Beer Recipe: “Wacky Wit” Wit with Brett

To be honest, I’m not really sure where I got the idea in my head to brew this beer.  I have been reading a lot about sour beers lately (American Sour Beers is a wonderful book), and I wanted something outside of a normal ale.  But, I wanted to enjoy it relatively quickly, unlike the Flanders Red I have sitting in a closet upstairs until this summer.  So, I just decided to co-pitch some brett and a saison yeast into something like a wit wort and see what happened.

This is my first beer that I have observed the hyper-attenuation brett is known for.  Saison yeast is pretty attenuative itself, and the brett seems to have given it a helping hand to reach a whopping 96% apparent attenuation in what was, in all likelihood, a rather dextrinous and unfermentable wort.

That being said, you’ll see below that I used WLP644 B. bruxellensis trois.  If you are an avid reader of other beer blogs, you may have heard some controversy over whether or not this strain even is brett.  For those interested, read on at Sui Generis Brewing and Eureka Brewing.

Batch Size: 5.5 gal/ 20.8L (post-boil volume)

Malt:
4lb/1.81 kg        Torrified wheat (UK origin)
3 lb/ 1.36 g        Pilsner malt (Castle)
2 lb/ 910  g        Red wheat malt (Rahr)
1 lb/ 450 g         Flaked oats
5 oz/ 140  g        Rice hulls
4 oz/ 115  g         Caramunich I, (Weyermann)

Hops:
0.65 oz/ 18 g     Hallertau, 4.6%, 60 min, 10.2 IBU
0.35 oz/ 10 g     Hallertau, 4.6%, 30 min, 4.2 IBU
Total IBU:          14.4 (Tinseth)

Yeast:
5 g                     Belle saison
1 tube                WLP644 Brett. bruxellensis trois

Other:
1 tsp                  Hydrated irish moss (10 min)
1/4 tsp              Wyeast nutrient
35 sec                oxygen, 0.5 micron stone, 15 min after pitching

Target CO2:     2.6 vol

Gravity:
OG:                    1.046 (67% mash eff; target 1.051, 75% eff)
FG:                     1.002 (96% apparent atten.)
ABV:                  6.4% after conditioning

Water:
Mash temp:          121F/ 49.4C (target 118F/ 47.8C), 25 min
154F/ 67.8C (target 154F/ 67.8C), 60 min
Two infusion mash, single (batch) sparge
Boil time:              75 min

Calculated Profile:

Calcium 59.4 Sulfate 60.4 Hardness 172
Magnesium 5.8 Chloride 72 Alkalinity 0
Sodium 135.3 Bicarbonate 0.2 RA -46

Mash pH: 5.5, Sparge pH: 6

I was pretty happy with this water profile, save for the sodium content, which is just how my water is served up.  I adjusted the sulfate to chloride ratio for a maltier finish (higher chloride), and used lactic acid to bring the alkalinity way down from about 200 ppm to 0 ppm.  I added the sparge calcium additions directly to the kettle instead of the sparge water.  (See my water treatment post here.)

Fermentation Temperature: I pitched at 72F/22.2C and it pretty quickly rose to and stayed at 74F/23.3C during fermentation.  As fermentation wound down, I turned a lamp on in my brew cabinet to keep it around 74F for another day or two.  I aged it in the primary for two months before bottling.

Tasting Notes:

whackyWite

New glassware! Gotta love those curves!

Appearance: yellow amber, every so slight haze: I am amazed at how clear this beer aged out to be with how cloudy it started from all of the unmalted and malted wheatit was downright murky.  Head dissipates quickly.

Aroma: smells strongly of dry white wine with a touch of pear and cidery apple

Taste: pretty delicate flavor matching the aroma, like white wine without an acidic bite.  A hint of something vaguely funky (not in a bad way) that I can’t quite place.  There seems to be some saison yeast character in the background, perhaps muted a bit by the brett.  It tastes like it should be sour, but isn’t.  Basically no discernible hop character (which was expectedI think anything under 15 IBUs or so is sub-threshold).

Mouthfeel: medium high carbonation, thin body, very dry

Overall: I wasn’t really sure what to expect before I brewed this beer, and frankly I’m still not really sure what I got—it’s a bit outside of any style I know.  But, it is quite tasty.  It seems to straddle the line of sipper and summer quencher, depending on its temperature.  I think this would be a great introduction to alternately fermented beers to someone uninitiated, or just to have around as something different and delicious.  Its been in the bottle for about two months now, and has changed a bit already; I look forward to seeing how this beer changes and evolves with additional age.

– Dennis,
Life, Fermented

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About Dennis
Home brewer, home chef, garage tinkerer. Author of Life Fermented blog.

4 Responses to Beer Recipe: “Wacky Wit” Wit with Brett

  1. mgrob76 says:

    Did you post on the brewing of your Flanders red? I’m attempting a kriek this Friday and would be interested to read about it.

    • Dennis says:

      I haven’t posted yet, and don’t plan to until its finished—probably not until the end of this summer. I don’t know how much help it would be, but if you are interested send me an email on my contact page and I would be happy to send you my word file with all of my notes on the beer thus far. But, I haven’t done anything more than look at it thus far.
      – Dennis

  2. ercousin says:

    Is that the Spiegelau Pilsner Tulip glass? I have the same and love it.

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