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Priming with Orval dregs question...

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RayInUT

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I just put ten gallons of a Belgian strong golden ale in secondary in two different carboys. I am leaving them there for three weeks at 32*F and then plan on kegging one and bottling the other. I would like to bottle condition with the dregs from two bottles of Orval as discussed in the last recipe in the book "Brew Like a Monk". My OG was 1.073 and I finished at 1.008 after five days with a top temperature of 83* while fermenting. Should I add priming sugar when I bottle or will the brett carbonate the bottles enough from the dextrins left in the beer? How much sugar should I add? This is my first brett beer.

Thanks,

Ray
 

Oldsock

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It is impossible to tell. At the alcohol and FG the Brett might not do much, or it might have ferment enough to explode some bottles (a drop of just .003 is equivalent to a normal dose of priming sugar). I’d suggest adding the dregs to the fermenter and leaving it for a couple months to give a chance for the Brett to do its thing, then prime/bottle as usual.
 
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RayInUT

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What is the lowest temp I can secondary the brett in? My beer is in secondary at 34*F right now. Would I have to warm it up? Should I add a little dextrose to get the party started?
 

Oldsock

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The warmer the beer is the faster Brett will work. I would probably warm it up to around 60 (IIRC Orval used to use a temp in the upper 50s, although I was recently told that they now add it at bottling), some strains will work considerably lower than that (lower 40s?), but it could take months to get significant activity.

You could certainly add some sugar, but at this point the Sacch would probably end up eating most of it. I’ve had better luck feeding sour beers after the wild yeast/bacteria have a chance to establish themselves.
 
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RayInUT

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I ended up kegging the beer from the carboy yesterday after having it in secondary for several weeks. After kegging the beer, I carefully sanitized the Orval bottle and the opener. I opened the bottle, wiped the lip with rubbing alcohol and flamed it lightly with a propane torch. Instead of just adding the dregs I dumped the whole bottle in. I know, that is blasphemous but I wanted to make sure that I got all those wild yeasts into the keg. I closed the keg and hit it with 30 PSI to force any oxygen to the top. I let it sit for a little while and release most of the pressure and hopefully any oxygen that inadvertently got in. I had already topped the keg off with CO2 before adding the Orval so I'm sure I'm okay. I have the keg sitting in my office now and will give it a sample in 30 days. I've heard that Orval's brett works rather fast.
 

nealf

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niquejim will be able to weigh in on this, his Drunk Owl Mango beer is made with Orval dregs. I think he recommends a 6 month period on the bugs before enjoying, sorry to tell you that!
 

jkarp

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niquejim will be able to weigh in on this, his Drunk Owl Mango beer is made with Orval dregs. I think he recommends a 6 month period on the bugs before enjoying, sorry to tell you that!
Very true. I've got an Enkel I did with an Orval harvest early last fall festering away in a secondary. It's only now developing decent Brett character.
 
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RayInUT

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I ended up kegging the beer from the carboy yesterday after having it in secondary for several weeks. After kegging the beer, I carefully sanitized the Orval bottle and the opener. I opened the bottle, wiped the lip with rubbing alcohol and flamed it lightly with a propane torch. Instead of just adding the dregs I dumped the whole bottle in. I know, that is blasphemous but I wanted to make sure that I got all those wild yeasts into the keg. I closed the keg and hit it with 30 PSI to force any oxygen to the top. I let it sit for a little while and release most of the pressure and hopefully any oxygen that inadvertently got in. I had already topped the keg off with CO2 before adding the Orval so I'm sure I'm okay. I have the keg sitting in my office now and will give it a sample in 30 days. I've heard that Orval's brett works rather fast.
I just meant I would pull a sample from it. I'm letting this one age for a while. I'm going to dry hop it with Hallertauer a few weeks before I start serving it.
 
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RayInUT

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You guys are going to think I'm crazy but I just pulled a sample from the keg and it has decent brett qualities. It's not real strong but you can definately tast and smell it. I know the brett has been fermenting the beer as I have been letting pressure out of the keg a few times a day for the last week or so. The beer is slightly carbonated, has a slight horsey smell, and that incredible leathery taste. This MAY be the best beer I have brewed. I'm going to pull another small sample just to be sure.
 
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RayInUT

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Yes, I had my second sample. The brett has definately taken off and it is good! I had to make sure I wasn't imagining things. It's only been two and a half weeks but the keg has been sitting by the window in the sun all day and probably has been fairly warm most of the time. I don't know how long this one can go as it started off with a low final gravity. There weren't many sugars left in it to begin with. As someone suggested, I might feed the brett some dextrose now that it has started. Then again, I might chill it, force carb it and drink it. I can always make more!!! I'm not going to dry hop it though. I don't care if Orval does. I don't want anything to cover up that incredible taste and aroma. I should be so lucky if my other beers get infected! I love that taste and smell. I don't know if my beer drinking buddies will like it. Actually, I hope they don't. I hope everyone but me hates it. This is a keeper. I was going to brew an APA this weekend but I think I just changed my mind.
 

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