Mixed Ferm NEIPA (First Attempt)
So, my thought process on this was pretty simple, I have been reading a bit on doing an all Brettanomyces fermented NEIPA. I started reading on Milk The Funk about different strains of Brett. The Brett Claussenii strain from White Labs caught my eye. Especially based on the flavor profile:
Fruity, pineapple. Wine grape-like aroma, with light wood-like, floral, and citrus aromas. More fruit forward in the flavor, clean aftertaste with little to no “funk”.
Upon my initial research on MTF there where a few bullet points that just made an all brett NEIPA sound perfect:
- Light fruit characteristics.
- A longer lasting hop aroma and flavor due to Brett’s ability to constantly metabolize micro-oxygenation.
- Perceived bitterness may be quite a bit lower than the same wort fermented with a clean ale yeast.
These are all things, to me, that seem to lend perfect to a NEIPA. So, I went about planing a brewday. Was looking a for a pretty simple grain bill, and I went about a hop bill based on a recent NEIPA I had from Arvon Brewing, called Jurassic Haze that was amazing. Here is my Brewfather Recipe.
I picked up some WLP 645 from my LHBS, made a starter, and based on some reading I did you want to let it spin for a bit longer then a regular starter on the stir plate. I let it go for about 6 days, then crashed it for 2 days.
On to brew day. Long story short, brew day went perfect, hit all my numbers, pH and everything. Let it cool to about 75F, as the temp range of the brett was 70F-85F. I pitched the brett, set my BrewPiLess to raise the temp from 75F to 85F over 14 days and then I started the waiting game.
Now this beer was a little pricey, the 6 gallons of wort was probably about 70-ish dollars, so I was watching pretty close to make sure fermentation took off, especially being a completely new yeast method to me. Anyway, after day 1, nothing. After day 2, nothing. No krausen, no CO2, nothing. Im starting to get worried. Well, I went back to MTF and did a bit more reading, guess what, brett C, does NOT attenuate wort well when pitched solo, like, it only attenuates 20%! Long story short, if your WLP645 fully attenuates, its contaminated with sacc, see this.
So, being, the person I am, I panicked, not knowing what else to do, I decided to pitch some sacc yeast. I mean what else could I do? I really didn’t want the wort to get infected and waste all of it. So, I called my LHBS, They had some Omega Labs Tropical Ale yeast OYL-200. This is a great yeast, it was actually formally classified as a brett. Its great for both IPAs and NEIPAs, and well, its brett-ish. And it has a temp range of 70F-85F, perfection! So I pitched that in at about 52ish hours post brett C. pitch.
Within 12 hours, thing was bubbling like a tommy gun, I’m sure it helped it was at about 77F by this time. Now, I also decided to make another small change this batch, no biotransform hops. Now, incase you are not aware, at the start of the NEIPA craze, it was common practice to pitch dry hops at the peak of fermentation, about 24-72 hour in. Well, this has since been “proven” wrong and wasteful of hops as all the aroma is taken out with the CO2. So I decided to pass on this step, instead trying to dry hop closer to packaging. Well, this damn thing bubbled for almost 2.5 weeks, and dropped to 1.005 on my first hydrometer reading, then I waited another 4 days, and it was at 1.004 (which I’m calling terminal gravity), so I added 3.5oz of hops, let it sit another three days, kegged, crashed and carbed. The finished product is very good, to be honest, a little wierd, but a one of a kind. lots of pineapple, honestly a lot of funk from the brett, very fruity, surprisingly full bodied, and over all, a very solid drinker!