Wednesday, July 10, 2013

100% Brett IPA (Cantillon IPA)

This is my third attempt at a 100% Brett IPA. So far I’ve brewed with Brett-C and Brett-Brux Trois. Each batch has been different and successful. There are a lot of myths and confusion when it comes to Brettanomyces. Many people associate Brett with sour but the truth is that Brett will not sour a beer on its own. It can produce trace amounts of acetic acid in the presence of oxygen but not enough to produce the levels of acidity that are commonly associated with Brett. I think most people are not aware that Brett can fully attenuate a beer and can ferment it clean as well. There are a few examples of 100% Brett fermented beers on the market, BRUX from Russian River and Sierra Nevada and Mo Bretta Brett from Lost Abbey and New Belgium. The majority of 100% Brett fermented beers come from Crooked Stave. For the most part though, they are hard to find. 

For my third installment I’m using yeast that I got from BKyeast called C2. It was Brett that he isolated from a Cantillon Iris bottle. It is best described on his website but many people note fruity aroma from this particular strain. I would have to agree with that assessment based off of the aromas emanating from the starter. The biggest aroma that I noted was peach. 

I decided to rebrew my last Brett IPA that way I would have some way to compare the characteristics of the new yeast strain. Part of my procedure did change from the last batch. This time I decided to ferment the beer outside of my chest freezer in hopes of stressing the yeast to cause it to produce more esters. I also took more notes during the fermentation to note any interesting developments.   
Original Gravity: 1.050
Final Gravity: 1.014
Estimated IBU: 70
SRM: 3o
ABV%: 5.2%
Efficiency Est: 65%
Boil Time: 60 min

  • 70% - 9.5 lbs –Two Row
  • 22% - 3 lbs – Wheat Malt
  • 4% - 0.5 lbs – Carapils
  • 4% - 0.5 lbs – Acid Malt
  • Mash hop - Centennial – pellet – 2oz
  • Flame out – Citra – pellet – 1oz
  • Flame out – Amarillo – pellet – 1oz
  • Flame out – Chinook – pellet – 1oz
  • Dry hop 7 days – Citra – pellet – 2oz
  • Dry hop 7 days – Amarillo – pellet – 1oz
  • Dry hop 7 days – Chinook – pellet – 1oz
  • Keg hop – Citra – leaf – 1oz
Mashed single infusion for 60 minutes at 153oF, single  sparge at 170oF


6/23/13 - Made 2L starter and placed on stir plate covered with foil. 

6/26/13 - Turned stir plate off. Pellicle formed.
6/29/13 – Brewed by myself. Easy brewday, no problems. For the mash I added 3 tsp of gypsum and 1 tsp of Calcium Chloride and 2 tsp gypsum and 1 tsp Calcium Chloride to the sparge water. Measured OG was 1.055/ Chilled to 80F and pitched yeast with minimal aeration and moved the carboy upstairs to ferment in ambient temperature of 75F.

6/30/13 – Small pellicle has formed over the top of the beer. 

7/1/13 – The pellicle is thick now and has trapped large amounts of CO2 forming large bubbles. 

7/2/13 – The pellicle is gone and there is a small layer of krausen. 

7/3/13 – The krausen has disappeared but there appears to still active fermentation. 

7/13/13 - Gravity down to 1.014. Racked to Keg and first round of dry hops added.  

7/23/13 - Second round of dry hops added. 1 oz leaf Citra. Pressure set to 15 psi at 42F

8/7/13 - First tasting. Disappointing from the stand point that I didn't end up with what I wanted, but not that bad.  

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

First Tasting: No Love Lost

With summer in full swing I’m happy that my Love Buzz Saison Clone (without Brett) is ready to go. I kegged about three weeks ago I believe but it took about a week to have consistent carbonation and then the next week was me taking pours to remove all of the sediment in the bottom of the keg…aka hops. I’m very happy with how this one turned out. I wish I had done some extra water chemistry to bring out the hops a little more but I didn’t think about it at the time. This review is for the non-Brett half. In a couple of months I’ll either keg or bottle the Brett portion and give a review for it as well. 

Appearance: Hazy orange-yellow with a thick white head that slowly fades to a thin lacing on the top of the beer and clings to the side of the glass. There are still small traces of hops and hot break floating around in the beer. The head is built of small tight fitting white bubbles. 

Aroma: Tropical fruit intertwine with spices: mango, pineapple, orange, a touch of guava and citrus with black pepper and coriander. I’m surprised how much orange aroma I got from the zest of the orange that I added. I think they play very well together and I can’t wait to see what the Brett will add. I’m not sure if the rosehips are adding any aroma at all, but it could just have been masked by the dry-hops and yeast. 

Taste: It may be slightly too bitter, but nowhere near IPA territory. Orange and citrus are the predominate flavors with a spicy black pepper finish. The beer is slightly sweeter then I would have preferred but I’m sure the Brett will clean that up in the other half.

Mouthfeel: A little on the thick side for a Saison but not so thick that you would find it not refreshing. Medium high carbonation and a lingering bitter slightly astringent finish. 

Overall: There are a few aspects that I would like to improve for future batches. I would change the hopping, maybe move it to 45 minutes instead of 60 minutes to decrease the bitterness. I would probably also remove the hops after the boil is completed to help cut down on the astringency. As discussed earlier I would also perform some water analysis to help with the hopping and hopping aroma. I would also have preferred for the beer to be a little drier. I guess I assumed that the beer had fully attenuated, but this is a Saison strain so you can never assume anything. I’m still pleased with it but there is room for improvement.