June 17, 2013

Lucky Pierre Double Brett Farmhouse Ale

When I design recipes I like to focus on what flavor and aroma profile I want in the end. I try to be very strict about adhering to my designed goal rather than throw stuff in last minute or make post-fermentation changes unless I feel the beer fails to meet expectations. I don't have a problem with people who are more spontaneous with their brewing but I spend a lot of time trying to design the end product and I feel like if I don't stick to the plan I won't figure out what is or isn't working. However, my strict design paradigm falls apart when working with unknown fermenters that tend to be very expressive.

This beer features two unknown fermenters and I have very little idea what to expect in the final beer. I am putting two brett strains together in this beer and they are two under-explored strains. The beer will be primary fermented with brett custersianus and then I am adding a strain identified as brett anomalous in secondary. The custersianus strain is the same as ECY's release, which is described as very fruity. The anomalous strain I believe is also getting released by ECY. I started propagating both strains before designing the rest of the recipe to try to get an idea about what the strains will offer. Custersianus is definitely big on fruit with a little funky character. The anomalous is very barnyard-y and maybe even a little fecal-y. The problem is I don't know how the two strains will manipulate their own flavors in the presence of each other. That is a huge unknown.

Since there's a huge unknown and I want to clearly taste the brett contributions I decided the rest of the recipe needs to get out of the way so a simple recipe would be best. The grain bill is farmhouse-like using some stuff laying around the house, including some spare two row and a couple adjuncts plus a hint of roasted barley for color. The hops stay in a moderate bitterness with a small flavor charge of a subtle hop. However, all that said I have a couple contingency plans in case the beer doesn't pan out with great brett flavor. If need be, I'll dry hop and or hit it with some liquor/wine-soaked oak to bring some extra flavors into the beer.

A quick note about the name. There's two bretts, plus you, which makes the beer a threesome. Ok, if you don't know what a lucky pierre is you should google it. At least as the beer drinker I can pretend I am the lucky pierre between two bretts. Ok, what can I say? I like to give my beers foul names. Ok, enough blabbering, here's the recipe.

Lucky Pierre Double Brett Farmhouse Ale

Batch Details:

Batch size: 1 gallon
Estimated efficiency: 72%
Est. OG: 1.046
Est. FG: 1.010
IBU: 29.5
SRM: 13.3
ABV: 4.7%
BU:GU: 0.643

Grist:

1lb. 8 oz. US 2 row 2 SRM
1oz. Quick oats 1 SRM
1oz Cornmeal 1 SRM
1oz Roasted barley 300 SRM

Water profile: Bru'n water amber bitter

Calcium: 58.6
Magnesium:13
Sodium: 10.9
Sulfate:110.5
Chloride: 51
Bicarbonate: 44.9

Water supply:

100% Distilled water
0.55 gallons mash
0.85 gallons sparge

Mash additions:

0.2g Gypsum
0.3g Epsom salt
0.1g Baking soda
0.2g Calcium chloride

Sparge additions:

0.3g Gypsum
0.4g Epsom salt

0.3g Calcium chloride

Mash schedule:

Mash in 2.21 quarts at 163.6F for 1.3 lb/qt ratio
Mash at 150F for 75 minutes
Sparge with 0.85 gallons at 170F

Boil additions: 60 minute boil

0.10 oz. Belma [12.10%] at 60
0.10 oz. EKG [5%] at 20

Fermentation schedule:

Pitch brett custerianus from 600ml starter and ferment at 66F for one week
Raise to ambient for three weeks
Pitch brett anomalous from 200ml starter and ferment for four months (or more) at ambient
Add dry hops/oak if necessary before bottling
Bottle with 1oz priming sugar to 3.0 volumes

Brewday Notes:

First runnings gravity: 1.066
Preboil gravity: 1.035
Starting gravity:1.042

Fermentation Notes:

6/17/13: Fermentation began around sixteen hours after pitching at 64F. Nice fluffy krausen plus some blowoff getting into the airlock.

7/22/13: Added small quantity of brett anomalous to trigger secondary fermentation

7/9/13: 1.0065 gravity. Beer feels thin but has interesting tropical fruit character, as described for this brett strain. Beginning starter of Brett Anomalous to pitch in secondary.

4/12/15: Bottled with 1.3oz. table sugar targeting 3 volumes of CO2. Forgot to take a gravity reading. Initial taste was less thin than expected for a almost two year old brett beer. Definitely some acidity present in the beer; possibly citric? Aroma is very strongly wet dog. Flavor is a mix of funk, cherry pie, pineapple, citrus fruit and subtle tropical fruit. Malt character not assertive. The citrus/pineapple/tropical fruit is a strange mix with the traditional funk/cherry pie brett character. Excited to see where this is after carbonation.

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