BBA/EBY Brett Experiment Update 1

Hello fellow BBA/EBY experiment collaborators. This is the first update concerning the BBA/EBY Brett Experiment. I would like to begin by thanking Jeff for the good collaboration so far and all the other people who are willing to take the risk testing some of my strains. Additional thanks to Luke and Ryan for their contributions about the evaluation sheets. Cheers to all that. And thanks for all the people offering to send me some unique dregs and yeasts as well. I would like to proceed with some numbers:

  • 32 collaborators are officially in for the experiment (One subscriber, George Peterson did not write me any email yet)
  • 308 samples will be sent out for the experiment so far (might further increase)
  • From the 32 collaborators, 1 is not from the US (and it isn’t me)
  • 7 collaborators will test the entire 20 strains (awesome!)

I would like to give you further information about the experiment today and cover some other questions I got asked so far.

Can I still sign up for the experiment?

You signed up but would like to test more/less strains?

  • Write me an email with your request. We will find a solution

Updates concerning the recipe/process:

  • Fermentation temperatures and fermentation times. We left this one open so people can pick what they feel most comfortable with. Please feel free to play with fermentation temperatures and times if you like. One request though. Please remember the numbers such as fermentation temperatures and times for the evaluation later on
  • Please try to measure the terminal gravities before bottling. This is necessary to get the attenuation levels for the different strains
  • Split batch sizes. Take whatever fermentation volume you feel most comfortable with. Jeff and I will both brew a 10 gal (40 L) batch and split the batch into 0.5 gal shares to test all the 20 strains. If someone would like to brew more than that, please adjust the pitching rate
  • Pitching rates. Expect to get about 1.2 million yeast cells per tube (see picture below) and go from there.2013-07-23-19-55-27Pitching the 1 mL liquid culture into a 200 mL DME unstirred starter should give you roughly 25 billion (+/- 3 billion) yeast cells after 10 to 14 days. Corresponding to roughly 12 mL of yeast slurry. This should be enough yeast to pitch 0.5 gal directly. If you need bigger cell counts, use the and use 25 billion cells as initial cell count if you have done a 200 mL starter first. As far as I can tell from my Brett starters, the starter volumes are quite comparable to normal yeast but Brett need more time. So don’t expect the Bretts to eat through a starter within 24 h. To evaluate how much yeast you got after each starter, try to estimate the yeast sediment volume (in mL) and multiply it by two to get to the cells in billion. For example, 12 mL of yeast slurry are equal to 24 billion yeast cells
  • When should I bottle the beers? Bottle the beers as soon as you think they are ready. It is hard to make any predictions here since I have no idea how the strains perform. Some strains might be done fermenting after seven days, others might need more time. I for my part will give the primary fermentation about two weeks and then evaluate which beers to bottle

Yeast shipping

  • I am currently stepping up all the 20 strains to have enough viable yeast for the shipping. This will take another few days for sure before I can prepare the first tubes. I plan to send out the yeasts on Monday, the 26th of August. According to my post office, you should get the yeasts after three to seven days
  • The yeasts will be sent out without any cooling pads as Bretts should be fine with ambient temperatures. Further on, I will supply the yeasts with fresh media to give them something to do during the shipping. As long as the parcels are not exposed to sun light for several hours, they should be fine. If someone expects problems with this approach, please let me know

I got the yeasts, what’s next to do?

  • I would advise you to prepare small starters (200 mL at max) some days after the 26th of August to be prepared for the yeasts. For a 200 mL starter, add 20 g of dry malt extract to 200 mL of water and sterilize it using a pressure cooker if possible. Mason jars could be well suited for the starters. Any smaller volumes works as well. Just don’t go beyond a starter volume of 10 mL.
  1. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap first
  2. Flick at the bottom of the tubes to get the yeast pellet on the bottom of the tube back into suspension. Prevent any vivid shaking of the tubes
  3. Sanitize the tubes if possible with alcohol (Vodka etc) or a sanitizer
  4. Remove the Parafilm wrap from the top of the tube. There might be some pressure forcing some gas out of the tubes or even lift the lid. So be prepared. I would press down the lid with my thumb (or any other finger you like) while removing the parafilm and then gently open the lid
  5. Open the tube, avoid touching any inner parts of the tube lid and pour the entire content of the tube into your yeast starter
  6. Shake your starter a bit and leave it as it is
  • If you planned to do the batch for the experiment later on, please prepare the starters as well. The Bretts can be stored in the starters for weeks to months and it would be better for the yeasts to let them recover from the shipping procedure
  • If this in no option, store the tubes at a cool place. Don’t freeze them! They might not survive that
  • Expect to wait at least 10 days before you see signs of activity in the starters. I know this might be hard for some of you but please don’t write to me complaining about dead yeasts before the 10 days mark
  • If you encounter any problems during the starter steps (no signs of fermentation visible after 10 days, contaminations etc) please let me know what problem you encountered ( I will send you some fresh yeasts immediately

What about the evaluation process?

If there is anything left unanswered, please let me know. That’s it for the first update. Thanks for your help and cheers, Sam


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