ABS Profiles in Zymurgy: Putting the ‘Brett’ in Brettanomyces

Posted by Todd Earnhardt on 8/9/2021 to News
Our August homebrewer profile participant is Brett Jones. Brett lives and brews in Cary and has been an ABS customer for over 7 years. Brett  first started brewing way back in college (in NZ). “We made some awful beer because we did EVERYTHING wrong. Sanitation was negligible, I don’t think it was even brewer’s yeast we used but something in a sachet attached to the can of extract. The beer was SO flawed, but it was cheap, we were poor and were non-discriminating when it came to alcohol".

“Until about 13 years ago, I’d never tasted anyone’s home brew that I enjoyed. Then, I begrudgingly tried a mate’s son’s home brew and was blown away by his IPA that was better than most commercial craft beers I’d tried. I immediately got hold of a guy who’d been encouraging me to brew and I dove in head first.” So began the homebrewing journey of our August featured homebrewer, Brett Jones. This month, Brett has agreed to share some of his homebrewing experiences as well as one of his favorite recipes with us.

ABS: Do you have a favorite style or recipe that you brew?

Brett: I first fell for hoppy IPAs when getting into craft beers and still love them. A great Saison is one of my go to beers these days and I’m doing variants with Brettanomyces, oak & fruit as well as other experimental sours.

ABS: Anyone that has spent any time discussing beer with you knows you are a big Brettanomyces fan and not only use it by design but also as a last resort to recover a less than stellar beer. When did this fascination start?

Brett: I don't recall an epiphany moment as such, but it was soon after I started brewing. A mate who's big into Belgian beers kept having me try all kinds of that style. We really enjoyed Orval and the flavor and aroma it got from the secondary fermentation with Brettanomyces bruxellensis. After reading "Brew Like a Monk", I figured out how to brew an Orval clone.

My first "brett'll fix this" beer was an experimental, over-hopped IPA attempt in about 2013. This was pre-hazies & was murky & astringent from just way too much hop. I was blown away at how Brettanomyces completely transformed the beer into a perfectly clear, utterly dry beer with funky fruity flavors. Now, I’ll chunk Brett on anything I feel needs some extra character.

ABS: What advice would you give to beginning homebrewers or folks thinking about starting the hobby?

Brett: Have an experienced brewer help you out on your first few brews. There's a LOT to learn to do it right. It'd be a shame to mess up on early brews and become discouraged. Read everything you can find on the subject; you can never know too much. Palmer's "How to Brew" is the bible for new brewers. And here in the South, fermentation temperature control is critical.

ABS: What piece of brewing equipment would we have to pry from your cold, dead hand in order to get it away from you?

Brett: All of it! Without the rig, kettles, fermenters, chillers I couldn't brew so I'll defend the lot! I could maybe concede the grain crusher cuz' I can always have y'all crush my grain!

ABS: Have you thought about changing your name to Brettanomyces?

Brett: Everyone calls Brettanomyces just "brett" so I'm just fulfilling my destiny.

ABS: Indeed. Thanks Brett!

Want to brew Brett’s Saison? Check out the recipe for That's How It's Spelt on the ABS webpage.


Date 9/19/2021
Eric G. Vigil
I couldn’t agree with you more. I believe the key to having successfully brewed enjoyable beer is educating yourself on the process, and adhering to sanitation standards. I myself am a novice brewer and have yet to brew a spoiled batch, but I do need a brew mentor to learn from. Some tips on water treatment and valuable techniques would be great. Cheers!

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