Thursday, February 6, 2014

Sweaty Bretty Rye - Brett Rye Saison

I was a bit disappointed in my last saison experiment (in December, no associated blog entry). I believe the carafa II that I used threw some "nutty" notes into the beer, and it turned out an ugly brown. Not what I was going for. (The brett C portion tastes promising though.)

Recent failure in mind, I thought I'd brew up a replacement batch that was more in line with successful past batches. I wanted to make it peppery, but with a soft mouthfeel (I'm targeting something similar to one of my favorite saisons, Logsdon's Seizoen Bretta). For the pepper and mouthfeel I used 15% each of wheat and rye in the grainbill.

I also wanted to try blending a few strains of yeast for primary. I grew starters for WY 3711, Lallemand's Belle Saison, and Bootleg Bio's Funky Saison (I used the BBio on a saison I brewed back in August). I blended the dregs together in a growler and let them settle, then pitched about 150 mls of the slurry into the oxigenated wort. I plan to rack this onto brett cultivated from a bottle of Logsdon's Seizon Bretta (which is a unique strain, according to Dave Logsdon), provided I can get some growth. Right now the dregs are sitting still under ~25 mls of wort.

Here's the recipe and notes. I'll add more as this brew progresses.

Sweaty Bretty Rye Saison
Type: All Grain    Date: 04 Feb 2014
Batch Size (fermenter): 5.50 gal    Brewer: Aaron
Boil Size: 7.70 gal    Asst Brewer: Steve
Boil Time: 90 min    Equipment: Wittbrew 5000 (5 Gal/37.8 L) - All Grain
End of Boil Volume 6.50 gal    Brewhouse Efficiency: 67.00 %
Final Bottling Volume: 5.00 gal    Est Mash Efficiency 76.1 %
Fermentation: Ale, Two Stage    Taste Rating(out of 50): 30.0
Taste Notes:

Amt     Name    
1 lbs     Rice Hulls (0.0 SRM)                        7.7 %
7 lbs     Pilsner (Best Malz) (2.0 SRM)        53.8 %
2 lbs     Rye Malt (4.7 SRM)                        15.4 %
2 lbs     Wheat Malt, Bel (2.0 SRM)            15.4 %
8.0 oz     Acidulated (Weyermann)                3.8 % (added at end of mash)
8.0 oz     Aromatic Malt (26.0 SRM)             3.8 %
0.45 oz     Nugget [12.80 %] - Boil 30.0 min     14.4 IBUs
1.00 oz     Sterling [7.40 %] - Boil 10.0 min        8.7 IBUs
1.00 oz     Sterling [7.40 %] - Boil 5.0 min          4.8 IBUs
1.00 oz     Sterling [7.40 %] - Whirlpool 0.0 min 0.0 IBUs
Blended slurry:
Belle Saison (Lallemand #Belle Saison)  
French Saison (Wyeast Labs #3711)
Funky Saison (Bootleg Biology #)

Est Original Gravity: 1.052 SG    Measured Original Gravity: 1.056 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.002 SG    Measured Final Gravity: 1.0-- SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 6.5 %   
Bitterness: 27.9 IBUs    Calories: 187.2 kcal/12oz
Est Color: 5.4 SRM   

Mash Profile
Mash In     Add 23.50 qt of water at 154.6 F     147.0 F     75 min
Sparge Step: Batch sparge with 2 steps (Drain mash tun , 4.38gal) of 168.0 F water

Modified recipe from 3/2/2013. Dropped OG a bit. Added Rye. Removed vienna. Changed hops.

- Tried to blend Bootleg Bio's Funky Saison with Belle Saison with Wyeast 3711.
-->3711 MFG date of June 2013. --> 1L starter.
frozen Funky Saison --> 200 ml starter --> 1.5 L starter.
Belle Saison slurry --> 2L starter.

Dropped all three, blended for ~175 ml pitch.

Brew Day:
3:40 - Nailed mash temp @ 147º
3:50 - pH of ~5.2 as read on colorpHast. Wanted 5.4, with the .3 correction its about right. (I really need to get a meter...)
3:55 - Changed music from Jason Isbell to Charles Bradley station to instill more funk and soul into beer.

4:42 - Added aciduated malt. Begin raising temp for mashout.

5:20 - First runnings: 1.073 (17.8º P), 3.5 gallons.

5:35 - Added sparge salts to kettle. (Acid was added to sparge water)
5:45 - Preboil: 1.048 (12 ºP), 7.7 gallons (efficiency high b/c of running rye+wheat through mill 3x?)
5:50 - Boil
7:10 - Flameout (Boiled hard for 80 mins -- time restraint)

Ended up with ~5.1 gallons of 1.056 wort. Topped up with .4 gallons of water.

2/6 - Aerated wort and pitched ~150-200 mls of blended slurry (3711, Belle Saison, BBio Funky Saison). Temp at 72.5ºF.


  1. Great blog! Subscribed =)
    I definitely wanna brew something like this! I have no experience in brewing with Brett, but I just started a culture from a bottle of the all brett IPA Femme fatale. Will this grow to a pitchable nr of cells any time soon, or how slow is Brett? I saw you have done some culturing from bottles

    1. Daniel -

      Thanks for the comment. Brewing with Brett is a lot easier than one would think, and its a ton of fun. Femme Fatale is Brett C., so expect big fruity flavors if you do a solo pitch.

      Brett does take longer to grow up to pitchable rates, and to finish a beer. With dregs I typically start at 100 mls of 1.030 wort for a week on a stirplate, and then pitch up to 1000 mls 1.030 wort for another week. From there I'd split the starter, pitching half into a 2000+ mls starter and retaining half in a growler with an airlock for future fun. (You can keep it at room temp for up to 3 months. If you want to keep it longer, just decant and feed it more 1.030 wort.)

      On my all-brett beers I expect fermentation time of 3-4 weeks at 66-68º F. Remember that these will continue to ferment slowly in the bottle / keg.

      This beer was mixed fermentation, with causes the Brett to throw some funk because its working on the remnants of the sacchro (saison) ferment. I love a funky saison.

      Definitely check out the Mad Fermentationist's blog, and google "Chad Yakobson Brettanomyces." Those guys are a wealth of info, and I am still learning a lot from them!


  2. Thanks for the very instructive comment! :)
    It really is facinating how you can use Brett to get such different flavors.

    Btw my small culture is really taking off atm!

  3. Your recipe looks quite interesting, I wish this time you make good tasty beer.
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