28A - Brett Beer (Belgian Pale Ale)

BJCP Styles: 28A - Brett Beer, 24B - Belgian Pale Ale (base beer)

When I did the Belgian Pale Ale earlier in this project I had wanted to do a full on Orval clone, or as close as possible, but decided to put off the conditioned on brett part for a later brew. And at the same time knock out the "American Wild" section (even though it's a Belgian style and there's a damn good commercial example but whatever). 

I did this as a double batch. One will go straight to the keezer as a standard Belgian pale ale, and the other will go in a keg with brett yeast for a couple of months. 

I'm keeping the grain bill about the same as last time: pilsner base with a bit of Special B. Though this time I'm adding a touch of chocolate malt for color. 

Yeast is different however, and hopefully not too expressive for the style: Lallemand's Abbaye Ale. I have used this for the entire trappist series and was very happy with the results. 

Then there's the Brettanomyces. For that I'm using White Labs WLP650 and in the description it says: A historic brewery in Belgium uses this yeast in secondary fermentation and bottling to produce the signature flavor of its beer. Wonder what that historic brewery is? I guess we'll never know

Full recipe is on BrewersFriend but here's the TL;DR:

  • Brew day: 2021-11-9
  • Malts: Rahr Premium Pilsner, Special B, Chocolate
  • Hops: [Magnum] (Styrian Goldings)
  • Yeasts: Lallemand Abbaye, WLP650 Brettanomyces bruxellensis
  • OG: 12.2°P, FG: 2.8°P; ABV: 5% (base beer, pre-brett)
  • 2021-11-13 (+4): transferred to keg secondary with brett (Batch 2)
  • 2021-11-20 (+11): base beer to keezer (Batch 1)
  • 2022-1-28 (+80): brett tapped
Chocolate, Pils, Special B 

Floor Manager Steve: stop messing around in here I need DINNER

Mash temp

Recirculating wort in a full mash tun

Brew session beer and Mash Timer Cigar™

Mash complete

Yada-yada, boil/hops/chill and into the fermenter...

OG looking good at 12.2°P

Old packaging, same yeast (old pic). I used the packet for a Belgian Blond ale last week and the yeast cake got split for this double batch. 

Away we go

After a week in primary one of the lucky batches will get to spend a couple of months in a keg with this stuff:

2021-11-13 (+4): Fermentation on these finished fast and final - actually started to get negative pressure in the airlock. FG came out to 1.011/2.8°P which puts the base beer at 5% ABV. Batch 2 was transferred to keg secondary with the brett. 

Just going to park this here for a while...

2021-11-27 (+18): Base beer tapped a week ago (11/20) and is tasting good. It's surprisingly clean for trappist yeast. Still a bit cloudy but shaping up. Brett version is... doing things. It has had airlock activity the whole time. Batch 2/base beer:

Batch 1/brett:

2021-12-15 (+36): Non-brett version cleared up. Tasting clean with slight Belgiany yeast notes. The brett version is consistently bubbling away; there has been constant activity in there according to the airlock. 

2022-1-27 (+79): Very little activity in the airlock so I reassembled the post and grabbed a sample. Big difference in FG: went from 2.8°P to 1.4°P taking the final ABV from 5 to 5.7%. Sample is tasting dry with a little brett character. It certainly has done things in there. With more time it could develop more character I believe but I'm liking where this is now and it's headed for the keezer and conditioning.   

2022-2-8 (+91): Clear and carbed full pour. I have yet to get a bottle of Orval for comparison but it'll happen! This is everything I hoped it could be. The base beer is a great match for the brett "funk." It's very dry with a slight fruity finish and a great drinker. I have no problem doing a full pour - it's delicious!

2022-3-12 (+123): Pretty close to the last pour before the keg kicked.