Sunday, April 22, 2012

Poineer Series: Citra

Listening to Chad the brewer/owner at Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project on The Brewing Network last weekend got my mind spinning.  The research he is doing on all brett fermentation's are top notch to say the least.  I also had the privileged of attending his presentation at the 2011 National Homebrewers Conference.  His Brewery is a 100% Brettanomyces brewery.  Meaning that all of his wort is 1st inoculated with brettanomyces, no primary yeast is used, the opposite of traditional brewing and or souring.

The goal of Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project is to continue his masters project hosted "Open Source" at the researching all things Brett.  As noted on the podcast he goes into great detail about trying to pinpoint a Brett strain that ferments like a traditional Saccharomyces Cerevisiae Yeast.  I was unaware that Brett-C (for example) has 100's even 1,000's of different yeast strains within the genome, just like traditional Ale yeast.  The commercial yeast banks like White Labs and Wyeast only sell one of each strain.  Mostly due to the traditional lack of sales associated with Brettanomyces.

WLP645 Brett-C Starter

A interesting find in Crooked Stave's research is the flavor curve produced by all Brett fermentation's.  By harvesting different yeasts in just one strain you can maximize the taste profile to peek at different times resulting in a very drinkable beer without the oxygenation problems of traditional long term storage.   Now this is easier said than done.  We can easily collect dregs of commercially available beers but most of these released beers have an assortment of bugs pitched into the beer.  Including Lactobacillus and Pediococcus.  (Which is a great thing as I love extremely tart, sour beers.)  But at this time I would be unable to tell if the samples collected only contain Brett or any of these bacterias in my homebrewery. 

Which takes me to the point of this post.  I have a newish 3.2 gallon glass carboy that needs some love.  I am going to do a series of 100% Brettanomyces fermented beers in the spirit of the Crooked Stave.

Here are my proposed guidelines for what I'm calling the "Pioneer Series":

  • All batches will be 3 gallons, 100% Brettanomyces beers.
  • Single hop batches only.  
  • Focusing on Tropical Fruit and Citrus flavored hops.
  • Different Strains of Brett can be used.  I'm trying to maximize the hops flavors with the Brett characteristics.  (Keep in mind, I am NOT making IPA style beers.)
  • Most hop additions would be whirlpool hops only.  No bittering hops.
  • Will address adding fruit to the batches once flavors develop.  
  • 6 week fermentations, 2 weeks cold crashing under a small pressure of Co2.
  • Bottled and/or kegged.
Its pretty simple.  I'm sure more thoughts will develop over the next couple months.  Until then, I have posted the 1st recipe below. 

Brettanomyces.  Respectfully used from The Bruery

Pioneer Series:Citra (Brett)
Specialty Beer


Type: All Grain
Date: 4/21/2012
Batch Size: 3.00 gal
Brewer: Chris Lewis
Boil Size: 3.43 gal Asst Brewer:
Boil Time: 60 min Equipment: My Equipment
Taste Rating(out of 50): 35.0 Brewhouse Efficiency: 80.00
Taste Notes:

Amount Item Type % or IBU
4 lbs Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM) Grain 66.67 %
1 lbs Rye Malt (4.7 SRM) Grain 16.67 %
8.0 oz Caramel/Crystal Malt - 20L (20.0 SRM) Grain 8.33 %
8.0 oz Caramel/Crystal Malt - 60L (60.0 SRM) Grain 8.33 %
.5  oz Citra [12.00 %] (0 min) (Aroma Hop-Steep) Hops -
2.00 oz Malto-Dextrine (Boil 5.0 min) Misc
1 Pkgs Brettanomyces Claussenii (White Labs #WLP645) [Primary Starter for 9 days] Yeast-Ale

Beer Profile
Est Original Gravity: 1.056 SG
Measured Original Gravity: 1.038 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.014 SG Measured Final Gravity: TBA SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 5.37 % Actual Alcohol by Vol: TBA %
Bitterness: 0.0 IBU Calories: TBA cal/pint
Est Color: 10.7 SRM Color:

Mash Profile
Mash Name: Temperature Mash, 1 Step, Full Body Total Grain Weight: 6.00 lb
Sparge Water: 2.28 gal Grain Temperature: 72.0 F
Sparge Temperature: 168.0 F TunTemperature: 72.0 F
Adjust Temp for Equipment: FALSE Mash PH: 5.4 PH

Temperature Mash, 1 Step, Full Body
Step Time Name Description Step Temp
60 min Saccharification Add 7.50 qt of water and heat to 154.0 F over 15 min 154.0 F
10 min Mash Out Heat to 168.0 F over 10 min 168.0 F

Mash Notes: Temperature mash for use when mashing in a brew pot over a heat source such as the stove. Use heat to maintain desired temperature during the mash.
Carbonation and Storage
Carbonation Type: Kegged (Forced CO2) Volumes of CO2: 2.4
Pressure/Weight: 21.6 PSI Carbonation Used: -
Keg/Bottling Temperature: 60.0 F Age for: 42.0 days
Storage Temperature: 68.0 F

Inspired by Chad at Crooked Stave for an all Brett Fermented Beer.
Created with BeerSmith

Brewing Notes:

After thinking about the beer and what I wanted it to be, I decided to lower the gravity.  To do this I added a 1 gallon jug that I will play with.  Maybe the same beer with a different finishing yeast.  It is still up in the air.

Everything else went great.

My little 2.9 Gallon Carboy filling with wort

Yesterday I tried the 1st sip of the wort at 1.020.  Here are my initial thoughts. 

Bottling Sept 30, 2012:

This beer was stuck at 1.020 for a really long, long time.  Finally giving up, I decided to bottle the beer and proceed with aging it that way.  Here are the bottling notes. 



  1. What sort of expectations do you have for the final product? Will it be sour? Ale-like? I think you're being really smart by incorporating some non-fermentables to enhance mouthfeel and counteract Brett's sweet tooth. Having a sour tap blows my mind...

    1. Honestly, I am shooting for a fruit feeling to it. By keeping the lacto/pedio out of the beer it should limit most of the souring flavor compounds. This will let the brett bring the tropical fruit, pineapple and other sweet aromas up to the nose. The addition of citra should only push these flavors further out than they normally would. I am unsure of the final packaging. I might keg 2.5 gallons and bottle the rest. At bottling I might add a little lacto/pedio mix for priming. This would allow a souring effect over time in the bottles.

  2. You're timing is really funny.

    Last weekend I brewed a 100% Brett Drie and 100% Nelson hopped beer. I am also going to start trying to brew a monthly Brett beer.

    The Brett Drie I have is actually two strains and are the strains that Chad uses as his primary strains. It produces some huge fruit flavors when young and gets funky over time. It is really a great strain that I have liked in both dark and light worts. And I'm excited to try it with some hops. Let me know if you are interested in a vial. Also White Labs is releasing it this summer.

    And Chad is a super nice guy that has been helpful in the past.

    1. That is great timing. The whole concept of the 100% Brett beers has really got me going I'm excited to hear about your take on it. For the yeast, that would be awesome to come up on a little pitch. Just let me know when you have some and we can work out the details.

    2. When this beer is ready, we'll get together so you can taste this batch plus I'll bring a vial of the yeast.


Thanks for Commenting, Prost!