Brett brux beer has no funk. Is t58 to blame?

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tyrub42

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Hi everyone,

I made a Brett beer with t58 primary, Brett brux secondary (the Orval strain from white labs). 6 months secondary, bottled nine months ago, 15 months total and still none of the bretty funk that I expected. I know that primary yeast can heavily influence brett character because of the compounds produced that brett then converts. I assumed t58 was a good choice because it is phenolic and Belgian (plus low attenuating which at least isn't a bad thing), but now I'm wondering if it isn't suited to brett beers after all.

Brett took the beer from 1.010 to 1.002 so it was definitely in there chewing away at it, but the taste now is really more similar to a regular saison.

Wondering if anyone has info on this either in the form of scientific data, or user experience.

Thanks!
 

couchsending

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It depends. Certain strains produce more character under pressure. Often times it’s best to check gravity after a month or two and if it’s stable, bottle condition. Each Brett strain works differently (and there are tons of different Brux variants). You might get more funk after you start to bottle condition it.

Unless you’re conditioning in oak or some other O2 permeable vessel there’s really no reason to keep something in a conditioning vessel much longer than a stable gravity reading.

Also if you really want some killer Brett, The Yeast Bay is hands down the best source. Some of the best Brett isolates from the best mixed ferm breweries in the world.
 
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tyrub42

tyrub42

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It depends. Certain strains produce more character under pressure. Often times it’s best to check gravity after a month or two and if it’s stable, bottle condition. Each Brett strain works differently (and there are tons of different Brux variants). You might get more funk after you start to bottle condition it.

Unless you’re conditioning in oak or some other O2 permeable vessel there’s really no reason to keep something in a conditioning vessel much longer than a stable gravity reading.

Also if you really want some killer Brett, The Yeast Bay is hands down the best source. Some of the best Brett isolates from the best mixed ferm breweries in the world.

Been bottle conditioning for 9 months and it's the Orval strain. Not sure I'd even want to bottle a Brett beer after a month of secondary, but I guess there might be some strains that really are that aggressive. This one took 5 months to stabilize at 1.002 and another month to confirm... unfortunately no funk, though
 

couchsending

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Been bottle conditioning for 9 months and it's the Orval strain. Not sure I'd even want to bottle a Brett beer after a month of secondary, but I guess there might be some strains that really are that aggressive. This one took 5 months to stabilize at 1.002 and another month to confirm... unfortunately no funk, though

huh... again White Labs.. wonder if you’d used dregs what the result would have been.

My favorite Brett Brux strain finishes in about a month.
 
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tyrub42

tyrub42

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huh... again White Labs.. wonder if you’d used dregs what the result would have been.

My favorite Brett Brux strain finishes in about a month.

A month secondary? I've only heard of bretts finishing that fast in primary. What strain is that? Definitely one to keep around

Not sure if dregs would have been different, but this exact culture is one a friend has used a lot and has always produced wonderful funky beers within 6-12 months. At this point it's either a primary yeast problem or else some strange phenomenon with the brett that hasn't happened with any other beers before or after. Super frustrating to be honest. At least the beer is a good farmhouse ale I guess 🤷
 
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tyrub42

tyrub42

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The great thing about buying the Orval strain is that it comes with the Orval beer and only costs about $5.99.

Over here it's 3 bucks (although it's getting harder to find bottles over a year old since craft beer is catching on more than ever). That said, if you're in the US, you can get a full cell count of the same strain from wlp for about the same amount you'd spend on the bottle. On my end, I have good friends so my buddy propped up a starter for me from his stash. Unfortunately it didn't perform the way it usually does. Was hoping this thread would provide some concrete reasons but I guess the important thing would just be not building a Brett beer off of t58 in the future, which is easy enough
 

milleniarist

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Here's a great lecture by Michael Tonsmeire that may give you a clue of what could have influenced your result in the wort production side. I've watched it and still cannot figure out why you are not getting any funk after all those months but I don't have all the information about how that beer was produced. It's a very interesting lecture anyway.
I'd also check with your friend about how did he perform the Brett propagation. Brett starters usually take longer than saccharomyces to be ready and/or there may have been a yeast contamination on his side.
 
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tyrub42

tyrub42

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Here's a great lecture by Michael Tonsmeire that may give you a clue of what could have influenced your result in the wort production side. I've watched it and still cannot figure out why you are not getting any funk after all those months but I don't have all the information about how that beer was produced. It's a very interesting lecture anyway.
I'd also check with your friend about how did he perform the Brett propagation. Brett starters usually take longer than saccharomyces to be ready and/or there may have been a yeast contamination on his side.

There is a thread on here that listed specific compounds that brett needs to convert to funky compounds. Very interesting, although it suggested a phenolic yeast for primary, so I didn't see t58 being a problem. Anyway, I guess it's easy enough to just not use t58 again for a.hrett secondary. I'll see if I can find the thread I'm talking about.

As for the brett starter, the guy who made it is allllll about brett beers and wild beers and has probably done 50 by now. Good practices, good sanitation, etc, but like you said, there could have been some issue there as well I suppose. I doubt it's a contamination issue as the secondary added very little brett character instead of a lot, and behaved otherwise like a Brett secondary (took 8 points off slowly over 5 months then stabilized, no extra acidity, etc). He's used the same overbuild several times since then with success, but there's always a chance something went wrong there I guess.
 
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tyrub42

tyrub42

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Here's tht thread. I'll listen to that lecture after work today. Cheers 🍻
 

milleniarist

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I doubt it's a contamination issue as the secondary added very little brett character instead of a lot, and behaved otherwise like a Brett secondary (took 8 points off slowly over 5 months then stabilized, no extra acidity, etc).

I was thinking more about a contamination with a saison diastaticus strain. Those can behave like Brett in secondary producing a slow attenuation over several weeks and no significant off flavor. If your friend is all into sours probably that's not coming from the starter, but it could also be from your equipment.

Although even if that was the case, the pitching of a brettanomyces starter at 1,010 should have had an organoleptic impact.


Here's tht thread. I'll listen to that lecture after work today. Cheers 🍻

Very nice thread, thanks! Chad mentions that different brettanomyces strains have different ability to produce funk polyphenolics. Maybe the one that you used is less capable than the one you get from Orval dregs (there's more than one Bruxellensis strain). Also 1,010 may have been too much food for Brettanomyces and it triggered their "fermentation mode" instead of their "phenolic derivatives mode". I've used Orval dregs in a beer at 1,001 and it still became funky and fruity after some months.

Well, that's the fun of this kind of beers. Trying to figure out how they behave. I'm sure your T58 saison is still tasty. Cheers! 🍻
 
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tyrub42

tyrub42

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I was thinking more about a contamination with a saison diastaticus strain. Those can behave like Brett in secondary producing a slow attenuation over several weeks and no significant off flavor. If your friend is all into sours probably that's not coming from the starter, but it could also be from your equipment.

Although even if that was the case, the pitching of a brettanomyces starter at 1,010 should have had an organoleptic impact.



Very nice thread, thanks! Chad mentions that different brettanomyces strains have different ability to produce funk polyphenolics. Maybe the one that you used is less capable than the one you get from Orval dregs (there's more than one Bruxellensis strain). Also 1,010 may have been too much food for Brettanomyces and it triggered their "fermentation mode" instead of their "phenolic derivatives mode". I've used Orval dregs in a beer at 1,001 and it still became funky and fruity after some months.

Well, that's the fun of this kind of beers. Trying to figure out how they behave. I'm sure your T58 saison is still tasty. Cheers! 🍻

Thanks! It's a fun and sometimes frustrating process haha. This is the wlp strain that they cultured from Orval (although I think they can only heavily imply that, legally), and the funk profile in my friend's beers made with it definitely matches, which reeeeeeeally adds to my astonishment of a pack of funk in this beer.

On the plus side, the overall profile of the beer is still different from the base, which is good because I don't love t58 as a saison strain by itself. So at least it doesn't taste like a half-assed saison-wit hybrid or anything. I have a sour going now that is possibly edging into too-sour territory, so I may also be able to use the brett beer for blending later. We'll see. I guess for now I'll just call it a swing and a miss and move on. Thanks again for the input 🍻🍻🍻
 

goodolarchie

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My experience is that it's not a profoundly horsey/4EP type funk producing strain to begin with. Same with the supposed 5112 derivative. I haven't used the WLP version in ages, but I remember comparing the two and finding pretty similar results. My experience is that it's a reliable bottling strain that kicks up pretty fast, and it definitely creates that classic dry, slightly sweaty but leathery and earthy funk I associate with Orval. Compare that to some Jolly Pumpkin dregs. But if you want aggressive funk you'll probably have to look beyond just subbing T-58, using some of Tonsmiere's techniques, and choosing another brett brux/lambicus strain. I find there's no better progenitor of funk than heaps of (aged) hops, wheat, and a longer boil, a phenolic sacch strain to produce some of the precursors, and plenty of time.
 
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tyrub42

tyrub42

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My experience is that it's not a profoundly horsey/4EP type funk producing strain to begin with. Same with the supposed 5112 derivative. I haven't used the WLP version in ages, but I remember comparing the two and finding pretty similar results. My experience is that it's a reliable bottling strain that kicks up pretty fast, and it definitely creates that classic dry, slightly sweaty but leathery and earthy funk I associate with Orval. Compare that to some Jolly Pumpkin dregs. But if you want aggressive funk you'll probably have to look beyond just subbing T-58, using some of Tonsmiere's techniques, and choosing another brett brux/lambicus strain. I find there's no better progenitor of funk than heaps of (aged) hops, wheat, and a longer boil, a phenolic sacch strain to produce some of the precursors, and plenty of time.


Very interesting, thanks! I actually did a very short boil on this batch (30 min I think), so maybe that had something to do with it!

Which brux strain do you find the funkiest overall?
 

goodolarchie

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Very interesting, thanks! I actually did a very short boil on this batch (30 min I think), so maybe that had something to do with it!

Which brux strain do you find the funkiest overall?

Commercial strains I've found really produce some good barnyard/horseblanket funk are TYB Brussels blend, and BLB's Funk Weapon #1 paired with a strong POF+ saison strain. A lot of these strains start fruity, they take time to really funk up. But honestly the most funk I've gotten was from using various dregs, you have to experiment a bit.

The caveat to dregs I wish I learned earlier is that the surviving culture in the bottom of the bottle is NOT the same as what produced the beer in the glass. A lot of people assume dregs are a shortcut to achieving that specific flavor/aroma, and that's so far from the truth. That's in part because you have different input variables. But also they may have bottled with wine yeast or another brett strain, or the bottle may be 6 year old gueuze where only the strongest pedio and brett have survived. It's like a film cliche where the crazy general who wants to fire nukes and has to be stopped after the president commits to diplomacy/science - that's the dregs living in some of these old bottles. A lot of people have luck with Jolly Pumpkin dregs which are fairly cheap and widely available. You should even try some spontaneous fermentation to see if you get some funk from your local microflora.

Also garbage in, garbage out, there are different barley varieties that result in varied levels of p-coumaric acid needed to metabolize into barnyard phenols, and a higher percentage of wheat (lambic is about 60/40) helps. You can also completely blow past the desirable levels of 4EP, to the point you smell straight up band-aid and hospital antiseptic. I've had one barreled beer go that way, but was able to blend back.
 
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