Strange Brett problem

Post #1 made 4 years ago
Hi everyone

I'm relatively new to brewing. I started about 2 months ago and have had 5 brew days already. I'm loving it. I jumped straight into BIAB and was eager to brew a wide variety of beer. Although in hind sight I was pretty overzealous...

The problem I have is I brewed up a basic IPA 5 days ago with an OG of 1.060 but the Wyeast 5526 Brett I used isn't starting. The weird thing is I took a sample two days ago to get a hydrometer reading and left the sample next to the fermenter to check for changes. A day later the sample had started fermenting and read 1.040! It had a nice yeasty head and everything.

I upped the temps last night to 23c and have been stiring the wort daily to try kick things off but I'm really stuck for what to do.

I should also say I didn't make a starter for the liquid yeast. I followed the directions on the packet which didn't state I needed to. Of course from now on I will deffinately be making starters!

Do you guys have any ideas what I can do to start things off? I'm almost tempted just to pitch US05 and be done with it.
    • SVA Brewer With Over 50 Brews From Australia

Post #3 made 4 years ago
So what likely happened was that your sample got infected with a wild yeast strain floating around in the air. I have used brett but have always initially fermented with a standard strain first and then add the Brett after the beer was done fermenting. Brett can ferment the complex sugars that ordinary yeast stains can't but it takes a long time for it to work. You need to take this into consideration before bottling your brew: I typically leave my brett beers in the fermenter for 6-12 months before bottling. This reason being is that if you bottle and then let them sit for a few months, the brett continues to work and you eventually get bottle bombs. If Noam is still hanging around here he may be able to elaborate further.

What did you did with that sample that started spontaneously fermenting? It may end up being very good, I would recommend culturing it and using it to ferment a small sample batch. Who knows, maybe you have a "house" strain of wild yeast that could produce some nice beer? I captured some wild yeast once in my house and fermented a batch with it, it was very "Belgian-like" (spicy/clove tasting) but had a horrible after taste, maybe you'll get luckier than I did.

Toss some S-05 in there and see what happens.

    • SVA Brewer With Over 100 Brews From United States of America

Post #4 made 4 years ago
Thanks for the replies!

The wort did ferment a day after cranking up the temperature and it stopped at 1.02. I've dry hopped it and am hoping to get it out of the fermenter this week to make room for something new. Currently it has a citrus like sour taste to it. My understanding is it needs time to develop. I don't have any experience with infection but it seems fine to me. I'm going to see what happens.

Thughes - It looks like I'm way out of my depth! I was considering harvesting this and my belgian yeast I have currently but this experience has made me want to slow down a bit and brew some simpler ales first so I don't think I'll need this yeast again any time soon. I don't have the patience, carboy or space to store my beers for a long period of time yet. Thanks for the bottle bomb warning, I will store them with caution.
    • SVA Brewer With Over 50 Brews From Australia
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