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My wonderful wife bought me a book on the history of IPAs for Christmas, which I have read a couple of times. This book has some extracts from old brew logs regarding the proportions of malts and quantities of Hops to use. Equally for primary fermentation I intend to use a London Ale Yeast.

But, this is where I have been debating what to do. It mentions that these IPAs were matured in large oak vats, and we all know were transported over seas. They that these vats were likely to have Brett and other wild yeasts.

Any better ideas how I should go about replicating this secondary fermentation? I was thinking to chuck into the secondary Brett + 1'' oak cubes.

Also, how concerned should I be about infecting my basement with Brett or similar wild bugs?

And, anything any of you wish you had been told before you did your first Brett/Wild/Lambic brew?

  • The barrels were treated with tar, so the beer was not in contact with the wood. I am not 100% sure about the details. I am sure there are some references from coopers that will tell you exactly what was done with the barrels. – Atron Seige Jul 6 '15 at 13:20
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Oak barrels also let a bit of oxygen in. Apparently you can recreate this with on of those soft orange carboy caps - they are more porous to oxygen than others.

Standard precautions for Brett are to keep the soft parts separate from you other beers. But Brett isn't that hard to kill, proper sanitation should be enough. And if any fruit grows near your house, your basement is probably full of wild bugs anyway. Brett will live in/on wood, so don't splash beer on the walls, or reuse those cubes for anything. Obviously.

Last question - be prepared to wait. Weird flavors might show up, that's just brett doing it job.

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As they say: Do Not Fear The Bug! :)

Your brewery will not get infected if you brew this beer.

All plastic equipment used in the brewing (post boil) should be considered infected and should never be used with a clean beer ever again. Mark the hoses/spoons to indicated that they are a bio-hazard :p Plastic fermenters count for the previous rule, but they are oxygen permeable, which might provide too much oxygen to the brett and the beer will be very sour. Rather use glass/steel when you want to add bugs.

Cleaning is always an issue. But if you do a good job cleaning and sanitising you should be fine. Repeating rule 1: all plastics (no matter how good you clean) should be considered infected.

If you are really worried, you can add vodka or a sanitising solution to your bubbler/blow-off. This will kill any bugs that learn to fly. :)

Remember that the bugs will eat EVERYTHING that they can find. Make sure they are done before bottling.

I am also doing my first bug brew this weekend :) Good luck with your brew.

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