My friend Heather is a fan of funky and sour beers, and the owner of a cute, little, white cat named Theo. Theo lived at the bike shop Heather worked at while Theo’s dad was in the klink, and when it was clear that would be a frequent behavior for him, Heather took her home, where she’s been pretty happy since.
I haven’t decided if I’m going with “Theo’s Bike Shop Brett Saison” for alliteration, or “Theo’s Feral Farmhouse” which I like more, but isn’t totally accurate since she wasn’t really feral — but is a bit amusing since Brett is often considered a “wild” yeast.
I have mixed feelings on Brett beers myself, but when I do like them it’s almost always in a mixed ferment with Saison. Saisons are one of my favorite styles, and one that does well in my particular brewery, given our generally high ambient temperature. I’d been wanting to try some fruity Australian hops, and this seemed like a good opportunity.
Root Shoot Malting is a maltster based out of Loveland, Colorado, where my parents just moved to from suburban Denver to spend their retirement. I’d heard good things about their malts and was eager to try. I got an opportunity to munch on several varieties they had out and was intrigued by the fresh, straw-like, Vienna-esque character of a malt they called “Meredith”. I also like a bit of rye in my saisons, and either oats or wheat for some body and haze. Local microbrewery Cerebral is one of my favorites (and has been getting a lot of notoriety this last year nationally) in the area, and their house strain is a saison. They tend to put out a lot of hoppy, cloudy saisons with oats to smooth the mouthfeel, so I take a cue from them and chuck a handful of oats in this brew. The oats and rye will also give the Brett something to chew on as it ages.
Getting the Brettanomyces in there gives me an opportunity to try some yeast harvesting. Since I brew so small, I never buy liquid yeast. Maybe someday when I have several friends also brewing we can agree on a vial and pass it around within a few days so we can split it into thirds and try more varieties, but so far I’ve just been using dry yeast, since it keeps better. Liquid yeast has to be used within two days. There are no dry Brett products. I’ve been interested in stepping up yeasts from commercial bottles for a while, so using this technique for Brett makes plenty of sense. I let this beer ferment with a saison sacc strain for five days before introducing the Brett. The Brett propagation is covered in this post.
- 2lbs USA 2 row pale
- 4oz Root Shoot Meredith
- 3oz flaked rye
- 3oz flaked oats
- .08 Columbus at 60
- .1 Galaxy and .04 Columbus at 20
- .2 Galaxy and .1 Nelson Sauvin at flameout
- 1/3pkg Belle Saison
I mashed in at 160, held at 152, mashed out to 164, and sparged with 170 degree water. Boiled for 60 minutes and added hops to the hop spider according to schedule. I then crashed it down to 70 and took an OG of 1.058, then aerated by shaking and pitched the Belle Saison. This beer went into the closet with no evap skirt for five days before being introduced to the Brett.
I’m hoping it’ll achieve FG around 1.002 in two months.