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Old 05-17-2009, 10:04 PM   #1
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Default "continuously" fermenting Brett beer?

I have an idea, but not sure how good the actual beer would be. I'm thinking of getting a 14g conical. What I'd do is brew a 7-10 gallon batch (simple "lambic" type beer), pitch some neutral ale yeast along with a couple of brett strains. After a few months, draw off a few growlers, brew another batch and add to conical. Repeat. If it needs a bit of fruit (some tart cherries, maybe) add those, etc. I'm thinking this could be an very interesting experiment. I could age the growlers or just drink them.

Currently, I draw a glass or so from my 5 g batch of kriek (using wyeast's blend) every month or so and just drink it "flat." It's very nice, but needs more time. I'd like to scale this up, but just using Brett (I can only drink the lacto in small doses.)

Thoughts?

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Old 05-18-2009, 05:04 AM   #2
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I have been thinking about doing something similar, I have been told that the strains will eventually become unbalanced. Now I'm thinking about "perpetual" fermentation with a single strain of brett.

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Old 05-18-2009, 02:53 PM   #3
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Mosher mentions this "Solera" method of doing Lambics in his Extreme Brewing book. I think it's something I'd rather do in an oak barrel rather than a conical, but why not. My club has 60 gallons of Kriek in a wine barrel in my basement right now and we were thinking of doing something similar. Right now there are 10 "shares" and it would be cool to let a few people in every 6 months by drawing off like 10 gallons of finished product and replacing with two new shares. Over time, each cycle would give the owners less and less volume, but it becomes more complex and blended too.

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Old 05-18-2009, 03:14 PM   #4
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A Solera will work as long as Brett remains the dominant strain (Lambic, Old ale, etc). You definitely don't want to do this where you have lacto-bacteria active or they will oversour the beer. The best way to do that is to attenuate the beer to >8% alcohol and/or a pH of around 3.5 before moving it to the barrel, since lacto will die under those conditions.

I plan to do this with the 10-10-10, half will go onto Brett C, I'll remove about half for bottling and add back some more beer to replace what I take out.

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Old 05-18-2009, 08:46 PM   #5
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I would love to try this, It sounds fun.

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Old 05-20-2009, 12:11 AM   #6
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Yeah, I was thinking that I'd avoid lacto altogether. Maybe just do two strains of Brett.

Barrels scare me a bit. Mostly because of the cleaning routine, but I could be convinced other wise.

I was thinking of drawing probably 2.5 gallons or so every 6 months. Or even a few bottles full here and there and let the bottles "rest" for a few weeks, then drink. Or "spike" a stout, porter, old ale, etc. with a few quarts in secondary.

I've really fallen in love with brett and it'd be cool just to pull a pint or so off every once in a while. Just replenish with fresh wort twice a year or so - depending on my appetite

I may check into a barrel, but a conical may fit my space better - but barrels do just ooze coolness in a bar area...

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Old 05-20-2009, 12:41 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bakins View Post

Barrels scare me a bit. Mostly because of the cleaning routine, but I could be convinced other wise.
What cleaning routine? If your barrel is always full, there's no cleaning involved.
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Old 05-20-2009, 12:19 PM   #8
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What cleaning routine? If your barrel is always full, there's no cleaning involved.
True, I suppose. I'm reading "Wild Brews" right now,lots of good info. I just hear that once lacto gets in a barrel, there's no getting it out. I'm wanting to do this as 100% Brett. I was thinking, the 14 gallon conical and maybe a 5 gallon barrel (or 2). I could draw 5 gal into the barrel, replenish the fermenter, and let the barrel age for a while. I've heard that smaller barrels don't need as much age, because of the volume to surface area ration, but produce inconsistent results.

Just kicking around ideas, and scraping up $600...
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Old 05-20-2009, 02:26 PM   #9
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$600? Scrap that and call a few wineries. Grab yourself a used Cabernet barrel for $100 and get to work filling it. Just think, that $500 savings will easily pay for the ingredients to fill the barrel.

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Old 05-21-2009, 03:01 AM   #10
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$100 you say... Hmmm... Has anyone put a spigot on a barrel? Wild brews recommended that so as not to disturb pelicle.

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