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.  


  1. Very Cool. I still haven't stepped up my strain yet beyond the starting so I'll be interested on what you think.

  2. I just got thru with a starter of C-3 from BKyeast.
    I wonder if you have any further additions to this
    blog/thread about the results of this fermentation.
    My impression of the aroma from the starter was
    similiarity to Dutchess DeBourgogne. The taste
    was not sour at all however and earthy woody is my
    impression. I need to brew with the C3 but am
    not shining thru with recipe ideas. Thanks for
    the read.

    1. I didn't pick up on any acidic aroma when I was making my starter. That being said I took a taste test when I was racking it to the keg and it was very fruity. It almost had a peach strawberry flavor.

      As far as your recipe goes it really depends on what you want. If you want the yeast to be dominate I would suggest something like a blonde ale.

  3. I wonder if your cheesy/woody aroma is hop driven? I've done 4 100% Brett Beers with 3 of them being IPA's and I've never seen a pellical form on them if used during primary. Do you think lacto or pedio could of gotten into your starter?

    1. I've never experienced anything like this before either. I have seen a pellicle form before but only after dry-hopping, not during fermentation. I guess its always possible that lacto or pedio could have gotten in my starter but I doubt it. There should be enough hops to ward off any lacto, unless its IBU resistant and it doesn't taste like a pedio sourness. It's more like a solvent acidity. I tried it again last night and the woody/cheesy aroma has subsided and is pretty harder to pick up now. Its still funky but not like it was before.

    2. Are the flavors your picking up affecting the drink-a-bility of the beer? Or is it a flavor that is adding to the complexity of the beer? I could get woody and love it, or I could get woody and puke...

    3. I would say adding to the complexity of the beer. It's like a subtle woody aroma/flavor, like you would get from a barrel or oak cubes. It's not like I struggle to drink it. If I gave you a glass and told you it was just a wild ale you would probably like it and be intrigued, but if I told you it was supposed to be an IPA, you might be disgusted.