Brett beer not getting funky after a year

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tyrub42

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Hi everyone!

I made a Brett beer, and it's been 13+ months since pitching the brett in secondary (pitched in December, bottled in June). However, the beer is still lacking in funk and pretty much any other strong brett character. Just wondering if anyone has any idea why. Here are the specifics:

-OG: 1.050
-Primary FG: 1.010
-Secondary FG: 1.002
-Primary Yeast: t58
-Brett: WLP650 (Orval strain) built up in a starter from a buddy who uses the same strain quite a lot in his beers, all of which develop a funky character in 6-12 months
-Malts were mostly pilsner and rye

The beer tastes nice overall, but really nothing about it would make you think it's been bretted for a year, and we're all scratching out heads over it. If anyone has any ideas, they'd be much appreciated.

Cheers 🍻🍻🍻
Tyler
 

hottpeper13

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I do a Lambic solara barrel and try to get primary FG at 1.020- 1.026. I don't think there's enough for the bret to feed on. I use a 60% wheat 40% barley where 20% of the wheat is flaked. I do a mash at 160 for 60 min and don't use any finings. I have 17.5 gal in primary at this moment and used 10% oat malt. I ferment with my house yeast 2565 Kolsch. It will be ready to sample and transfer on Feb 7, so might need a Superbowl tasting party. I leave the beer in the barrel for 1+ yr, then on fruit until S air lock is even then into bottles. This schedule has it on bret for almost 2 yrs.
 

brownni5

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1.010 for a FG leaves plenty of residual for brett to develop funk after a year. Depending on grist/mash temp, I'd think 1.005 would be doable. However, brett is a tricky thing, and doesn't behave the same in all situations. I'm afraid I don't have anything to add other than give it more time.

Was the brett pitched at the same time as the primary strain? In secondary? That can make a difference. So can the primary strain - I don't have any experience with that one either, so it could be that the two just don't make a good pair.
 
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tyrub42

tyrub42

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I do a Lambic solara barrel and try to get primary FG at 1.020- 1.026. I don't think there's enough for the bret to feed on. I use a 60% wheat 40% barley where 20% of the wheat is flaked. I do a mash at 160 for 60 min and don't use any finings. I have 17.5 gal in primary at this moment and used 10% oat malt. I ferment with my house yeast 2565 Kolsch. It will be ready to sample and transfer on Feb 7, so might need a Superbowl tasting party. I leave the beer in the barrel for 1+ yr, then on fruit until S air lock is even then into bottles. This schedule has it on bret for almost 2 yrs.
Pretty sure you don't need that much for brett to work it's magic honestly. I had the same thinking as you, so I used a low attenuator (t58) as the primary, but some of my favorites I've had used aggressive saison strains in primary, leaving just a couple of points for the brett, and they didn't have any problem getting incredible brett character (your solera program makes sense, though, since I'm assuming you're also using bacteria that may take a long time to get going and may make better use of those extra sugars). Apparently Brett feeds off of more than just residual sugars and can happily go to work transforming compounds. Maybe t58 just didn't supply the right precursors. Oh well 😭

That said, it's only been a year and I'll just keep em stored for another 6-12 months before making a definitive call. As it stands, though, I probably wouldn't use t58 again as a primary for a Brett beer.

Cheers 🍻
 
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tyrub42

tyrub42

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1.010 for a FG leaves plenty of residual for brett to develop funk after a year. Depending on grist/mash temp, I'd think 1.005 would be doable. However, brett is a tricky thing, and doesn't behave the same in all situations. I'm afraid I don't have anything to add other than give it more time.

Was the brett pitched at the same time as the primary strain? In secondary? That can make a difference. So can the primary strain - I don't have any experience with that one either, so it could be that the two just don't make a good pair.
Yeah I suppose at the end of the day, the two yeasts just didn't pair well. Seems like they would, but oh well. Also yeah the brett was pitched in secondary after the primary was done. In the future I might not bother to transfer it to another fermenter, though, and just let it stay on the dying sac cake the whole time. Seems so wrong but apparently Brett will happily munch on the autolyzed yeast compounds and develop more aggressively. Will research that more before doing another brett beer.

I typically do one wild beer a year, and this year I'm going with an American red sour with Roeselare plus lambic dregs, so it'll be awhile before the next brett-only beer.

Cheers 🍻
 

hottpeper13

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Have you used the 644 Trois yeast? I did one in a 5 gal barrel......what a mess. It was fruity and a little bretty and was on tap in 6 weeks. It was a long time ago,but I remember it being good and not lasting long. You'ed have something to drink while waiting for the true bret beer.
 
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