When I started brewing back in 2001 I didn't know much about beer fermentation's. In fact, I think my 3 year old son currently has a better understanding of fermentation than I did my first year of homebrewing extract beers on my stove. I was a Mr Beer brewer, basically boiling water with canned wort and letting it ferment. Hops were out of the equation, as you all know they were inside the liquid malt extract Mr Beer provided. As I slowly started to grasp the concept of fermentations relating to yeast and its relation to good beer, my brewing excelled. While the idea of brewing with new and different ingredients was excepted, brewing outside the Saccharomyces yeast family was unheard of until recently. Most people considered Brettanomyces a souring agent, but in fact, Brettanomyces can fully ferment wort as well or better than Saccharomyces can.
Going back to my development as a homebrewer, what if Brettanomyces was an accepted yeast strain when I started brewing? Would it of changed the way I developed a recipe? Would mouthfeel be the most important part in designing a beer given the great attenuation Brett achieves coupled with the lack of glycerol producing enzymes? Would oats, rye and wheat be staples in my homebrewing closet? If the Brettanomyces yeast can create tropical, passion fruit and mango flavors how would hops play into the beer? Would we of had the hops shortage back in 2007? All these parallel connections would play into the homebrewer that I am today.
Over the next couple of weeks I'm going to be brewing a lot of primary fermented Brettanomyces beers. Using any Brettanomyces strain I can get my hands on. (Currently, I'm building up a Brett strain from BKYeast, his C2 Brett isolated from a 2007 Cantillon Iris.)
For this Brettanomyces Bruxelensis Trois batch, creating this recipe was challenging. Everything I've learned over the last 10+ years homebrewing where effectively tossed out the window. My hops ratio, my crystal percentage would all need to be adapted. I knew what I wanted, I just didn't know how to get there. Luckily, we as homebrewers have the luxury of a closely knit online community. Wither you associate yourself with The Brewing Network, HomebrewTalk, a local club or only Twitter, you have a place to ask questions with mostly positive, informative answers. I wanted to tap these resources, what would they do differently? Brewers have described Guava, Tropical, Passion Fruit and intense Mango flavors when using Brettanomyces Trois. My experience with Brettanomyces Claussenii parallel's these findings. But I am worried about the beer adapting over time like my Pioneer Series: Citra IPA did. Turning dry, almost Champagne like. Loosing the positive Brett tropical flavors and attributes. Understanding that Brettanomyces as a species, creates its flavors from its surroundings*. Most information published relates the tropical flavors produced by Brettanomyces back to the malt in beer fermentation's, given the same yeast and a different media, like wine for instance, Brettanomyces will produce earthy, musty or papery flavors. I wanted to use this to my advantage.
Taking a step back and attempting to understand, or a better word might be predict what the Brett Trois will do over time is daunting. Typically Brettanomyces will adapt, dropping out the flavors I want to showcase. So creating a hop backbone focusing on fruit/floral flavors more than the piney resinous flavors should help the beer last over time. Starting in the mash, coupling with the sweet, melon (strawberry?) flavors of Belma. (Some believe that first wort hopping creates a stronger bond, lasting longer than the 60 minute additions) Keeping the 60 minute on the low side with a very clean Magnum addition. This might one of the biggest choices related to this beer. Without a solid bittering addition, the beer might start out way to fruit forward, like a can of Mango juice, but over time to much bittering hops will make this a dry, bitter bomb. With the possibility of appearing to astringent. I also wanted to stay away from any 30, 20 or 10 minute additions, feeling that the style needed to be more flavor and aroma focused. For the whirlpooling/aroma additions wanting to maximize them with Citra and Belma hops. Citra hops being very Passion Fruit and tropical in nature. Paired again with Belma bringing out that melon flavor with the yeast driven fruit flavors. Being a little worried about the all out Hawaiian punch assault, I wanted to add a little Cascade into the mix. Feeling that this would level/ground out the flavors. Feeling that this makes the beer more session-able early on. (I know this is not a Session beer, referring to drinkability, not soberability) For the dry hops, I wanted to focus on Citra and Belma hops again. But also adding in Amarillo. Feeling the Citra/Amarillo combination pairs beautifully together. I am also considering doubling this addition once I taste the fermented beer. Wanting the beer to come together around 2 to 3 months after brewing. Hitting the Brettanomyces on its way down the flavor wheel with traditional hops picking up the slack, is/will be a challenge.
Being a big fan of rye in my beers, I was temped to use rye in this batch. But something stopped me from doing so. I really don't know what it is, maybe in this parallel world rye isn't needed to achieve the Nelson like spice I crave? Knowing rye also contributes a substantial amount of body into the beer, I needed to substitute this with another body creating adjunct. Deciding to proceed with White Wheat Malt and Flaked Oats. With the White Wheat in the mash and the Flaked Oats inside a grant before boiling. This should preserve some of the starches needed to make it through the fermentation and into my glass. For the rest of the grain bill, I wanted to use 2-Row as the base malt with a small 12% addition of Munich malt. This will darken the beer a small amount and also create some complexity in the final product. Also with the high amounts of White Wheat and Oats, clarity will become an issue. Darker color (Munich) will help hide any potential hazing.
Talking to Danny over a pint of his Brett Trois IPA split batch WLP644/WLP028, it's interesting to think back on our brewing. We started brewing around the same time, started entering competitions around the same time and made it to the second round of NHC the same year. Maybe brewing in a parallel world wouldn't be so bad?
*The Brettanomyces Project
|Parallel World: Brett Trois|
|Type: All Grain||Date: 5/18/2013|
|Batch Size (fermenter): 6.00 gal||Brewer: Chris Lewis|
|Boil Size: 6.86 gal||Asst Brewer: Aydan Lewis/Sisco|
|Boil Time: 60 min||Equipment: Lewys Tower|
|End of Boil Volume 6.24 gal||Brewhouse Efficiency: 72.00 %|
|Final Bottling Volume: 6.00 gal||Est Mash Efficiency 72.0 %|
|Fermentation: Ale, Two Stage||Taste Rating(out of 50): TBA|
|Taste Notes: Please see my "Tasting Notes" for this recipe.|
|Est Original Gravity: 1.071 SG||Measured Original Gravity: 1.065 SG|
|Est Final Gravity: 1.010 SG||Measured Final Gravity: 1.006 SG|
|Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 8.1 %||Actual Alcohol by Vol: 7.8% %|
|Bitterness: 35.9 IBUs||Calories: 215 kcal/12oz|
|Est Color: 7.8 SRM|
|Mash Name: Single Infusion, Light Body, No Mash Out||Total Grain Weight: 16 lbs|
|Sparge Water: 3.78 gal||Grain Temperature: 72.0 F|
|Sparge Temperature: 168.0 F||Tun Temperature: 72.0 F|
|Adjust Temp for Equipment: TRUE||Mash PH: 5.20|
|Sparge Step: Fly sparge with 3.78 gal water at 168.0 F|
Carbonation and Storage
|Carbonation Type: Keg||Volumes of CO2: 2.3|
|Pressure/Weight: 10.59 PSI||Carbonation Used: Keg with 10.59 PSI|
|Keg/Bottling Temperature: 41.0 F||Age for: 30.00 days|
|Fermentation: Ale, Two Stage||Storage Temperature: 65.0 F|
|The Trois Starter was built up 2 times over 3 weeks. From a 1
litter to a 2 litter.|
Primary Fermentation: Pitching at 65 degrees, holding for 4 days. Free rise to ambient temp (75)
Secondary: Not Needed. Gravity check at 2 weeks and it was at 1.006. Cold Crashed and added gelatin for 3 days before priming