Hoppy Brett Witbier

What exactly is a hoppy Brett witbier? No one knows. Why am I doing this? Biochemical reactions. Why would anyone care about biochemical reactions? Because one here’s things on podcasts and gets crazy ideas. What are these ideas? Supposedly coriander and Brettanomyces when mixed together can create a citrus flavor. When someone hears things like this, there’s only one thing left to do naturally, and that’s to really mess up the process.

The process, on paper, was to do a mash step with a protein rest. I did not however calculate for the dead space being there and was severely under my additions to raise the temperature. I hit the first rest at 123F, but the next step got to 140F, and the next one was 150F. I was trying to go from about 122F to 154, then to 168 for a mahout. Whoops. As a result of my horrible calculations, I only got a 1.015 pre-boil gravity where I was going for something in the 125F range. Having DME on hand for the win?

The next sorta debacle was not pitching enough Brett. I didn’t realize the vials had such little cells in them (supposedly in the 50 million range). Even for a one gallon batch, that is severely under what it should be. However, Brett is resilient. After putting the 1 gallon jug by the heater, after adding the dregs from a bottle that had WLP653 in it, it finally started after 7 days. I can only hope that is only Brett that’s eating and not something wild.

Aside from all that, I nailed it.

(If anyone cares to see the debacle of the brew day, you can check it out below).


Batch Size: 1 Gallon
OG: 1.047
SRM: 5.5
Est ABV: 4%
IBU: 40
Boil Time: 70 Min

13 oz (32.7%) – Belgian Pale
13 oz (32.7%) – Flaked Wheat
4 oz (10.0%) – Flaked Oats
2.5 oz (6.0%) – Munich Malt
2.5 oz (6.0%) – Acid Malt
5 oz – DME

30 Min @ 122F
40 Min @ 140F
15 Min @ 150

Hop Stand (200-180F)
.25 oz Citra (12.7% AA) @ 20 Min
.25 oz Citra (12.7% AA) @ 10 Min
.25 oz Citra (12.7% AA) @ 5 Min

5 g of whole coriander seed @ 5 Min left in the boil

WLP650 Brettanomyces Bruxellensis
WLP653 Brettanomyces Lambicus (Bottle dregs)

Here’s what went down:

Brewed 12/31/16

Botched the mash. Added just under 1g of Calcium Chloride.

1/2/17: No activity. Moved it next to my heater and added bottle dregs from a bottle with WLP653 in it.

1/5/17: No activity still.

1/7/17: Finally there’s activity.

1/14/17: Activity has stopped.

1/29/17: Bottled. I would normally let this go a bit longer, but I needed the 1 gallon jug. I will say that the gravity hadn’t changed two times I took it (1.012 both times), but knowing how slow Brett can work, it would have been better to let this go another few weeks before bottling.

2/29/17 Tasting notes:

2 Comment

  1. David Hamilton says: Reply

    Hey Jason, my girlfriend and I watch all of your videos. She is a avid sourbeer drinker, mainly all that she drinks. She wants me to brew a sour for her. I do extract brewing because space is limited. Should I use Bret to sour the beer then another strain to ferment the beer? I’ve always been a little confused on that topic. Kind of looking to do a fast sour Brew day so she can try it sooner. Any recommendations?

    1. Jason says: Reply

      Check out these posts on my past endeavors on that: https://barleyandthehops.com/quick-hoppy-sour/ and https://barleyandthehops.com/quick-sour-with-lactobacillus-hilgardii/. I also just released a video today about brewing another quick sour: https://youtu.be/1TE1zMLZESo.

      Generally speaking, you should sour with bacteria like lactobacillus, then ferment it with Brett once it’s done souring. Aside from lactobacillus, you can sour with non-fat greek yogurt, probiotics, and a handful of 2-row grain. Souring should take about 2 days held at 90F-100F (112F if using grain) (though I’ve heard this blend http://www.milkthefunk.com/wiki/Lactobacillus#Omega_Yeast_Labs_on_OYL-605 can sour closer to 75F), then pasteurize or boil, add any hops, then pitch the Brett and ferment as normal. Get the pH to 4.5 first before souring to help wit head retention and anything wild getting in.

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