Farmhouse Brett IPA

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Farmhouse IPA split into 4 gallon batches

I’ve been fan of Rye IPAs for some time.  My first love was Jester King’s Wytchmaker.  Initially this beer was a straight-forward American IPA with a nice dose of Rye, solid American Hops and Dry-English-Ale yeast.   Over time, Jester King evolved their beer by slowly modifying the fermentation to include local wild yeast and blending in some amount of older sour beer.

I’ve enjoyed tasting this beer as Jester King has made these changes.  Last summer I was pleasantly surprised to encounter a rather prominent change.  With the introduction of Brett, there is a huge impact in the nose of the beer; clearly for the better.

In November, I attended an AHA Rally at Jester King Craft Brewery and I spent some time chatting with Jeff Stuffings.  One of the complements I shared was how well the Brett complimented Wytchmaker.  Jeff chuckled a bit and said that they’ve been adding Brett since June this year, but I was the first person to have noticed the change.   I didn’t seem possible NOT to recognize this massive change in aroma.

With that situation in mind, I decided to brew the two versions of this beer and experiment with a third. The recipe is a 12 gallon batch which I’ll split into three 4 gallon batches.  One carboy will be fermented with White Labs Dry English Ale (WLP007) like the original.  The second with Wyeast French Saison (3711) and then aged with Brett B. in secondary to come close to the current release of Wytchmaker.    The third will be fermented with Brett B. Trois as an experiment with 100% Brett fermented beers.

Enjoy Wytch Brettmaker.

Recipe Details

Batch Size Boil Time IBU SRM Est. OG Est. FG ABV
12 gal 90 min 95.8 IBUs 9.5 SRM 1.062 1.013 6.5 %
Actuals 1.046 1.01 4.7 %

Style Details

Name Cat. OG Range FG Range IBU SRM Carb ABV
American IPA 14 B 1.056 - 1.075 1.01 - 1.018 40 - 70 6 - 15 2.2 - 2.7 5.5 - 7.5 %

Fermentables

Name Amount %
Brewer's Malt, 2-Row, Premium (Great Western) 23.192 lbs 79.28
Rye Malt 4.38 lbs 14.97
Carapils (Briess) 1.46 lbs 4.99
Carafa III 3.56 oz 0.76

Hops

Name Amount Time Use Form Alpha %
Warrior 1.82 oz 90 min Boil Pellet 13.7
Cascade 2.15 oz 20 min Boil Pellet 5.9
Centennial 1.89 oz 20 min Boil Pellet 11.4
Cascade 4.3 oz 2 min Boil Pellet 5.9
Centennial 4.3 oz 2 min Boil Pellet 11.4
Amarillo Gold (20120604) 2 oz 7 days Dry Hop Pellet 8.2
Cascade 2 oz 7 days Dry Hop Pellet 5.9
Centennial 2 oz 7 days Dry Hop Pellet 11.4
Simcoe 2 oz 7 days Dry Hop Pellet 11.7

Miscs

Name Amount Time Use Type
Phosphoric Acid 24.00 ml 60 min Mash Water Agent
Calcium Chloride 16.20 g 60 min Mash Water Agent
Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) 13.80 g 60 min Mash Water Agent
Whirlfloc Tablet 2.00 Items 15 min Boil Fining

Yeast

Name Lab Attenuation Temperature
Brettanomyces B. Troi (644) White Labs 90% 65°F - 80°F

Mash

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

Update 2014-01-02

IMAG1477

Dry-English-Ale (007) on the left, 100% Brett B. Trois on the right.

I’ve now kegged two of the three batches.  The Dry English Ale yeast finished first, but for some reason this time it threw off a ton of diacetyl.  So much then I knew I needed to do something.  I was stepping up some Wyeast 1056 yeast for ardeo, so I decided I would pitch some active 1056 (kruasening) to clean it up.  This restarted fermentation in the beer and when I dry-hopped, I didn’t pick up any more diacetyl, though I didn’t perform a complete test.  Terminal gravity was 1.013.

Next finished was the 100% Brett Trois fermentation.  F.G was 1.010.  The amount of tropical fruits coming out was intense, so much that I almost didn’t dry-hop, but part of reason for brewing this recipe was to finish off some hops.

The 3711 version fermented down to 1.006 and at this point I pitched Brett Brux and dry-hopped the beer.  It’s still aging another 4 weeks to bring out the Brett B. character, and then it’ll be bottled and aged for 6 weeks before tasting.

IMAG1481

Dry-English-Ale (007) on the left, 100% Brett B. Trois on the right.

On to the results.

Wytchmaker Rye IPA (OG-style with Sacc.)

Aroma  Huge hop nose, some citrus, a little pine.  Some malt in the nose.  A faint hint of caramel… most likely remnants of diacetyl; present but not offensive.

Appearance Amber color.  Slight cloudiness that comes from a heavy dry-hop.  Slightly off-white head, creamy texture.  Quite a bit darker than the current Jester King Wytchmaker color; most likely due to different kettle malliard reactions during the 90 minute boil.

Taste Sharp rye spicy bite, followed by malt sweetness, fading into a lingering hop bitterness. Hop flavors and presence help balance the higher gravity finish.

Mouthfeel — Medium body.  Not chewy, but but not thin.  Hard to tell if there is a dry finish because of the hops covering much of the lingering flavors.

Notes — Solid Rye IPA, though slightly marred by the diacetyl presence.  Hard to beat this recipe when done flawlessly.

Wytch Brettmaker Rye IPA (100% Brett B. Trois)

Aroma — Tropical fruits, sweet malt, mango, bananna, touch of bubblegum.

Appearance — Amber color, just a bit lighter than the 007 version.   Same slight cloudiness from the dry-hop; possibly will clear up in keg, other Brett beers have become brilliantly crystal.  Same off-white head, a bit more fluffy and foamy.  Lingers and leaves lovely lacing on the glass.

Taste — Similar sharp rye bite and then a bit of a belgian yeast spiciness, followed by sweet malt, melding together and then absolutely crushed with a huge hop bitter finish, lingering for quite some time.

Mouthfeel — Medium to light body; definitely lighter than the 007 version.  Specific Gravity backs that up, though only by 3 points or so.  Over time, it’s possible the brett might drop down a notch or two.

Notes — It appears the brett “ate” lots of the hop aromas.  WIth the amount of dry-hop added, I should be able to pick out the Simcoe, Cascade, and Centennial, but it seems to sit behind the yeast aromas.  I also bottled a case of this beer to see how it evolves in the bottle.

12 thoughts on “Farmhouse Brett IPA

  1. How did the 3711 one turn out? Have you cloned Wytchmaker since? I am in the process of planning my clone now and found this very interesting. I recently received input from JK suggesting that the hops currently being used (as of Summer/Fall ’14) are Goldings at 60min (most of your bittering addition), Chinook at 10min, Falconer’s Flight + Zythos (50/50) during whirlpool followed with dry hopping of equal parts Falconer’s Flight, Simcoe, and Citra.

    Interested in your thoughts and more recent experience cling Wytchmaker. Thanks!

    • I enjoyed both actually. The 3711 one turned out with a massive Brett B nose and flavor but oddly slightly sweet (from the Brett) even though it was very dry (1.006 or so); probably too Bretty for most folks unless they love it like I do. The english ale version had a nicer, more dry flavor (even though it had a higher gravity, 1.011), but suffered from some diacytal. About halfway through the keg of the English Ale, I pitched a bit of brett to clean up the diacytal, which did wonders for what was left.

      Regarding the updated recipe, yes, that sounds right. The current batch has (I believe, but I’ve yet to confirm) been blended with some of their sour base beer. The combination of fruity hops and solid sour base make Wytchmaker an entirely new and incredibly awesome beer. Even without attempting to blend in a sour base beer, I think you’ll find the recipe very tasty with the original hops or the updated ones.

      The most recent post talked about working with the JK dregs. In a few months, I hope to have some good news with it’s use on getting some nice sour beer out of it in a fairly short time (months, not years). If that goes well, then I do plan on revisiting Wytchmaker with an eye to getting it to sour a bit. I’m also waiting a response back from JK about whether Wytchmaker was blended with a sour, or whether it obtained that level of sour by itself. I’ll definitely share once I get a response.

  2. Hi,

    Can I ask about your hop usage here? The Wytchmaker recipe posted on the Jester King website states that they use ~55 IBUs total. Why are you so hi with your interpretation here? Thanks.

    • Sure. The recipes that Jester King posts are how they brew the beers currently. As one would expect, they’ve been modified over time. Originally Wytchmaker was non-farmhouse, using Dry English Ale yeast and was hopped quite aggressively. I emailed Jester King back in 2011 and the expected IBU was around 89 in recipe they responded with. I’ve always enjoyed a highly hopped IPA so I’ve kept that recipe around. More recently as JK has moved to their mixed-fermentation house culture, there are a couple things going on that affect the current recipe. Their house culture is farm more attenuative than just WLP 007; they routinely hit 1.00 FG, so with that level of dryness, they can back off on the hopping rate and still achieve the a dry, bitter finish. Second, all of their beers tend to have some level of tart or sourness to them which comes from the bacteria included in their house blend. The higher the IBUs the less likely one is to get this flavor in the beer as most lacto will shutdown in the presence of alpha acids.

      At the time of my brewing and formulating of this recipe JK was in the transition to the current mixed culture and had only been experimenting with blending Brett B with their regular WLP 007 pitch. I had picked up on this and spoke with Jeff a few summers ago and mentioned it. He related to me that I was the first person to ask about the change but that they had been using that for a while. Sometime after that, this was around summer 2013, they moved on to the current house culture that the use now.

      If I were to brew this one again, and I wanted it to turn more tart, sour, I’d back the IBU level down to under 40. That said, I still like the Wytchmaker as it was back before the farmhouse mixed culture so I’ll likely keep the IBUs higher for old-time’s sake.

      • Thanks a lot. That makes sense. How would you approach the hops / total IBUs if you were going to do a mixed primary fermentation? I’m thinking of giving it a go with WLP670 (farmhouse saison blend) and don’t want to over hop, or under hop. I’m not looking for the sour so much as I am a touch of brett character (it’ll only have about 7 weeks brew to bottle). I was thinking of something around Jester Kings 55 IBUs, or maybe up to 65 IBUs. It is still an IPA and Brett can strip hop character. You’re brewed this batch in a similar manner and I wonder what you think? Thanks for all the help.

  3. The Brett character is going to be independent of the hopping rate IMO; it’s mostly a function of yeast related byproducts. In my short experience with Brett IPAs, I’ve overhopped them, at least on the bittering side; the extra dryness enhances the perception of the hops. I think your plan of 55 or less will be good enough. Leading with a sacc primary is perfect; I’d let that run two weeks and then pitch Brett as secondary and let it ride until 1.005 ish; If you’re kegging, you can stop sooner, bottling with Brett above 1.005 is challenging w.r.t carbonation.

  4. I’ve done both. My suggestions are 1) Use champagne yeast (it consumes simple sugars faster than Brett and can reduce the change of getting sometimes non-pleasant flavors that take years to fade, say the grainy/cherrios flavor of ATHP). 2) use a little priming sugar, but account[X] for remaining gravity in your calculation for total volumes of CO2. 3) If you plan on drinking them sooner than 6 months to a year then you can increase your priming sugar as it will carbonate faster. If you want to cellar for years, then you can cap and let the Brett work on the last 5 points and it will carb, but may take a very long time. 4) Use only *heavy* 750ml glass. Regular 12 and 22oz brown glass will burst where the 750ml heavier stuff can take much higher volumes that tend to happen if you bottle with higher gravity.

    X. http://www.northernbrewer.com/documentation/AdvancedBottleConditioning.pdf

  5. Wow. Thanks a lot. You’ve been a great help.

    One last question, if that’s OK? What do you do for your water profile? I understand Jester King has a unique profile, from their well source. Would you do a harder, more sulfate driven water, or something a bit softer and not so sulfate heavy? I’m not quite sure what the best approach is to complement both the hops and the brett. I would usually be between 200 and 300-ish ppm sulfate for an IPA.

  6. I’ve mostly done RO water and used a spreadsheet (https://sites.google.com/site/brunwater/). However, if you want to brew with the same mantra as JK, then ideally you’d brew with your own water from where you live and adjust for obvious things (campden tabs to remove chloramine, for example).

    I would suggest that if you’ve brewed IPAs before that you use the same water as you did then so it’s easier to compare flavors. If it comes out OK, then next time you can change the water profile to something else and compare back the previous.

  7. bottle. hazy golden with one finger head. light body with medium brett funk. quite fruity, though not quite tart. moderate bitterness, but the flavors blend pretty well in this case. strikes me as less of a IPA and more of an hoppy funk-forward saison. good stuff.

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