Brettanomyces Bruxellensis – Definition & Detailed Explanation – Brewing Ingredients Glossary

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I. What is Brettanomyces Bruxellensis?

Brettanomyces Bruxellensis, often referred to simply as Brett, is a species of wild yeast commonly found in the environment, particularly on the skins of fruit. It is known for its ability to ferment sugars and produce unique flavors and aromas in beer. Brettanomyces is a non-spore forming yeast that can survive in low-nutrient environments and high-alcohol conditions, making it a resilient organism in the brewing process.

II. How does Brettanomyces Bruxellensis impact beer?

When Brettanomyces Bruxellensis is introduced into beer, it can continue to ferment sugars that Saccharomyces yeast cannot metabolize, leading to further attenuation and potentially higher alcohol content. Brett can also produce a range of compounds that contribute to the complexity of beer, including fruity esters, spicy phenols, and earthy or barnyard-like aromas. These characteristics can add depth and nuance to the flavor profile of the beer, creating a unique and often sought-after product.

III. What flavors and aromas does Brettanomyces Bruxellensis contribute to beer?

Brettanomyces Bruxellensis is known for producing a variety of flavors and aromas in beer, including:

– Fruity esters such as pineapple, cherry, and pear
– Spicy phenols reminiscent of clove, pepper, and cinnamon
– Earthy or barnyard-like aromas that can be described as musty, funky, or leathery
– Tartness or acidity that can add a refreshing quality to the beer

These characteristics can vary depending on the specific strain of Brettanomyces used, as well as the fermentation conditions and aging process of the beer.

IV. How is Brettanomyces Bruxellensis used in brewing?

Brettanomyces Bruxellensis is often used in mixed fermentation beers, where it is combined with Saccharomyces yeast and possibly other microorganisms such as Lactobacillus or Pediococcus. This can result in complex and layered flavors that evolve over time as the beer ages. Brett can also be used as a secondary fermentation agent in bottle-conditioned beers, where it continues to develop flavors and carbonation in the bottle.

V. What are the potential risks of using Brettanomyces Bruxellensis in brewing?

While Brettanomyces Bruxellensis can contribute desirable characteristics to beer, there are also potential risks associated with its use. Brett is a slow fermenter compared to Saccharomyces yeast, which can result in extended fermentation times and unpredictable outcomes. It can also be difficult to control, as Brett can continue to ferment sugars even in finished beer, leading to over-carbonation or off-flavors if not properly managed.

VI. How can Brettanomyces Bruxellensis be controlled in the brewing process?

To control Brettanomyces Bruxellensis in the brewing process, brewers can take several precautions:

– Use separate equipment for brewing beers with Brett to prevent cross-contamination
– Monitor fermentation temperatures and pH levels to discourage Brett growth
– Store and age Brett beers in a separate area to prevent unintentional contamination
– Use strong sanitization practices to minimize the risk of Brett infection

By following these guidelines and practicing good brewing hygiene, brewers can harness the unique characteristics of Brettanomyces Bruxellensis while minimizing the potential risks associated with its use.