Belgian IPA with Brett

Image from To Øl brewery

My interest in beers with Brettanomyces has grown over time.  Initially my experience with Brett was not one of great fondness.  At the time, I had recently discovered New Belgium’s La Folie, the great American-face-punching-brown-sour and was so captivated that I was looking for anything else like it.

I ended up trying any of the potential “sour” beers that showed up in Texas and ran into a number of American farmhouse beers that utilized Brett.  Anyone who has tasted La Folie will know that there isn’t a hint of “classic” Brett flavors or aromas, even if Brett is employed in the creation of La Folie.  None of the “horse leather, sweat, funk, cheese” nose that can come from some Brett strains.

It was exactly those overly peppery, funky, sweaty flavors that had turned me off of Brett beers.  But as with hoppy beers, which I didn’t originally enjoy, eventually your tastes change.

At this point, I can say that I’m having a similar transition from avoiding Brett beers to being completely enamored with any beer that utilizes Brett in any form.

One of the beers that literally changed my mind about Brett was the Sans Frontiére beer from the To Øl brewery.  I received this great beer from the Rare Beer Club and initially was quite hesitant with the description.  Hoppy Belgian but fermented with Brett.  I decided that I would drink the beer as soon as possible to minimize the Brett character.  What I encountered was an amazingly complex, dry, hoppy Belgian beer that fundamentally changed my outlook on Brett.

Earlier this year I was looking for something in the Belgian Blonde category for a local Pro-AM competition so on a whim, I sent an email to the To Øl brewery asking about Sans Frontiére and to my surprise, Tore Gynther, the head brewer there, (who started brewing with Mikkeller in Chemistry class) replied with the recipe.  Fantastic!

Now that I’ve got a few strains of Brett around at the Woxford Brewery I figured it was time to see how well an all-brett hoppy beer would turn out.  So let’s see how this one goes.

Recipe Details

Batch Size Boil Time IBU SRM Est. OG Est. FG ABV
5.3 gal 60 min 62.8 IBUs 6.2 SRM 1.058 1.006 6.9 %
Actuals 1.046 1.01 4.7 %

Style Details

Name Cat. OG Range FG Range IBU SRM Carb ABV
Belgian Specialty Ale 16 E 1.03 - 1.08 1.006 - 1.019 15 - 40 3 - 50 2.1 - 2.9 3 - 9 %


Name Amount %
Brewer's Malt, 2-Row, Premium (Great Western) 8.602 lbs 75
Oats, Flaked 1.032 lbs 9
Crystal, Medium (Simpsons) 7.34 oz 4
Munich Malt 5.5 oz 3
Candi Sugar, Clear 1.032 lbs 9


Name Amount Time Use Form Alpha %
Herkules 0.71 oz 60 min Boil Pellet 18.5
Hallertauer Mittelfrueh 1 oz 10 min Boil Pellet 4.3
Tettnang 1 oz 1 min Boil Pellet 4.5
Columbus (Tomahawk) - 2012 Crop - Purchased 20130220 1 oz 10 days Dry Hop Pellet 15.3
Styrian Goldings 1 oz 10 days Dry Hop Pellet 5.4


Name Lab Attenuation Temperature
Abbey Ale (WLP530) White Labs 78% 66°F - 72°F
Brettanomyces Bruxellensis (WLP650) White Labs 70% 65°F - 72°F


Step Temperature Time
Saccharification 148°F 90 min
Mash Out 168°F 10 min


To Ol - San Frontiere recipe

Summer Time, Saison Time


Das Wunderkind – Saison from Jester King Brewery

During the hot summer months of Texas I really get into crisp, clean, dry beers.  My craft beer pallet has been shifting, and I’m definitely enjoying beers that have a lower finishing gravity than higher.  I’m a member of the Rare Beer Club which sends two exceptional beers once a month and even with such exceptionally good beers, there are quite a few that I must share since I cannot drink more than a sample; the sweetness of some of the Belgians overwhelm my tastes.

I suppose then it’s a good thing that I have a fantastic source of dry, sour beers so close to Austin, Texas.  Out at the Jester King Brewery, of which I am a huge fan, they have a wide selection of amazing beers.  With the recent changes in the arcane Texas Beer laws it’s now much easier to sample and obtain the great beers that are brewed and aged out at that farmhouse brewery.

Sweet Pineapple and Mango!

Brett Drie sample from Jester King

When I volunteered for bottling day at Jester King a few months ago one of the bits of information I picked up was the use of Brettanomyces for bottling yeast.  I had been reviewing a really exciting thread on Homebrewtalk about using Brett Drie, the strain isolated from Fantôme  brewery in Belgium.  I immediately recognized the name and the flavor profile that it had be contributing to the aged bottles of Jester King.  Jeff Stuffings, the head brewer at Jester King, graciously agreed to share a sample of their Brett Drie so I could make use of it.

I couldn’t think of a better way to test it out other than to brew up my interpretation of their Das Wunderkind saison.  Recently they’ve been blending their aged sour beer back into their young beers, effectively creating new beers with resounding success.  For this recipe I wanted to attempt the same thing.  Thus, here I am with 11 gallons of saison and plans to ferment half of it with just French Saison Yeast (Wyeast 3711) and then to blend it with the other half that will sit on oak cubes, brett and souring bacteria.

The original plan was to use my 5 gallon barrel that now has been patched with barrel wax.  However, since it’s had lots of time to sit with water in it I’m not entirely confident that I’ve removed the mold that may have developed before I found out that I should be using “holding solution”, a combination of potassium metibasulphate and some citric acid.

Multiply my lovely sourlings!

Brett B. Trio, Pedio, and Lacto starters

In the barrel’s stead, I’ll pitch in 1.5 oz of french oak cubes along with an array of souring organisms while the saison ages.  In a few months, I’ll start the blending process.  If this process is successful, then I’ll brew another batch of this recipe and pitch the young beer into the carboy and let it ferment with the old, sour beer.

My interpretation of Das Wunderkind.

Recipe Details

Batch Size Boil Time IBU SRM Est. OG Est. FG ABV
11 gal 90 min 24.7 IBUs 5.3 SRM 1.041 1.004 4.7 %
Actuals 1.047 1.006 5.4 %

Style Details

Name Cat. OG Range FG Range IBU SRM Carb ABV
Saison 16 C 1.048 - 1.065 1.002 - 1.012 20 - 35 5 - 14 2.3 - 2.9 5 - 7 %


Name Amount %
Pilsner (2 Row) Bel 11.938 lbs 68.26
Brewer's Malt, 2-Row, Premium (Great Western) 2.388 lbs 13.65
Wheat Malt, Ger 1.273 lbs 7.28
Oats, Flaked 1.1 lbs 6.29
Caramunich I (Weyermann) 12.65 oz 4.52


Name Amount Time Use Form Alpha %
Goldings, East Kent (2011 Crop - Purchase FHBW 20130220) 1.66 oz 60 min Boil Pellet 5.6
Saaz 1.1 oz 15 min Boil Pellet 7.6
Cascade (2012 - Nikobrew 2012-11-23) 2.2 oz 7 days Dry Hop Pellet 5.9
Columbus (Tomahawk) - 2012 Crop - Purchased 20130220 1.1 oz 7 days Dry Hop Pellet 15.3


Name Amount Time Use Type
Calcium Chloride 2.30 g 60 min Mash Water Agent
Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) 2.30 g 60 min Mash Water Agent
Epsom Salt (MgSO4) 0.30 g 60 min Mash Water Agent
Yeast Nutrient 2.00 tsp 5 min Boil Other


Name Lab Attenuation Temperature
Belgian Saison (3724) Wyeast Labs 87% 70°F - 95°F
Brettanomyces Bruxellensis Troi (WLP644) White Labs 70% 65°F - 72°F
Lactobacillus Bacteria (WLP677) White Labs 70% 65°F - 72°F
Pediococcus Cerevisiae (4733) Wyeast Labs 67% 60°F - 95°F


Step Temperature Time
Mash In 152°F 60 min