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Old 05-02-2013, 11:51 PM   #1
bellmtbbq
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Default 18-20% ABV, Brett barleywine

Anyone who has had Dogfish 120 Minute before (18-22% ABV) knows that it's extremely syrupy and sweet. While you need that sweetness in such a big beer, most find it a little over the top.

Clone to get a feel: http://www.homebrewchef.com/120minuteIPArecipe.html

The issue with sacch, even if you use a high attenuating yeast and lots of sugar/dextrose, you don't get the attenuation needed from a 1.170-1.190 beer. Brett is fantastic with attenuation issues and works miracles on relatively short chained sugars. Also, many wild Brett strains manage to infect 13-16% easily, so there must be many alcohol tolerant strains.

Also, the infection worry that is critical in such a beer with all the removing, adding, and testing would still be significant but minimized due to the Brett addition already.


While I've got tons of experience with Brett, I'm a little unsure. My thinking is that I'd pitch an English ale yeast into the original 1.090 beer, and then add the Brett as I start dextrose additions. The 4-6 months necessary to let the mixed fermentation finish would also be a good start to aging/cellaring the beer. The only trouble is I don't keg, and there's no way to bottle carb this. I'm sure I could figure something out.


What do people think? It'd take some yeast wrangling at work in my lab but it's feasible, I think. I'd love to make a cellar-able 20% ABV beer that isn't too syrupy that I could enjoy for perhaps several decades.



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Old 05-03-2013, 12:02 AM   #2
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I have nothing to add to help but I think the idea is cool.



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Old 05-03-2013, 12:05 AM   #3
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The question is where to find the alcohol tolerant strain of Brett. I think something along the lines of Brett l. might work best, as the dark fruit flavor/leather might work really well. I've never used Brett L. but my guess is anything WL/Wyeast produces will knock out at 13-15%.

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Old 05-03-2013, 12:24 AM   #4
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I don't think you are going to get what you are looking for with Brett. Most strains will stall out on you at that abv.

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Old 05-03-2013, 12:51 AM   #5
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I'm not so sure about that. While the commercial strains available have mild alcohol tolerance, many California wineries are scared to death of Brettanomyces because it'll tear through the body of their big reds in barrel. Hell, Vinnie at Russian River can't find wine barrels in Sonoma county, of all places, for his sours because he is considered a leper for cultivating infectious Brett. If there are wild strains that can land and infect a wine already at 15% ABV, I'm sure with some yeast wrangling I can find the right strain. Just where to find it...

Anyone know any non-filtered, high alcohol sours, American or Belgian? Might be a good place to isolate dregs.

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Old 05-03-2013, 01:12 AM   #6
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I think it's worth a shot. The first time you do it maybe just brew a standard barley wine and add brett at bottling time to a gallon or two to see where it ends up 6-12 months later. That's what I would do anyhow. But if you research enough and find a particularly alcohol tolerant strain and the conditions which it needs to work that well perhaps you could just go for it. I would still personally just do a small batch the first time so you don't end up with beer syrup, but all up to you of course!

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Old 05-03-2013, 01:15 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lowtones84 View Post
I think it's worth a shot. The first time you do it maybe just brew a standard barley wine and add brett at bottling time to a gallon or two to see where it ends up 6-12 months later. That's what I would do anyhow. But if you research enough and find a particularly alcohol tolerant strain and the conditions which it needs to work that well perhaps you could just go for it. I would still personally just do a small batch the first time so you don't end up with beer syrup, but all up to you of course!
Thanks! I brew 2-3 gallon batches anyway, so it's easy. Probably domestic pale ale malt, a little Amber, Biscuit, or Aromatic, and a pinch of dark crystal, maybe C-150.
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Old 05-03-2013, 01:37 AM   #8
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Maybe even split a 2-3 gallon batch into 2 or 3 different 1 gallon secondaries with different strains of brett, and research their ideal conditions? Even though this stuff takes a while to develop, I bet you'll have a pretty darn good idea of what it's going to be like 6-8 months after adding the brett.

It seems to me with a project like this it's going to take some experimentation. Like I'm just going to start getting into lambics to blend into gueuzes soon so maybe by the time I'm 60 I'll be decent at it Actually for about a year now I've been adding orval dregs to one gallon of most of my beers at bottling time. Have gotten some very cool and some very tasty results this way.

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Old 05-03-2013, 02:29 AM   #9
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Your best bet might be biodynamic wines and sterile filtration of the entire bottle to hopefully land yourself a few cells. There are some strange wines out there that I would certainly think have brett in them due to process. Look up Vin Jaune wine and Fondillion. The problem with them is they are expensive. Another wine source is Chateau Musar, an Israeli wine, which is considered to be an example of Brett in wine. I have been meaning to get a bottle and sterile filter the wine in hopes of getting something to grow.

I've done an imperial stout this way the last two years. I wasn't aiming for 18% but have been hitting 13% without trying. I do everything in the brewing process to decrease fermentability of the wort though. I mash at 158-160 then do a stupid long boil, and use a buttload of black malt. I have been able to keep my AA% to about 78% which ain't too shabby considering its about 1.120 with about 14% black malt. The yeast is the wyeast old ale blend.

For carb you will need a keg whether you want to serve from tap or bottle. I could not get my 14% version last year to carb not even with champagne yeast as a second attempt. You may get lucky, but at that alcohol you will basically have to force carb. I came to realize that and now I have a beer gun for beers just like that, but I do use it a lot anyhow for bottling in general.

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Old 05-23-2013, 06:44 PM   #10
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I have been thinking about pursuing something like this. Have you proceeded with this plan or is it still just a concept you're kicking around. I've been thinking about doing something like this for use in blending (for example, blended with my super dry 5% saison)

I have put some thought into this and here is how I think I would proceed: brew a beer to almost 1.150 and ferment with a mix of belgian strains that should be able to handle up to 15%. Then, I'd add a blend of 6 different Brett strains (Brett brux, claus, lamb, and 'Trois' from White Labs and C1 and C2 from BKYeast) so that, hopefully at least one of those strains can handle the gravity and inhospitable environment. I am also highly considering doing this in a used wine barrel because I think the slow diffusion of oxygen would improve the chances that the Brett would dry it out.

My concern is that following this methodology, I might end up with a beer at 1.000 and 19% abv - very high alcohol and incredibly dry. Would this be a horrible finished product? Would it simply taste like alcohol?

Also, I would include at least 20% wheat in the grist. Am I wrong to expect this to generate a worthy mouthfeel. What other recipe development steps would you take on this beer? How would you bitter something like this - probably not along the lines of a barleywine due to the finishing gravity... right?



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