Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Monnik Blonde (Brett Trois): Recipe & Tasting

Base Recipe

I brewed this recipe with the plan of splitting the batch, giving half White Labs Abbey Ale (WLP530) and giving the other half White Labs Brettanomyces Bruxellensis Trois (WLP644), which is a Brettanomyces strain isolated from Drie Fonteinen.  The goal was to see the effect of the different yeasts on the ultimate beer, and also to get a better feel for the Brett character that would come out of a primary fermentation with this strain.  I also wanted to build up a large amount of WLP644 to save for future batches.  A week after kegging this, I brewed Atlas Trois IPA, another beer with WLP644 as the primary yeast strain, coupled with an IPA hop bill comprised entirely of Galaxy hops.

The tasting notes for the Brett portion of this beer are below; I plan to do a write up of the "clean" version soon.  The recipe for the full batch is as follows:

Batch Number: 40/41
Brew Date: June 21, 2012
Keg Date: July 28, 2012
Batch Size: 8 Gallon
OG: 1.046 (measured)
FG: 1.008 (Brett version)
IBU: 36.8
ABV: 5.0%
SRM: 3.7

Mash: Single infusion for 60 minutes at 151 F.
Boil: 60 minute


7lb 13oz  French Pilsner
5lb 8oz    White Wheat Malt
2lb 5oz    Flaked Wheat
8oz          Rice Hulls

3.0 oz Styrian Celeja (4.0 AAU) at 60 minutes
1.5 oz Styrian Celeja (4.0 AAU) at 15 minutes
1.5 oz Styrian Celeja (4.0 AAU) at 0 minutes


1 ea. Whirlfloc tablet at 10 minutes
1/2 tsp Yeast nutrient at 10 minutes


White Labs Abbey Ale (WLP530) (half batch)
White Labs Brettanomyces Bruxellensis Trois (WLP644) (half batch)

Appearance: Pours a mostly-clear pale orange / deep golden color with some light copper highlights.  Nice fluffy white head with good retention and plenty of sticky lacing on the sides of the glass.  Long-lasting cap on the top of the brew as well.  It could be a bit clearer, but other than that, this aspect of the beer turned out quite well.  2.5/3.

Aroma: The nose is fairly-faint compared with the flavor, which has a lot more fruit and general Brettanomyces character.  The background provides a bit of citrus character and floral hops along with a bit of earth.  As it warms more, a bit of a grapefruit-pith character comes through, alongside some standard horse blanket Brettanomyces character.  7.5/12.

Flavor: The flavor starts out with a nice burst of tropical-fruit flavors, including some mango and a touch of pineapple.  Behind that is a bit of peach and apricot character.  Slight tartness comes through as well alongside a very mild earthy funk.  Light floral hop character in the background, and coming through the finish a bit more as it warms.  There is some bitterness there, but that could probably go up a touch, or at least have some additional mineral additions to up the perceived bitterness.  Warmth brings more Brettanomyces character as some of the fruitiness and hop citrus character fades away.  15/20.

Feel: The body is fairly light, though feels a bit heavier than it actually is because the carbonation isn't as high as I would like it to be.  I need to turn that up a factor, and there might be an additional boost here.  The bitterness level is also a bit low for what I would prefer.  3/5.

Overall: I'm not disappointed with the way this one came up, but I was hoping for a bit more.  For a future batch, I'd go with a bit more bitterness, a slightly lighter body, and additional carbonation.  Luckily, given that I kegged all of this batch, I'll be able to correct the last of these issues.  After upping the carbonation, I plan to use my Blichmann Beer Gun to bottle at least a bit of this to see if any Brett that is still in suspension can do some additional work on the beer.  In the future, this beer might be a good base to experiment with the usage of multiple strains of Brett, using one in the primary to get its more-fruity character, and then another for bottle conditioning to get a drier, more-leathery and earthy feel to the beer.  Using this in primary along with a separate Bruxellensis or Lambicus variety could prove interesting.  7/10.

Overall score: 35/50


  1. nice post, thanks for the recipe. I have never used styrian celeja before, but they seem to be interesting.

    how do they compare to styrian goldings, or other hops like amarillo? You say you got a lot of tropical fruit aroma/flavor out of them. Does it compare to that of citra or cascade?

    1. I hadn't used Styrian Celeja before this either, but they turned out quite well. They're much more apparent in the version fermented with the abbey strain. They still have the typical floral character of Styrian Goldings, but add a bit of a citrus punch. The citrus character added isn't nearly as much as something like Amarillo or Cascade, and is nowhere near something like Citra.

      As for the tropical fruit, I think that came more from the Brett Brux Trois than from the hops, as I didn't really get any tropical fruit from the abbey strain version. I hope to have a review of that portion up this week.