Thursday, April 4, 2013

Stay Gold- Ale on Brett

Brew Day 3/16/13

My fascination with pale ales and Brett got the better of me again. You’d think that giventhe fact that I can’t brew even half as often as I wish I could, and the fact that I already have 3 cases of Sonorval in the “cellar”, I would make a point to diversify as much as possible when I do actually get the chance to experiment… but temptation got the better ofme. When I saw that the LHBS had WLP510 on the shelf, instead of taking the high road and making the “historical porter” I’ve been working a recipe out for the past couple of weeks, I instantly shelved the porter and went for another go at an Orval riff.Pale/ funky/ hoppy for life!

I’m essentially making the same base beer as Sonorval, but with a few tweaks that should make for a pretty significantly different end result. This one and Sonorval are about as close as you can get to the same beer pre-fermentation; identical grain bill save a half pound reduction in base malt, similar but slightly less bold hoping rates, same mash schedule and same water profiles. The big change this time is that I’m going with the Orval primary yeast strain instead of the WLP007 “Dry English” with the intent of having this one be a bit more yeast driven and show some more aggressive funk.

I explained in the Sonorval write-up that my main motivation for using the English yeast in that beer was keeping the primary fermentation relatively clean in order to limit the source of phenolic compounds for the Brett to metabolize. The hypothesis was that a cleaner primary would make for a cleaner secondary- and I wanted Sonorval to be more of a hoppy pale with some funk rather than a funky pale with some hops. It worked out about as well as I could have hoped, and I’m interested to see how much I can actually up the Brett character in this one without manipulating anything besides the source of phenolic compounds produced from the primary fermentation. Even though WLP510 is relatively clean for a Belgian strain, it will provide much more of the fruity esters and spicy phenols typical of Belgian strains than an English strain, plus it is the yeast that WLP sourced from Orval- so how could it be a bad choice?

Lastly, because I’m expecting this one to be more yeast driven, I’m switching the big and juicyCentennial/ Calypso hop mix with Palisade/ Willamette and backing the IBUs down to be a bit more in line with the Belgian Pale Ale style (don’t want the goaty dryness to grate too hard against a too assertive bitterness).

The Recipe (for 5.5 gal into fermenter

11 lbs Castle Pilsner Malt- 96%
.5 lbs Caravienne- 4%

1 oz Palisades @ 60min
1 oz Willamette @ 10min
1 oz Palisade @ k/o
1 oz Willamette @ k/o

2 oz Palisades in the Dry Hop for the last 10 days before bottling
2 pz French Oak chips for 7 days

Pitched 12oz starterWLP510 “Bastogne” ale yeast @ 60F with 1tsp WLP yeast nutrient. Allowed to free rise to ambient high 60 in the house with heater on for 3 days. Will most likely stay around 65 for most of secondary.

Used Oakland R/O H2O with 1 g/gal gypsum for pale balanced water profile.= SO4@150/ Ca@60
Mash in with 5gal to hit 148F rest for 50min, .75gal infusion to hit 155F for 20min, .75gal infusion to hit 159F for 20, 1.5gal infusion to mashout and NO SPARGE.
90min boil (1 whirlfloc at k/o)

Collected 5gal after boil and hop trub removal.
OG: 1.054= 75% efficiency
FG: = Calculated SRM: 5
Calculated IBU: Garetz 25, Tinseth 35

3/16- Pitched yeast and put in tub with a blanket wrap for house ambient with heater on for 3 days~67F.

4/1- Gravity is at 1.011. Added dredges from a third bottle of Orval.

4/17- Added 2oz Palasades DH

4/21- Another PKT of gelatin and 2 oz of vodka soaked French oak chips. Gravity is at 1.010.


  1. Tasty!

    The hops and brett were very balanced and complemented each other nicely, with lot of high-frequency, tropical fruit. The dry hopping really came through on the nose, as well.

    1. Hey thanks Alex! Actually though, you haven't had this one yet... its still in primary :)

      The bottle I gave you was Sonorval:

      Hit me up next time you feel like a ride--