Sunday, October 13, 2013

Brew Day: Brett IPA

For the past few years now, an increasing number of brewers have begun experimenting with all Brett fermentations (Brett IPA being the classic example) and given how nice these beers taste, I figured it was about time I brew one of my own. For those of you who may not be familiar with Brett fermented beers, the process is as simple as the name suggests. Basically, instead of using a regular Saccharomyces yeast, the entire fermentation is carried out with a Brett culture, namely Brettanomyces bruxellensis, claussenii, or anomalus, among others. The resulting beer tends to exhibit a fruity and mildly funky character, sometimes with a slight tartness. My first introduction to this beer style was with Russian River's Sanctification and Ithaca's wonderful collaboration brew, Super Friends; a hoppy and funky IPA. Since then, Brett fermented beers have become common among US home brewers, especially now that WhiteLabs has made the Brett Trois strain available year-round. 

For my first Brett IPA, I am going with a standard IPA recipe, using a 50/50 mix of pale and pils malt, with smaller amounts of rye, cara-pils, and honey malt. From what I have read on the subject, Brett fermentations can leave the beer with a thin mouthfeel, so it is common for many recipes to contain wheat, oats, rye, caramel malts, and other 'body' boosting ingredients. I figure the specialty malts in my recipe should help with the mouthfeel and keep the beer from tasting watery. As for the hops, I am really changing things up, using two varieties that I have never used before; Santiam and El Dorado. Both of these hops are supposed to have mellow citrus flavors, with the former imparting a citrusy-spicy character and the latter producing flavors that can be described as stone fruit and candied watermelon. Regardless, I figure they should make for an interesting pairing for the Brett yeast. Depending on how the beer tastes out of the primary, I may dry hop it with El Dorado or use another stronger variety.

Oatmeal Stout
Brett IPA: American IPA

Recipe Specifics: 
Batch Size (Gal): 5.0
Total Grain (Lbs): 11.75
Anticipated OG: 1.060
Anticipated FG: 1.010
Anticipated SRM: 5
Anticipated IBU: 48
Efficiency: 70%
Boil Time: 90 Minutes

85.1% - 10.00 lbs. Pale and Pils Malt
8.5%   - 1.00 lbs. Rye Malt
4.3%   - 0.50 lbs. CaraPils
2.1%   - 0.25 lbs. Honey Malt

0.50 oz. Santiam @ 60 min for 10 IBU
1.00 oz. Santiam  @ 15 min for 10 IBU
1.00 oz. El Dorado @ 15 min for 15 IBU
1.00 oz. Santiam  @ 7 min for 5 IBU
1.00 oz. El Dorado  @ 7 min for 8 IBU
1.00 oz. Santiam @ flameout
2.50 oz. El Dorado @ flameout
3.00 oz (???) @ dryhop

Yeast: WhiteLabs 644 Brett Trois
Mash 154F for 60 min
Brewed on 1 October

Pitched a decanted, large yeast starter, with primary fermentation at 68F.
10/13 - Gravity is down to 1.012.


  1. Looking forward to your tasting notes on this one as I have some El Dorado in the freezer waiting. The Brett will give an interesting twist as well I'm sure. Thanks for sharing!

  2. How'd this one turn out? I've got my first Brett IPA coming up and was wondering if you have any reflections on this one?

    1. A few months late, but I'll put up some tasting notes here shortly. I actually still have 1/2 the keg left. It's tasting really nice, enjoying the beer more as the brett character starts to impart its own flavors and the intense hoppiness fades. Still a few things I'd do differently next time.

    2. Cool! Looking forward to it.


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