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So I have this idea where I want to thread a citra-laden Belgian IPA with a pineapple beer fermented with Brett C and Brett C only. Does anyone have any experience using Brett C and can speak to how long it will take to ferment? I know that Brett L and B (in pure lambics) can take 6-10 months to really develop all of the elements of the traditional Brett flavor profile. Is Brett C on the same timeframe? I figure I will leave the Belgian IPA in the fermenter for about 2 months. I'd like to brew them around the same time, so if I give the Brett C pineapple 2 months, will that be long enough to get some tart and funky flavors out of it?

This hasn't been a particularly well written BrewAdvice question, and for that I apologize in advance. I look forward, as always, to the enlightened responses from this community!

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I pinged Chad - brettanomyces.wordpress.com - for this –  hookedonwinter May 10 '10 at 15:14
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our first featured question! –  hookedonwinter May 11 '10 at 4:05
    
@PJ. Really? I thought I remember Dean putting a bounty on a question in the early days. Unless there is a different criteria for being featured. –  brewchez May 11 '10 at 18:28
    
No, I could be wrong –  hookedonwinter May 14 '10 at 22:09
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up vote 7 down vote accepted

Here we go... The pineapple characteristic your after is not exclusive to B. claussenii. And not everyone perceives aroma in the same way. I have seen the Orval Brett form pineapple type aromas and also leathery musty aromas in other beers. This will ultimately come down to the types of hops you used and brewing technique... Independent results will be achieved by each brewer due to limitations of brewing experience and raw materials used. Citra is a great choice as it will accentuate the aromatic and citrusy flavors you're looking for.

In my research with eight strains of Brettanomyces, I found B. claussenii to be a very slow fermenter when it came to primary fermentation. The higher the acidity the greater the attenuation. Also the fermentations were only given 35 days to primary ferment so maybe in 2 months you could get the character and attenuation your looking for. It eventually happens.

So which B. claussenii you would like to use. Wyeast: I find this strain to be on the fruitier side but will often impart slight metallic aromas again depends on your raw materials. Whitelabs: this can produce fruity aromas but I find it to lack much character when used as a single strain. I have not seen evidence which show what's bought in the homebrew cultures is pure. What you get in the homebrew cultures also includes Pichia, and two forms of lacto.. Now this combination makes a great beer due to the slight possibility of fruitiness from the Pichia and sourness that occurs due to the lacto, and gives a "typical" Brett beer type aroma and flavor.

With that said I have had some beers that came through with some slight lemon aromas lately.. one of which was the Wyeast B. claussenii in secondary but it was coupled with a horsey, catpiss aromas but opened up with lemon verbena and some mustiness. Its Brett and even if you do a controlled primary there are going to be characteristic Brett aromas. But whats wrong with these.. that's to each there own.

Another Brett that is great but not available is the Drie strain... Think Brute from Ithica.. One of the best Brett beer in my opinion... that beer also takes about 10+ months to produce...

So in short, if your looking for the pineapple in two months from using B. claussenii, I don't think its going happen. Instead I think you should use B. claussenii in a big Belgian IPA.. lite on the bitterness and heavy on the late hops, and see what happens, because using Brettanomyces is a unique experience where the possibilities are endless and the results can be amazing.. and they also will be ever changing.. there will be no final flavor in a beer with Brettanomyces unless it is pasterized, otherwise its ever evolving.

Try making the Brett beer first and seeing how it progresses after 2 months.. if its looking good, then brew the Belgian style IPA and thread the two... If the results are good.. bottle with minimal but sufficient priming sugar as the Brett will continue to digest additional sugars while in the bottle and overtime... Secondly try to rack the IPA off the yeast as much as possible.. Lots of Saccharomyces and Brettanomyces together over time produce goaty flavors...

Cheers,

Chad Yakobson

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Congratulations sir, you just picked up a 200 rep bounty. Thanks for your thoughtful and complete answer. I think what I take out of this is that it's going to take multiple iterations of trial and error to see how I can get what I want. I'll take your advice and see how this goes. Thanks sir! –  WhatsBillDoing May 15 '10 at 16:02
    
I just want to follow-up on this. I ended up pitching a 1/3 gallon starter of Brett C into a pretty basic wheat/pilsner extract wort. The starter had been going since Monday (today is Sunday). Within 4 hours I had visible fermentation activity in the airlock. Almost 11 hours later it is fermenting so violently that the CO2 being forced through the blowoff tube into a side bucket I have sounds like someone being sick into a bucket. It's been like this for 3 hours. Wild. –  WhatsBillDoing May 17 '10 at 2:46
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