The purpose of this thread is for anyone to share any information they have regarding commercial produces of wild/sour beer and their production techniques. Obviously a lot of the consistency (or inconsistency) of these produces arises from having many barrels on hand to blend from. Regardless, please do share an bits of info you have come across from reading, direct contact with producers, etc. Personally I have been just pitching as many dreggs and slurries as I can into my sour beers and am hoping to be a bit more calculated in my process.
I'll start with a more obvious resource that probably most of us have used already:
Chad Yakobson's (of Crooked Stave) website with a vast amount of free information on brettanomyces from his dissertation "Pure Culture Fermentation Characteristics of Brettanomyces Yeast Species and Their Use in the Brewing Industry"
Although not commercial, this is a great write up from Old Sock if anyone is looking to get started.
This is the morebeer interview with Vinnie from RR, some great stuff in here. Here's a summary of the points if you don't have 20 minutes to kill:
-RR pretty much caters their grain bill to what kind of barrel its going in.
-Supplication (pinot barrel): aim for fruity flavors w/ more crystal malt.
-Consecration (cab barrels): dark malts, chocolate/carafa III for tobacco/chocolate flavors found in cabernet.
-Mash really high, 159-160 to leave lots of long chain unfermentables for brett/bugs.
-Most RR funky beers are 12-15 IBUs.
-RR underpitches sacch for their funky beers (about half the normal amount).
-They then centrifuge out the sacch, put into barrels, and pitch brett (so not relying on autolysing yeast for food).
-They let the brett go for about 8-10 weeks to give it a head start (~1 million cells/mL).
-Airlock on for brett so it can gas off, then they bung it once bacteria is pitched.
-Top off barrels at this time (Vinnie says he tops off with more brett, I am a little confused by this). Then pitch bugs.
-Barrels never opened after this, samples pulled by SS nail.
-Pitching everything at the same time could result in bacteria taking off too fast and dropping the pH too low (below ~3.5) and make the brett stop working.
-Total time in barrels 6-12 months.
-They have 1, 2, and 3 year old barrels. After this, they are sold off or used in their spontaneous fermentation program.
-RR uses dried fruit and the fruit is in the barrel the entire time. Fruit is a great way to add complexity to wild beers.
-Some belgian producers fruit with fresh fruit for ~8 weeks in SS tanks.
-RR framboise is aged 9 months then fruited with fresh fruit for about 6 weeks.