This is a guest post from Chris Washenberger, founder of The Denver Homebrew Club
Thanks for having me over. I really appreciate the hospitality.
Billy and I both received an aliquot, or as I prefer to say it, a splash of a dense Brettanomyces culture from Chad Yakobson, founder Crooked Stave brewery. He also wrote his dissertation on brettanomyces, so you could say he knows a lot about the subject.
Chad attended a recent meeting of the Denver Homebrew Club and was nice enough to hand out the Brett to folks who wanted it. I grabbed mine and tossed it in the fridge to await my plan for using it.
Billy got in touch to see what I was thinking of doing and we had similar recipe ideas and thought we might brew somewhat in concert to see what this culture will do in our systems. I had already collected a box of Colorado peaches for a sour beer so this is just good timing that the culture fell into my hands.
My basic idea is a simple blend of pale malt and wheat malt. This will be lightly hopped and then will be fermented with the Brett culture alone. I will toss the peaches into the secondary fermentation vessel and leave it for a few months and see what happens. I will very likely use some oak cubes or an oak spiral later in the process. I think that the gnarly dry sour that I expect will benefit from some oak.
I have made a sour before but took a completely different route. In the past I built a beer with Saccharomyces, your average brewer’s yeast and concurrently inoculated 10lbs of pureed pears with a blend of Brettanomyces, Pediococcus, and Lactobacillus species. When the beer was finished, I racked it onto the funky pear blend. It worked out fairly well and after 5 years of bottle aging, I am running out of the stuff and it is finally starting to tail off in flavor and some nasty edges are starting to show in the flavor.
This time, using a 100% Brettanomyces blend, I am not entirely sure what to expect. I guess Billy and I will keep you posted as things progress. Once my recipe is hammered out I will update you with a brew day post and go on from there. Again, thanks for having me and you will see me in a week or so.
5# Wheat Malt (Belgian if I can find it)
5# 2-Row Pale Malt (Traditionally, Pilsner malt would be a better choice but I have 2-row and I am cheap!)
0.5# Belgian Aromatic (This is definitely subject to change. Any of the various aromatics will work and I need to decide which characteristics will be best. Do your homework and read up on the various malts that are used for aroma and interesting flavor!)
0.5oz Saaz at 30min
0.5oz Saaz at 15min
Crooked Stave Brett blend. According to Chad, it’s a mix of:
- Brettanomyces custersianus
- Orval’s brett strain
- Jolly Pumpkin brett strain
- CMY-Drie mutant
I will probably attempt to bring this culture up to a healthy and vigorous population by growing it up in a boiled liquid malt culture before I need it.