Rebel without a clue

After a week delay, thanks to my not-so-local homebrew shop, I brewed up another fun experiment. This time I am bringing the funk to a darker level. A stout fermented with Brettanomyces Lambicus and Lactobacillus. A stout with a beat you can dance to. Road Runner, Rebel Stout.

Ever since I took a slight step back, as I mentioned last time, brewing has become easier and even more enjoyable. This brew day was smooth even though I was introducing a new piece of equipment (an electric HLT) and the process with this beer was a little different. I hit all my numbers and had amazingly clear and quick run-off. In the boil is where this brew day was different than usual. Since the beer is intended to be partially fermented by Lactobacillus, the IBU’s from the hops would be a problem. Lactobacillus rolls over and dies at the mere mention of hops. To get around that I ran off 5 liters of beer after 15 minutes of boiling and before the first hop addition. This was then chilled and had Wyeast Lactobacillus thrown in. The rest of the wort continued to boil and receive two additions of East Kent Goldings before being chilled and pitched with a good starter of Wyeast Brettanomyces Lambicus. If my hillbilly math works out the OG should be 1.058 after blending (5 liters @ OG 1.050 + 15 liters @ OG 1.060).

One of the things I wanted to accomplish here is to see what a real lactobacillus fermentation will produce compared to the lactic acid laden Acid malt I used in the last beer. Obviously this stout will have a bunch of other flavors in the way but I still think I should be able to pick up on the complexity of the lactic character and be able to compare that aspect. We’ll see.

Road Runner – Rebel Stout
  • beer after blending: 20 liters
  • OG of total blend: 1.058
  • Expected FG: 1.012??
  • Expected ABV: 6.1%
  • Expected IBU: 27
  • Expected Color: 69.5 EBC (35 SRM)
  • Boil duration: 60 minutes
  • 40% Pale Ale
  • 40% Munich
  • 8% Aroma
  • 6% Roasted Barley
  • 6% Dehusked Chocolate (800 EBC)
  • 30g East Kent Goldings @ 45 minutes
  • 20g East Kent Goldings @ 10 minutes
  • Single infusion mash @ 68°C (154°F)


  • 5 liters un-hopped wort – Wyeast Lactobacillus
  • 15 liters –  Wyeast Brettanomyces Lambicus
If it doesn’t turn out well I may have to change the name to Dead Duck – Drain Pour Stout

Brewed on April 3, 2011

Update April 8, 2011: Despite pitching a large amount of brett L and Lacto, there was no sign of activity for the first three days. After 72 hours there was some positive pressure in the airlocks but no real sign of fermentation. Now almost 5 days later there is still no krausen and not much activity in the airlock. Getting worried.

Update May 4, 2011: pretty much right after my last update the beer really took off. That was the longest lag time I’ve had on a brett beer. Fermented nicely and the two are now blended together. The brett portion was at 1.020 but will continue to slowly come down (I expect it to stop around 1.014). The Lacto portion is not so easy to measure since the lactic acid it produces is actually denser than water so a hydrometer is useless (I should have taken pH readings before and after). The sourness developed very nicely on the nose and in taste. A bit of appley balsamic flavor with a bright crispness underneath and slight vegetal. Went well with the chocoalte notes in the beer. Tasted different ratios of the two portions but surprisingly enough 1/4 lacto portion to 3/4 brett portion tasted the best. So all 5liters of lacto portion went into the brett batch. Now the beer needs to sit a couple-few months.

4 thoughts on “Rebel without a clue

  1. Huh, Im planning something similar soon, although Im gonna call it more of an oud brun than a stout, one big area where I think we will diverge though is the lacto

    I plan on isolating a culture from Jolly pumpkin and using it along with brett L, JP’s bugs are much less effected by IBU’s in my experience, I will be very interested in hearing how sour the lacto only portion gets, I havent tried that because Ive always been worried that it wont get a whole batch sour enough


    1. When I was trying to determine how much of the beer to ferment with the lacto I really had no idea what to think. There is very little good information about fermenting only with lacto like this. I like the “idea” of using a separate lacto ferment because (once I figure out how sour it actually gets) it seems like it should give consistent results no mater how much IBU’s you have in your beer. If the JP lactic bacteria are really good against IBU then that is something I’ll have to look at too. I’ll be watching out for what you do with that.

      I am still waiting for both to start fermenting. Still no signs of activity even though I pitched a healthy amount of Brett L. and Lactobacillus.


    1. Sorry that I’ve not been very active with the blog lately. Anyways, The beer turned out quite fantastic actually. I left both portions on their yeast/bacteria for quite a while (5-6 weeks seems to be good for all brett beers). The brett L portion was at 1.020 and the lactobacillus portion was at 1.046 before I blended them. I did a couple samples but actually the best combo was all the lacto portion in all the Brett portion. My guess of 5liters for the lacto portion turned out to be spot on.

      Due to the birth of my second child I let the beer bulk age until september before bottling. The beer ended at 1.018 but that isn’t perfectly accurate because a lacto ferment can actually drive up the reading. The beer actually comes across much drier. It really did turn out to be a nice beer. The lacto level is up there but not overpowering. The odd thing is that the roasted notes really got cut down by the brett. The chocolate notes survived but the more bitter roast almost vanished. Its a nice complex melange of chocolate, nuts, tart fruits and everything I love about Oud Bruins thrown in. The guys at De Struise Brouwers were fans when I had them try it, so it can’t be bad!

      Thanks for asking about it. I have been missing my blog here for a while and think I need to get back into it now, if life plays along that is.


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