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Old 05-17-2011, 03:54 PM   #1
Oct 2010
NoVa, Virginia
Posts: 24

Brewed 4 galllons of a massive Belgian Dark Strong w/ OG 1.110 and pitched single activated 3789 smack pack. Nothing for a day or so... then a huge krausen. 4 days later yeast had fallen out of suspension with an FG of 1.021.
So im at about 12% abv, which i believe is why the yeast fell out so rapidly.

I am wondering how much farther down the brett will take this?
but im worried brett wont be able to handle it since its already pretty alcoholic and the pH might be too low. I used about 5% acid malt in mash. sorry i dont know current pH.

Its been about a week and I am also wondering whether to rack to secondary to get the beer off the yeast cake and trub? thinking I will leave it...

I know i need to leave it for a while, but my real concern is what gravity to bottle it at so the brett will carb my bottles with its superattenuation. gonna use champagne and belgian 750s w corks and cages but dont want overcarbonation

I have heard brett will eat the sugar all the way down to 1.006 but i doubt thats gonna happen here, I have never read about how brett works in big beers.Should I expect a pellicle?

SG has been stable for about 4 days and the beer tastes pretty damn good for being so young, not too funky but tastes different "in a good way"

Any help is greatly appreciated!

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Old 05-18-2011, 12:02 AM   #2
AmandaK's Avatar
Feb 2010
Posts: 1,498
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Leave it in the primary.

The general consensus around here is to bottle anything with Brett after 1.010, to prevent bottle bombs. If you aren't concerned with bombs, then I'd look into how many volumes you want in this beer and get back to us.

You should expect a pellicle, but in higher ABV beers, I've found that it doesn't show up as fast. Could be a month before you see one. That being said, I brewed an Orval clone with that same yeast and never saw one in the three months I had it fermenting/aging. I bottled with a grown up starter of Orval dregs just in case I didn't get the funk I wanted.

Check your gravity in two weeks and see if it's budged.

BJCP Master Beer Judge

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Old 05-18-2011, 12:48 AM   #3
Oct 2008
Boston, MA
Posts: 75
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I could be wrong, but I thought Bret forms a pellicle when acting is the presence of oxygen. Depending on what you using for primary you may get one, or not. Plastic buckets have a large amount of 02 transfer, even more than a barrel, so if your primary is plastic you may get one. If you're in glass with an airlock, you may not.

As for how far down it will go, I wouldn't be surprised if it doesn't make down to 1.010 given how high your OG was. Others will likely have more experience here, but I assume that some of what's left behind after the primary ferment of a beer this big is not only dextrans but unfermentable proteins or even longer chain sugars that the Bret won't be able chew through. Anyone with more experience in this regard? I'd love to know if Brett will really dry out something this big beyond the 81% attenuation he's already got.

Braufguss, looking at your sig, looks like you've got a lot more experience with this than I: have you seen 91% attenuation in a beer this big when finished with Brett? (That's what 1.010 would be if OG is 1.110.)

It's a pretty acid tolerant bug, however. I think it's still active late in lambic fermentation when the pH can be down in the 2-3 range (though pediococcus is playing a role at that point as well). In your case I doubt that's a major factor at this point.
Primary: wild yeast and dust motes
Primary:Premium Bitter 2
Secondary 1: Straight Lambic Solera
Secondary 2: Flanders Red
Bottled:JP BDG, Premium Bitter 1, Oatmeal Imperial Stout, Pearl-Beer Lambic, Chimay Grand Reserve Clones, Chocolate Imperial Stout, Adam Beer Attempt

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Old 05-18-2011, 02:58 AM   #4
Oct 2010
NoVa, Virginia
Posts: 24

Thanks for the response! finding what the attenuation of brett will be in in a bigger beer is the real question, as that will determine when I bottle.

I have this beer in a 5 gal glass carboy w an airlock that will be removed for tasting about every other week or so.

Any recommendations on how much this beer should be carbed? Im between belgian dark strong ale and barleywine, lower is better so the flavor shows through...

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Old 05-18-2011, 01:10 PM   #5
SickTransitMundus's Avatar
Mar 2010
Posts: 168
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I had a huge dark strong ale, 1.090-ish, that I added brett to at kegging. FG after normal fermentation with WY3787 was 1.018. Over three months the gravity dropped to 1.006. It ended up very carbed, as you may imagine, but I think it's appropriate for the style to have an effervescent body.

In bottles, I'd aim for 2.5 volumes of CO2. It will take a very long time for the brett to fully attenuate before you bottle. Plan for at least three months in secondary.
Fermenting: Gerboise Bleue Farmhouse Ale. Ivy Mike Citra-Victory Pale Ale.
Kegged: Colonized By Wankers Wee Heavy. Spanked By Leviathan Barleywine. Green Hell Double IPA.
On tap: Castle Bravo American Stout. Silence of the Chavs Robust Porter. Smell the Glove Bretted Quad.
Gallons in 2011: 145 and counting.

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