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Old 06-23-2012, 09:41 PM   #1
JLem
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Default Dilemma: 100% Brett or not?

Sorry in advance if this goes on too long...

I am planning on brewing a saison/farmhouse ale tomorrow. I went to my LHBS to pick up the grains and the yeast, but they were closed for vacation. So, I ended up at a place I don't normally go to. Every time I've tried this place they only have half the ingredients I was hoping for. This time was no different so I had to change things up on the fly (or wait to brew until I could get my original ingredients, but I might not have time again until the end of July...and I haven't brewed anything since March!)

I had originally wanted to get one of the White Lab Saison strains, but this place had none of them. Not really sure what to do, I picked up a vial of the French Ale yeast (wlp072) and a vial of the Brettanomyces bruxellensis trois strain (wlp644).

My original thought was that I would just pitch both vials. However, upon further investigation, I'm intrigued by the thought of doing a 100% Brett beer with this strain. BUT, I don't have time to wait the 7 days that folks seem to recommend to make a starter for a 100% Brett beer. I've got the starter going now and I figure I can give it a few days (I can brew tomorrow, Sunday, and not pitch until Monday evening or Tuesday morning when I leave for a few days of vacation), but that's as long as I can wait.

So, here are my thoughts about possible options:
1) Let the Brett starter go for 48-60 hours and just pitch it even though it probably hasn't been given enough time

2) Let the Brett starter go for 48-60 hours and pitch it along with the vial of French Ale yeast. At least then I would probably have an adequate cell count between the two.

3) Pitch the French Ale yeast (I can make up another starter) first and then pitch the Brett when I get back from vacation on Friday.

4) other suggestions?

Any and all input would be appreciated!

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Old 06-24-2012, 03:58 AM   #2
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Really? No takers on this one?

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Old 06-24-2012, 05:45 AM   #3
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No expierence with this. So take this with as a grain of sand. Option two sounds the best. My advice, post this in the wild/lambic brewing section lmao.

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Old 06-24-2012, 05:58 AM   #4
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I'd go w/ option 3 for understated Brett character or just pitch the vial straight in. I've been reading & listening to a lot of Brett stuff lately in preparation for my 1st Brett adventure, and I've heard many people say to under pitch Brett to get more character.

FWIW, I've got 2 batches of Triple fermenting w/ regular ale yeasts. They both smell amazing but I'll take the less amazing (or maybe less attenuated?) one and add Brett brux for secondary or maybe bottle condition/priming. Then after seeing the outcome I'll move on to 100% Brett fermentation.

I hope you'll post you plan & results!

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Old 06-24-2012, 06:15 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Piratwolf View Post
I'd go w/ option 3 for understated Brett character or just pitch the vial straight in. I've been reading & listening to a lot of Brett stuff lately in preparation for my 1st Brett adventure, and I've heard many people say to under pitch Brett to get more character.
I don't have tons of experience with Brett and have never done a 100% Brett beer, but from what I understand underpitching is good -unless- you're doing a 100% Brett fermentation. I've always heard that a nice big starter is best for that. Hopefully some others with more experience will chime in here soon.
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Old 06-24-2012, 07:05 AM   #6
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I typically pitch when the starter is at high krausen, so one 18-36 hours is probably ideal.

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Old 06-24-2012, 01:42 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lowtones84

I don't have tons of experience with Brett and have never done a 100% Brett beer, but from what I understand underpitching is good -unless- you're doing a 100% Brett fermentation. I've always heard that a nice big starter is best for that. Hopefully some others with more experience will chime in here soon.
Yes, this is my understanding as well. I've heard for 100% Brett beers you should pitch lager-level cell counts.

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I typically pitch when the starter is at high krausen, so one 18-36 hours is probably ideal.
Is this your experience with Brett starters? The issue I have is that the vial of Brett is packed with a considerably lower cell count. Add this to the lager-level counts needed and you have the reason why people let their Brett starters go for 7 days, and maybe even with stepping it up once.

This is my first attempt at 100% Brett so I have no direct experience with this. All that said, my Brett starter looks amazing this morning.
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Old 06-24-2012, 02:47 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JLem

Yes, this is my understanding as well. I've heard for 100% Brett beers you should pitch lager-level cell counts.
This is good to know! Like I said, I'm just getting into the Brett world.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JLem
Is this your experience with Brett starters? The issue I have is that the vial of Brett is packed with a considerably lower cell count. Add this to the lager-level counts needed and you have the reason why people let their Brett starters go for 7 days, and maybe even with stepping it up once.
according to the little I've read/heard so far, Brett has a growth phase, then a 2-day-ish lag phase, then another 2-day-ish growth phase... So to get full cell count you're looking for, it sounds like 7 days is about right for a 100% Brett starter
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Old 06-24-2012, 03:13 PM   #9
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Only done one Brett beer, pitched the Sacc (starter) and the Brett (no starter) at the same time. I'm told the Sacc will get a majority of the fermentation done then the Brett will pick up and eat everything else. Beer came out excellent....good luck with yours.

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Old 06-24-2012, 03:54 PM   #10
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If you underpitch brett like that, you're going to sit on that beer for months, maybe more. Brett needs a huge volume to act as a primary fermenter. You can't rush the starter.

Pitch the sacc and if you want the brett character, pitch the brett with it or after primary fermentation ends.

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