hist-brewing: Brettanomyces, stone beer

Jeff Renner nerenner at umich.edu
Thu May 25 06:34:41 PDT 2000

Some random thoughts and observations:

I think it was Adam that was concerned that Brettanomyces spp. might be
inauthentic for beers other than those Belgian in style.  The name
Brettanomyces means, if I am not mistaken, "British fungus,"  in Latin,
does it not?  I think it was first isolated from true secondary
fermentations of old ale in England in the late 19th C.  True secondary as
opposed to just the slower stage of primary fermentation.  One species I
recall is B. dublinensis or something like that, which should give an idea
of its origin.  I think it is fairly ubiquitous.  There are strains that
are unique to the Lambic producing areas of Belgium or Brussels, however.

Zymurgy had an article on stone beer some time back but I can't seem to
find it.  Unfortunately, I don't think they've ever published an index.  I
had thought that the late lamented Brewing Techniques had published one
too, but a search of their online index
http://brewingtechniques.com/brewingtechniques/EditorialIndex.html failed
to turn one up.  Perhaps someone else could find it.  Al?

Let me tell you all from my experience with malting oats that getting
poorly modified oat malt is not difficult.  Mine was all over the place -
some barely chitted, others overgrown.  It worked, but I didn't get great

I would be concerned with mashing 2/3 raw oats with 1/3 British pale malt.
I think it would lack the necessary diastase.  A typical British malts
diastase level is around 60 deg. Lintner.  An iodine check would tell if it
the mash converted.  Certainly a portion of Continental lager malt (100L),
US 2-row (120L) or 6-row (150L) or distillers malt (320L!) would be some

I believe that 112F (44C) is considered a beta glucanase rest.  This would
help break down the high levels of beta glucans in oats and might promote a
freer running mash.  Of course, you'd have to have either malted oats or
some other malt present for this to work.

I think the recent discussion has been terrific.  Makes me want to brew
some old, herbed beer.  Or better, taste some.  Thanks, Adam, for being
such great leavening.


Jeff Renner in Ann Arbor, Michigan USA, c/o nerenner at umich.edu
"One never knows, do one?"  Fats Waller, American Musician, 1904-1943. 

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