Taking a Bet on Brett


By Art Whitaker


Every June, a select group of breweries from all over the world are invited to Amsterdam to participate in Carnivale Brettanomyces. This festival, created by Jan Beekaa Lemmens, celebrates everything funky—especially the brewing yeast Brettanomyces—and includes pourings, dinners, and educational events at various breweries, bottle shops, and other venues scattered across this beautiful and historic city. There’s even an event during which select homebrewers are invited to pour.


Five Southern breweries and a Southern yeast lab were among the celebrated breweries invited to participate in what Porchdrinking.com lists as one of the ten international beer fests you cannot miss, among them Orpheus Brewing (Atlanta, GA); Birds Fly South (Greenville, SC); Fonta Flora Brewery (Morganton, NC); Jester King Brewery (Austin, TX); Yazoo Brewing Company’s Embrace the Funk (Nashville, TN); and VonSeitz TheoreticAles (Smithville, TN). Bootleg Biology of Nashville, Tennessee was also invited to participate as part of the educational aspect of the festival.


Brettanomyces is a brewing yeast that has been used either intentionally or unintentionally for hundreds of years. It is a vital component of many sour and funky beers, but it must be noted that—as celebrated sour and funky brewer Brandon Jones (Yazoo Brewing Company) opines—“Brett does not equal Sour.” Brett can impart numerous flavors that include fruity, floral, horse blanket, and rustic among its many profiles. You read that right. Remember, it’s funky. It has the ability to metabolize more sugars than the standard Saccharomyces yeast that many breweries have used, which tends to make beer brewed with Brett taste drier.


Below is a quick recipe that can help you explore the wonders of Brett. You can basically use any recipe that you currently use and use Brett by itself or in conjunction with another yeast or bacteria. NOTE:  Because Brett has the ability to metabolize more sugars than Sacch yeast, I recommend making sure you have several stable final gravity readings over a period of a couple weeks before packaging to prevent bottle bombs and gushers. 


Recipe can be found at www.beerandbrewing.com/make-your-best-brett-beer/


Josh Weikert’s Brett Brew


9 lbs. 2-row pale malt

1 lb. Munich malt

1/2 lb. British Crystal 45L

1/2 lb. flaked barley (can substitute wheat or oats)

1 oz. Nugget at 60

1 oz. Simcoe at 5

1 oz. Amarillo (Whirlpool)

1 oz. Citra (Whirlpool)

Yeast Wyeast 5112  Brett Brux


This recipe is around 52 IBU’s. A standard mash profile of 150 degrees for 60 minutes should work fine. The beauty of the recipe is that you can personalize it, but I recommend keeping your caramel malts low to explore the flavors that the many strains of Brett provide.