Thursday, July 10, 2014

Seeking Your 100% Brett Strain Experiences for a New Bear Flavored Guide

Hello! You may remember me from such previous Bear Flavored Guides as "Bear Flavored's Complete Guide to Hop Varieties," and "How Many Hop Varieties Are in the Best IPAs? - A Statistical Analysis." Usually, I accomplish these extensive and exhaustively-researched guides through dedication to my inherently anti-social nature and days of avoiding tasks that would be far more practical uses of my time. For the last year or so, I have been thinking that I need to put together a Guide to Brett Strain Characteristics in 100% Brett Fermentations. As more and more unique strains hit the market from an increasingly varied number of sources (which is another story I'm working on, as it happens), it will grow exponentially harder to keep track of them all. It already is pretty hard to keep track of them all, honestly, in no small part because the nomenclature for Brettanomyces strains is a mess, and the language to describe their weird qualities is just entering the beer conversation.

So I've been passively working on this guide for some time now, and have at this point brewed 100% Brett beers with a lot of the strains that are more-or-less commonly available. Because there are literally thousands of Brettanomyces strains floating around out there, this guide will for now focus only on strains that are available in some widespread capacity, ranging from the regular White Labs / Wyeast strains, to offerings from newer / smaller yeast labs as they arise, down to those isolated by homebrewers such as Dmitri of BKYeast which have found fairly widespread use in both the homebrewing and commercial brewing world, and are thus theoretically obtainable for the average brewer. It's going to be difficult to draw a line between the various "hobbyiest" isolated strains, and I'll try to at least reference as many sources of Brett strains as I can, but any strain so underground that it can only be obtained by standing in front of a mirror and chanting "Brettanomyces!" three times in succession while describing a pentagram with bloodfire is definitely right out.

Now, there's simply no way I could personally ever get to brewing with every Brettanomyces strain out there; nor could I ever claim to have a completely accurate, representative assessment of how each strain works based on whatever limited experience I may have had with it in one beer. (It's not like I've brewed a single hop beer with every variety on my hop guide list, either.) And beyond that, my own experiences often cause me to doubt information online that sounded pretty established — White Lab's Trois is said to be the same strain, rebranded, as the popular Brett Drei, but my own experience with each version leads me to question this. Maybe I just caught a weird mutation of one of them — which is why having more references is important. Without collecting more experience(s), I'm left to merely speculate.

So with this project, I'm asking for backup. Want to contribute your experiences to a guide that likely tens of billions of humans will read for countless millenia to come? Help me supplement my own experiences by sharing your own. As I said, I'm looking to chronicle the attributes of any Brett strain that has at least some recurring availability to homebrewers. Aroma, flavor, overall impressions, favorable styles, attenuation, length of fermentation, flocculation, super powers bestowed, and really, any other impressions notable or useful. Flavor descriptions tend to be all over the map for these kinds of beers, which is a large part of the reason I want to get some different opinions in here other than my own. The ultimate take-away for each may be: what would you brew with it, and why? Hit me up in the comments (or over email, if you prefer.) If you want to simply link to a post you already wrote, that's good too. And of course, citations will be provided in the eventual guide that I publish myself, with heartfelt thanks to all who contribute.

So, hopefully this sounds like a good idea to everyone, and thanks in advance for your help and support. Cheers to a future of exciting Brett strains and accessible documentation. Maybe even eventually they'll have less confusing names.

And, in related news, my Brett IPA that I brewed with the gentlemen at Bacchus Restaurant in New Paltz, NY, is getting tapped tomorrow (Friday, July 11) at 7 pm. If you happen to be in the area, stop by and have a drink with me, pick up a sweet Brettanomyces-themed t-shirt, or we can just high five. Cool.


  1. What kind of timeline are you looking for? I'm planning on doing a split batch in the next month or two with White Labs' Brett Trois, and The Yeast Bay's Lochristi Blend, but they will be my first 100% Brett beers.

  2. I'm hoping to work with Yeast Bay (as the Lead Cellarman for Refuge Brewery in Temecula, CA) and do some some 100% Brett wine barrel fermentations of some of their blends within the next 3-6 months. Or perhaps a side by side secondary test. I'd be happy to give you any of my tasting notes.

  3. While I realize these are all at the hobbyist level at best, I'm part of a multi brewer experiment going on right now testing 20 new brettanomyces isolates. For all I know, you're one of the other brewers, but you can check it out by googling "The Great Brett Experiment."

    My Blog, I've just done a Brett IPA with 100% NZ Hops, so in the coming weeks/months I'll be posting information around a couple of 100% Brett Recipes. Keep an eye on it.

  5. Doing a brett trois Belgian "golden" ale soon with golden naked oats, raspberries, and lightly hopped with Nelson Sauvin soon. I know you've already got plenty of data points for brett trois and this won't be the purest expression of the yeast. But hell, I'm up in New Paltz. If you'd want a bottle when it's done I'd be happy to drop by with one.

  6. - Black IPA with C2 - Brett C2 - Brett C with Citra - Brett C with Citra and Rhubarb - Brett Brux-Trois

    I think the most difficult part of categorizing Brett flavors and aromas is the fact that each strain varies with different factors. Fermentation temperature can drastically affect aroma and flavor as well as the grain bill and hops used since Brett can metabolize and manipulate esters.

    I think it would be interesting to see what Brett contributes as a secondary strain to varying primary strains and or a single primary strain with different Brett secondary strains. Lots of studying that still needs to take place with Brett.

  7. I've recently tried a brett trois ipa I brewed back in February. It was good then but oddly way better now. The bitterness died back and the tropical fruit is way forward now. Lots of melon and mango. I am not sure which is the Citra and centennial hops and which is the brett. Cool how it has improved rather than fallen off like all other ipa's.


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