation. The brew was absolutely simple, I didn't stress too much about times or preciseness because of the brettanomyces and long aging time. I measured my ingredients and used the rough times +/- a minute or two. I have set both of my brett beers up in my bathroom near my tub to ferment. I want to keep my sour beers and my clean beers in different locations as to not risk any inadvertent cross contamination. Because of the way airlocks work and my general sanitation practices I feel quite safe in that this may have been okay. However because of the paranoia shown by wine makers about the pervasiveness of brettanomyces infections I'd rather not take any chances. The Brett fermentation took a while to kick off. It may perhaps be the low volume of brett cells in the vial that it had a longer lag and reproduction phase. The airlock is bubbling away after about a week in primary. The klaussen looks thick and foamy as it lingers. This brew may or may not form a pellicle given the time. Selfishly I am hoping it forms a nasty looking one so I can take pictures of it to add to future blog posts about sour beers. I am anticipating that like other sour beers this one takes some time to mature into a finished product. I'll monitor the air lock and check the OG when it has been consistantly still for a while.

Brewed on: 12/22/11

Cold Crashed on: 1/10/12 At the advice of the Mad Fermentationist I am cold crashing this and bottling it. If I have the empty champaign bottles I'll use them when I bottle and up the carbonation a touch.

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