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Old 12-03-2012, 04:14 PM   #1
BigBill
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Default White Labs Brett Yeast Cell count?

Apologies if in wrong section, but figured I would get more responses in the Wilds section...

Anyone know why there seems to be so little yeast in White Labs Brett tubes (e.g. WLP645). There is a thin coasting of yeast at the bottom (e.g. a couple of dimes) whereas for sacc yeast takes up half the tube.

Additionally any tips for harvesting Brett off a yeast cake to prime with (a la Orval)? I saved the yeast cake off a 100% Brett beer, do I just take a few drops of the slurry and add to bottles when bottling or do I need to do something more involved (e.g. take slurry, make starter, etc, etc) and add that?

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Old 12-03-2012, 04:31 PM   #2
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I got this from the white labs web site:

Q: I am planning a sour brown ale with bret bruxellensis as the only yeast. Is there anything special I should do with this strain and is this a good idea?

A. We don't recommend the vials for primary (not enough cells), but if you make a decent starter, it should be fine. You should plan on 3-5 days to grow up the starter, at least room temperature (but warmer is better) and aerate as usual. You are probably going to have to make twice as much of a starter as you normally would for Saccharomyces.

Q: I just bought one vial of brettanomyces brux WLP650. I have used White Labs "normal" ale yeast in the past and have noticed that there is usually a 1-2 inch pellet ( yeast cake) at the bottom of the tube. WLP650 has a very small pellet (1-2 millimeters) at the bottom. Is there still the same number of yeast cells in a vial of brettanomyces as saccaromyces?

A: This sounds normal, as we do not concentrate the brettanomyces. Therefore, you won't see a thick layer in the tube. The cultures are generally 50 million cells/ml.

As for saving the yeast cake to prime a new beer; it looks like you plan to krausen your batch. The way I understand that process (I've never tried it) you need the foam from the top of an active fermentation. I'f you've got slurry I'd just save it for later because I'm assuming you're in secondary right now. There will be plenty of residual yeast in suspension to carbonate your beer. I can tell you from experience though that it doesn't seem to carb up as fast for some reason. Maybe I wasn't holding warm enough.

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Old 12-07-2012, 07:09 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigBill View Post
Anyone know why there seems to be so little yeast in White Labs Brett tubes (e.g. WLP645). There is a thin coasting of yeast at the bottom (e.g. a couple of dimes) whereas for sacc yeast takes up half the tube.
The amount of cells in the tube is designed for pitching as a secondary yeast into a 5 gallon batch. You want to stress the yeast to have it produce the rustic characteristics often associated with Brett. If you want to use it as a primary yeast (all-brett beer), make a big starter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BigBill View Post
Additionally any tips for harvesting Brett off a yeast cake to prime with (a la Orval)? I saved the yeast cake off a 100% Brett beer, do I just take a few drops of the slurry and add to bottles when bottling or do I need to do something more involved (e.g. take slurry, make starter, etc, etc) and add that?
From a bottle, you want to wake the yeast up. It could have been dormant for a long time. There may not be much left alive either, so you will need to propagate it. Make up some starter wort (lower gravity than normal, about 1.020), and fill about half the bottle. Shake/aerate, and cover with foil and leave. It can take a week to get going. You can let it settle out and add the solids to your bottling bucket. If it were me, I'd probably decant and repeat the mini starter with regular starter wort (about 1.040), then let settle, decant and add to bottling bucket.

Be aware that when you add brett to a bottle, it will not only consume the priming sugar, but will also work on some of the sugars left behind by the primary yeast. You really should bottle these in high pressure bottles, or risk the potential for bottle bombs. The alternative is to add the brett to the beer in the fermenter and leave alone for at least 6 months before bottling. The brett will keep working, and developing flavors, for about 18 months

From slurry: If you are sure of the viability of the slurry, you could just add a teaspoon or so to the bottling bucket.

Hope this helps.
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