Home Brewing Questions: Mango Brett Saison

There are great brewing resources at everyone’s fingertips. Still there are many conversations, emails, and private discussions about home brewing that never make it to a forum to be used by others.

I have been fortunate that Michael Tonsmeire, over at The Mad Fermentationist, is patient with all my questions. His sharing of knowledge has been invaluable as I have pursued Brett home brewed beers. The amount of information he has shared in the last year could fill a small book (is that in pages or dimensions). Instead of keeping all this information for myself, I have decided to put them on Sips in an attempt to help fellow home brewers with similar questions. It will also solidify my knowledge as I regurgitate it here. Before I ask Mike a question, I do scour the web for information, usually tuning to him when I have conflicting or suspect information. I trust his opinion but don’t want to abuse it. For those legal eagles, Mike gave me his seal of approval in duplicating our correspondences in part or whole.

The latest line of questions has come in the form of my desire to brew a Mango Brett Saison. The recipe is set (will share when I get a chance) but during the process I asked Mike several questions. I started off on the topic of the amount of fruit, how to handle, and followed up a bit later on the yeast.

  • Aug 10th, 2012, Topic: Mangos (fruit and how to use in a beer)
  • Me: I am thinking of a mango saison. Adding about 4 – 5# to secondary. At this point I am thinking of cutting up the mangos, boiling them for 10 – 15 minutes in some wort that I keep from brew day off to the side. Cooling that down, throwing into a better bottle (for ease of working with it) and then racking on top of it. Assume to leave it on them for a good week. Thoughts?
  • Mike: I tend to do raw/frozen fruit, in my experience boiling just destroys too much of the fresh character of the fruit. Never used mangos, but I had a great sour a friend from Florida brewed with local fruit.
  • Follow up:
  • Me: Being frozed, does that sanitize the fruit? Do I have to worry about sanitation?
  • Mike: Freezing does not kill the microbes. However, if you sanitize what you are using to peel and cut up the fruit I wouldn’t worry about it. After primary fermentation is complete the low pH and alcohol of the beer will provide some protection as well. If you are worried you can give the fruit a quick dip in Star-San, I did this in w papaya pale ale with good results.

This line of thought can be carried through with most any fruit. This will be my first work with home brewing and fruit of any kind. Now it is time for the yeast.

  • Aug 20th, 2012, Topic: Saison yeast and Brett, when to add.
  • Me:1. Pitching Brett after primary with the Mangos. Will there be enough sugars and/or stuff tor the Brett to eat to get character? 2. Pitch the Brett along with the Saison yeast, which I pitch up to 84 degrees. Will that have a bad effect on the Brett because of the temp? 3. Pitch only Brett, adding the Mangos after a month or two and a week before bottling? I guess each one will produce distinct characters, but I am more curious about #1 and 2 and the amount of character and type from the Brett.
  • Mike: 1. Brett can survive on all sort of compounds, no worries there. It will make its character, but it may take some time.
    2. Depends on the strain. Some are great at high temps (White Labs Brett C), while others will make terrible phenolics. Just like ale yeast, there is a huge range. 3. It depends what your goal is. I think 100% Brett with fruit could be really good. I’m really digging the tropical character of my 100% Brett White Labs Trois IPA, might be good with the Mango. Primary with Brett tends to be mellower than secondary with Brett.

Hopefully other home brewers find this useful. I will be placing new conversations on here as well as going through some of the old conversations that have some good content. Enjoy!

Useless Fact: More than 5,000 years ago, the Chinese discovered how to make silk from silkworm cocoons. For about 3,000 years, the Chinese kept this discovery a secret. Because poor people could not afford real silk, they tried to make other cloth look silky. Women would beat on cotton with sticks to soften the fibers. Then they rubbed it against a big stone to make it shiny. The shiny cotton was called “chintz.” Because chintz was a cheaper copy of silk, calling something “chintzy” means it is cheap and not of good quality.

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