Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Hoppy Amber Ale with Brettanomyces Custersianus

Hoppy Amber Ale with Brettanomyces Custersianus

You know how some brew days keep getting pushed back and pushed back and pushed back?  Well, this was one of those brew days.  Big things, little things, you name it, it came up.  The bright side of all of this is that the recipe changed and evolved so much during the time from the initial planned brew day in late July to this past weekend that it is very different than when I started.  I also think that I am going to be more pleased with the outcome of this one that I would have been with the other recipe.  I have brewed about 15 gallons of beer during the time that I should have been brewing this one and have dialed in a couple things since then that will help this one come along nicely.  Also, the temperature in the house is now more conducive to the yeast I am planning on using.

The yeast for this beer is East Coast Yeast’s ECY19, brettanomyces custersianus.  Al describes it as “A newcomer to brewing with wild yeast, this species of Brett displays a strong ester profile of mango, pine-apple, and peach esters with limited to no barnyard funk. Acidity is likely to increase over time. Suggested fermentation 60-74F. Other characterisitics TBD.”  The description seemed like it would have lots of great play with the hop aromas I generally like to have in my IPAs, Pales, and Hoppy Ambers.  This was also likely going to be the last pale or amber I brew this season and I want to be able to enjoy those fruity aromas well into the first part of winter.

I learned a couple of key things from my last 100% Brettanomyces fermentation that I will carry over to this one.  One is that I want to give it more time in the primary before I transfer to the keg to let the Brettanomyces attributes come out a bit more than I allowed the previous brew to do.  Also, I may let it sit in the keg for a spell longer  before tapping as the cold conditioning really brought out a lot in the Brettanomyces on the previous beer.  Secondly, I am going to bottle more of them.  I sent off the previous beer to a few different competitions and ended up with about 3 extra bottles and am excited to see how they age.  Normally, one doesn’t usually age hoppy beers as the hop aroma diminishes over time but the Brettanomyces should keep the fruity aromas right where they should be, in the bottle.  Note: just read a “Ask Mr. Beer Wizard”  Q&A about where the hop aroma goes in bottled hoppy beers after a while…short answer is; inside the lining of the cap.  Who knew?  Not me.

Recipe, Notes, & Details

·         11.25 lbs Valley Malt 2 Row
·         .75 lbs Crystal 60
·         .5 lbs Special B
·         .25 lbs CaraRed

·         153 F for 60 minutes
·         168 F for 15 minutes

·         60 minutes over 7o minute time frame.  Tank ran out and had to switch tanks.

·         1 oz Columbus @ 60
·         .5 oz Chinook @ 10
·         2 oz whole leaf Cascade @ 0
·         1 oz Chinook during chill at 150 F
·         1 oz Citra Dry Hop
·         1oz Simcoe Dry Hop

Yeasts & Adjuncts:
·         1.5 liter starter of East Coast Yeast ECY19; Brettanomyces custersianus.  Not decanted.

·         Collected 6.75 gallons
·         Fermentation volume: 5.75 gallons approximately
·         Pitching gravity @ 1.050

·         30 seconds pure oxygen

9/29/12- beautiful preboil color.  Spot on for what I was going for here.  Will likely darken during boil but should still be where I want it post fermentation.

9/30/20120- No signs of fermentation at 24 hours.  Continuing to agitate.  Temp is steady at 64 F

10/1/2012-  Very active fermentation with temps at 62 F.  Temp raised to 65 by next day.  Will keep there and slightly raise over the next day or two to 70F.

10/10/2012- Gravity is 1.018.  Fermentation is still going. Less strong now, but still chugging along.  The look is wonderful, very deep red almost burgundy color.  Will be more brilliant once the yeast flocculates out more post fermentation and cold conditioning in keezer.  The taste is already great, un refined as it is still working, but wonderful none the less.  Lots of big fruit flavor.  Juicy fruit mixed with deep ripe stone fruit.  Plum.


  1. Ry, I found you on Twitter and glad I followed the link to your blog. It is almost scary how close our brewing preferences are. I now have a lot of reading to do.

    I added you to my reading list, so I can make sure to follow your progress -

  2. That is awesome Jeffrey! I love to hear from a fellow brewer who has similar interests...there are a lot of us out there. Thanks for following up. I update recipes and add new ones everytime I brew...I just did a pale ale I need to add tomorrow. I am going to check out your blog!
    Thanks Jeff!

  3. Any tips for brewing a Brett IPA with this strain? We are planning to do a 60 gal batch in a Chardonnay Barrel.

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  5. Dang! That is a huge batch. I would suggest just building up the strain as normal with a lager/hybrid size. Are you getting the pitch from Al?
    I can tell you all about what the yeast imparted to my beer and send you a bottle if you want. Totally over took the hops in this batch from the moment it started to ferment. I love it...I would have rather used it in a different beer though.