Brett and Sour Beer Brewing – BeerSmith Podcast #17

by Brad Smith on June 14, 2011 · 7 comments

This week we talk about methods for making sour and wild beers using Brettanomyces yeast (Brett). Brett is used in many sour beers styles including Lambics, Gueze, Oud Bruin, Berliner Weisse, and others. My guests are Drew Beechum and Nathan Smith – both of whom have done extensive brewing using Brett.

Download the MP3 File – Right Click and “Save As” to download this mp3 file


Reminder: BeerSmith 2 is Here!

You can grab your free 21 day trial copy of BeerSmith 2 here!

Topics in This Week’s Episode (44:48)

  • This week’s guests are Drew Beechum, author of the “Everything Homebrewing Book” and Nathan Smith, of the homebrewing site.
  • In the announcements, I cover the launch of BeerSmith 2.0 – for both PC and Mac. The program was released just days ago, and you can grab your 21 day free trial from our main website at
  • Drew tells us some of the more popular styles that use Brett for making popular sour beer styles.
  • Nathan explains exactly what Brettanomyces (Brett) yeast is and what it does to beer.
  • Drew tells us what is “normal” for a Brett fermentation and cautions us to use kegging vs bottling.
  • Nathan explains how to try to determine when the end of fermentation is complete and how to get the most out of your Brett fermentation.
  • Drew talks about how to push the funky character forward – including adding fresh wort along with the Brett.
  • Nathan talks about using fruit with your Brett beer – including blackberries and cherries.
  • Drew explains why you need to keep your plastic items used with Brett segregated from your other equipment as plastic or porus materials can be contaminated by Brett.
  • We chat a bit about Drew’s brewing for the AHA conference
  • Drew talks about sour mashing and how it can be used as an alternative for brewing sour beer
  • Nathan talks about using wood to age your sour beer and his experiments working with oak
  • Both guests provide their final thoughts on brewing with Brett!

Thanks again to Drew Beechum and Nathan Smith who were kind enough to appear on the show!

Thoughts on the Podcast?

Leave me a comment below or visit our discussion forum to leave a comment in the podcast section there.

Subscribe to the Podcast

Great News! We’ve been featured in the New and Notable podcasts on iTunes.

Subscribe on iTunes

If you are not using iTunes, you can subscribe using this feed:


And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the blog and my newsletter (use the links in the sidebar) – to get free weekly articles on home brewing.

Related Beer Brewing Articles from BeerSmith:

Enjoy this Article? You'll Love Our BeerSmith Software!
  Don't make another bad batch of beer! Give BeerSmith a try - you'll brew your best beer ever.
Download a free 21 day trial of BeerSmith now

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Justin McLeod July 24, 2011 at 1:24 pm

Thanks for the podcast! I just discovered your site and your exploration of sour beer was fascinating. I am new to brewing, and have yet to try sour beer, but after this episode I am eager to try it. Thanks again!

Simon January 24, 2012 at 4:15 am

Thanks for the podcast, which was very interesting.
At some point you ask Drew about how much brett you’re supposed to put in your fermenter and he answers something like there’s no scientific answer for that. Does this really mean that it doesn’t matter at all how much brett you put into the fermenter? I’m going to use brett bruxellensis as a 2nd fermenter (for the first time) in af sort of trappist dubbel, but I’m not sure on a couple of things:

1. Exactly when to I pitch into 2nd fermenter? Does the first fermentation have to be done or should there be some normal suger left when adding the brett?
2. How much brett do I pitch to 2nd fermenting for 5-6 gallons?
3. When bottling – should I wait for the fermenting to stop (almost) completely in order to avoid bottle bombs? In that case how do I get carbonation to the beer, when the fermenting has stopped?

Hope someone can answer me.
Best regards,

Brad Smith January 29, 2012 at 1:59 pm

Simon – I’m hoping others will post as well but here’s my best understanding: 1) I think most people pitch Brett fairly early in the secondary fermentation, as the bulk of active fermentation is already complete. 2) This really depends on how much sour flavor you are going for. A little can go a long way… 3) Yes you want to wait for full completion of fermentation to avoid bottle bombs!

Sandro November 15, 2013 at 5:39 pm

To all,

I brewed a wheat beer with cloves and orange peels (15 min end of, 60 min boil).
Inoculation with Brettanomyces l. and B.b.; set the primary at 74 F for two weeks, then brought it down to 45-47 F for a few months; I wish I would have had the patience to keep it at that temperature [45-47 F] for another few months. Great flavor, not overly sour, estery with medium body.

Leave a Comment

{ 3 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: