Friday, July 26, 2013

The Great Brett Experiment w Eureka Brewing

Sam at Eureka Brewing has an amazing yeast collection and is sharing some of it with the WORLD! If you didn't already know Sam is a biologist from Switzerland that does some isolating of unique strains. Sam has access to a lot of great beers over in Europe and has used his talent to isolate yeast (Saccharomyces and Brettanomyces) and bacteria. Quickly go read the background and scope of this experiment at Eureka Brewing. I recently came across his list of isolated Brett Strains and thought it would be a lot of fun to experiment with them. Neither of us have any idea how these will taste or perform.
I created a simple recipe that I thought would be interesting enough for us to enjoy the taste of the beer, but not too complex to distract us from the yeast derived flavors. For the recipe, I added some wheat to help with mouthfeel (protein) and long term food source (long chain carbohydrates). Then a small percentage of acid malt was added to give the Brett strains some lactic acid to convert and to also lower the pH for the mash and Brett fermentation.

Sam will be sending the yeast in 1.5 mL vials (mostly to help with international shipping costs). These will need to be built up. I've read that you should build up about 10x each step. I'm planning to brew wit hall 20 strains at once. My goal is to have 20 - .5 gal trials going all at once - here is how I plan to do that.

First Starter Step -  15 ml (~.5 oz)
15 ml Sterile Centrifuge tubes (~$15 and great for saving dregs)

Second Starter Step - 150 ml (~5 oz). Here are my ideas:
250 ml flask w stopper/airlock or foil (laboratory way), but expensive
12 oz beer bottles w stopper or foil (pretty cheap, but the stoppers/airlocks would be pricey)
12 oz water bottles w 1/8" blow-off tubing sealed into cap or foil (cheap)

Main Batch - 1.5 l (~50 oz) - maybe a bit more to get 4 beers worth
64 oz growlers w stopper/airlocks (homebrewer friends have extras - especially with CA laws)
2 liter water bottles w 1/8" blow-off tubing sealed into cap

We wanted to make sure we standardized the evaluation of the strains. We thought it was best to taste at Month 1 (uncarbonated at bottling), Month 2, Month 6, 1 Year.  I have created a Brettanomyces Evaluation Scoresheet (based on the AHA Scoresheet). We will compile the tasting notes, scores and sour/funk ratings.

Brettanomyces Evaluation ScoreSheet (pdf)

This is a Rough Draft - see please add comments

I am aware that this experiment is not possible for everyone, but I think it is important that we evaluate the flavors as best as possible. For my experiment, I will offer 3 spots for the tasting panel at my house. (leave a comment if interested)

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