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Secondary Fermentation Length Before Bottling for Mixed Fermentation w/ Brett

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domdom

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hello,

brett first timer question.

i'm planning to brew a saison with saison yeast and then add brettanomyces after primary fermentation is completed. i am planning to bottle the batch so that i don't have to worry about cross contamination and having to buy a keg and tap just for this batch. had a couple questions.

after the primary saison fermentation is completed and i pitch the brett, how long do i need to leave in the fermentator before it would be save to bottle it? i've read that brett takes months/years to develop it's flavors in a beer but wasn't sure i this meant it takes that long to ferment completely or that long for brett flavors develop with an already completely fermented beer.

would i prime with the same amount of sugar after brett fermentation is completed?

want to make sure i can avoid any bottle bombs either from over-carbonation or brett fermentation not being completed.
 

jrgtr42

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Brett fermentation can vary, depending on how sour you want it to be.
Generally, the sugar won't change, but if it's long enough, you probably want to add a bit of champagne yeast to carb with.
Personally, I have a Belgian Dark sour (based off Russian River's Consecration) that is a year brew to bottle. So I brew, let primary go my usual 2 - 3 weeks, then it spends about a year souring.
I taste it a couple times here and there to see how it's coming along.

|Edit: I should mention that this is a mixed ferment - with lacto and other bugs along with the Brett.
Brett alone might be shorter.
 
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domdom

domdom

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So I brew, let primary go my usual 2 - 3 weeks, then it spends about a year souring.
when you say it spends a year souring, do you mean souring in fermenter or in the bottle? ideally i'd like to not tie up a ferementer for a year if i can help it, which is why i was trying get an idea of how long brett fermentation takes before it can safely be bottled.
 

jrgtr42

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when you say it spends a year souring, do you mean souring in fermenter or in the bottle? ideally i'd like to not tie up a ferementer for a year if i can help it, which is why i was trying get an idea of how long brett fermentation takes before it can safely be bottled.
I leave it in the fermenter for a year - technically it's a secondary; I primarily ferment in buckets, then transfer into a carboy for the long haul.
As far as how long - it's till it's done. Yeast don't run on a calendar - their performance varies depending on pitching, temp, the conditions that it's pitched into.
Brett can come down almost to zero, so you c an also take measurements, though you don't want to do that too often, or you'll end up with no beer left. (I use a refractomenter and plug it into a converter to get the actual numbers.)
 

Gnomebrewer

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Brett fermentation can vary, depending on how sour you want it to be.
Generally, the sugar won't change, but if it's long enough, you probably want to add a bit of champagne yeast to carb with.
Personally, I have a Belgian Dark sour (based off Russian River's Consecration) that is a year brew to bottle. So I brew, let primary go my usual 2 - 3 weeks, then it spends about a year souring.
I taste it a couple times here and there to see how it's coming along.

|Edit: I should mention that this is a mixed ferment - with lacto and other bugs along with the Brett.
Brett alone might be shorter.
Brett doesn't sour beer - it adds funk. It can make acetic acid if there's exposure to oxygen, and tends to finish 'tart' (pH in the high 3's) but isn't regarded as a souring microbe. Is the timeline you're talking about actually for a mixed ferment including pediococcus for souring? That takes much longer than brett + sacch alone.

after the primary saison fermentation is completed and i pitch the brett, how long do i need to leave in the fermentator before it would be save to bottle it? i've read that brett takes months/years to develop it's flavors in a beer but wasn't sure i this meant it takes that long to ferment completely or that long for brett flavors develop with an already completely fermented beer.

would i prime with the same amount of sugar after brett fermentation is completed?

want to make sure i can avoid any bottle bombs either from over-carbonation or brett fermentation not being completed.
I've only added Brett at the same time as my primary yeast, so YMMV. I find they typically reach terminal gravity after about 6 to 8 weeks. Flavour development continues after that because Brett can transform esters even after sugars are finished. If you want to speed things up, you can add glucoamylase to the fermenter which means you can bottle in normal brewing timeframes. Check out this wiki Modern Brewhouse wiki from HBT member @RPh_Guy which describes the glucoamylase method in more detail.

Just bottle as normal as long as the beer's at terminal gravity.
 

mashpaddled

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Generally you are going to be safe to bottle when you get into the low single digits of FG (1.004 or less) but that doesn't mean you couldn't end up with an FG of 1.001 and have problems with aggressively carbonated bottles.

People differ wildly on when they bottle brett beers. Personally unless you bottle into thick bottles I would not plan to bottle until it is four or more months old especially for your first time dealing with brett. I tend to let those beers sit for nine or more months before thinking about bottling because that is my preference for flavor and my brett saison culture is extremely slow at sub-80F temperatures.
 

goodolarchie

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If that brett is going to take the beer from 1.004 to 1.001 it's pretty far from done making good beer at the former gravity. Let it hit a stable FG for a couple weeks or a month, then prime and bottle.

If it's a sluggish strain you might pick a different strain for bottling, or pitch some active sacch with it. Sitting for days with oxygen in that headspace is what gives homebrew that muted flavor. I keep cheap packets of yeast around for this.
 

sweetcell

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i am planning to bottle the batch so that i don't have to worry about cross contamination and having to buy a keg and tap just for this batch.
brett is a yeast and can be managed just like any other yeast. if your sanitation practices are good, you shouldn't have a problem with brett. that being said, brett is one of those low likelihood but high impact situations: if you somehow miss any brett, if it finds a corner to hide in, it can ruin future batches and create bottle-bombs. for that reason it's safest (but not absolutely required) to relegate your brett beers to dedicated sour/brett equipment. i don't have a dedicated tap for sours and brett, but i do clean and sanitize them carefully between uses.

after the primary saison fermentation is completed and i pitch the brett, how long do i need to leave in the fermentator before it would be save to bottle it? i've read that brett takes months/years to develop it's flavors in a beer but wasn't sure i this meant it takes that long to ferment completely or that long for brett flavors develop with an already completely fermented beer.

want to make sure i can avoid any bottle bombs either from over-carbonation or brett fermentation not being completed.
the key is in your last phrase: make sure your brett beer is fully attenuated. two ways to do this:
1) take gravity readings, and when you get two stable reading a month apart (brett is slow), then you're done. however opening up your fermentor that often isn't recommended, you'll be losing beer and introducing O2 each time.
2) give it enough time to full attenuate. 3 months is the minimum i'd feel safe after.

would i prime with the same amount of sugar after brett fermentation is completed?
no, you need to add more priming sugar than a normal clean beer. a standard clean beer has a certain amount of dissolved CO2 in it - leftover from the primary fermentation. if your brett beer ages for a few months, most of that carbonation will leave the beer. typically one loses about 0.4-0.5 volumes of CO2 during aging, so you need to add a little extra sugar to make up for the beer being completely flat. i use this XLS to calculate my priming sugar quantities: http://jeffreycrane.blogspot.com/2015/06/blending-calculator-ph-abv-and.html. to use it, download it to your computer (can't use used online), set the "number of components to blend" to 1 and "Target Volumes of CO2" to whatever you desired level of carbonation is (if using standard beer bottles i'd suggest something on the slightly lower side, like 2.4, to allow a little wiggle room), enter your beer details in the first column ("driest"), ignore the "pH" or "ml of NaOH..." values (or enter something generic like 4.0 and 10) and be sure to answer "yes" to the "Barrel aged? Y/N" question. amount of sugar required will be in row 31.
 
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couchsending

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It depends on the strain of Brett. Some work quickly and some don’t.

Did a Brett “test” last year where I split 5 gallons of beer fermented with 3522 into 5 separate 1 gallon glass jugs and pitched 5 different isolates from The Yeast Bay (one was a blend). Beer was at 1.010 going in. Only the Beersel Blend took it to 1.000 after a year. All the other isolated stopped at 1.004/1.005. pH ranged from 3.74-3.95 and all were what I would call “tart”. No acetic acid at all.

I don’t know this for a fact but I’d be willing to wager that if the main Sacch strain was diastaticus that with a Brett addition the final beer would get to 1.000 or under. If non diastaticus Sacch is used as the primary strain Brett generally won’t ferment everything.

TYB184 might be the quickest that I’ve used and maybe my favorite isolate. It creates flavor and aroma and drops gravity very quickly. I give it 2 months when pitched in secondary but I doubt it even needs more than s

Big fan of the Brett isolates that The Yeast Bay offers!

Not necessary but if you want higher carb values and don’t want to worry I’d recommend using heavier glass.
 

Taket_al_Tauro

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I don’t know this for a fact but I’d be willing to wager that if the main Sacch strain was diastaticus that with a Brett addition the final beer would get to 1.000 or under. If non diastaticus Sacch is used as the primary strain Brett generally won’t ferment everything.
This is very interesting and reflects my one and only experience with brett so far. I also fermented with 3522 as primary strain and then added brett b (Orval dregs). The beer was at 1.007 after ca. 4 months, higher than I would expect based on all I had read. Then bottled it and tried not to exagerate with the priming sugar...and now at almost 6 months post bottling, the beer hasn't developed excessive carbonation at all, tellling me that most probably FG did not decrease further.
 
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