Discover A New Horizon With Fermentis’ SafBrew™ BR-8
SafBrew™ BR-8, the first Brettanomyces bruxellensis yeast available to brewers in a dry micro granular format, offers phenolic compounds that create a distinctive finishing touch which evolves over time as the beer is aged, with funkier notes ( i.e., barnyard, horse, leather…) nicely balanced by refreshing, fruity notes. Learn all about SafBrew™ BR-8 in the article below.
Why did Fermentis decide to add this strain to the range?
Brett (Brettanomyces) yeast has always held a rather special place in the beverage fermentation landscape. In winemaking, it’s a dreaded contaminant which can wreak havoc in the winery.
In beer making, the picture is very different. There is plenty of romance around Brett yeast – its wildness, its unpredictability, the funky notes it gives to beer, and the way it evolves over time. Historically it is used with no control, in spontaneous fermentations, especially in beer styles such as Gueuze.
Harnessing such a yeast, making it controllable and to a certain extent predictable, has been an ambitious goal for Fermentis for a while now. And our team of beer experts, which includes many Belgians, made this goal even more personal. The scientific name of the strain is of course Brettanomyces bruxellensis.
As brewers become more and more creative, looking for unusual styles and stand-out flavours, we knew that if we could succeed in producing the very first dried Brett yeast, we’d be providing something new and special to the brewers of the world. And that’s what we’ve achieved with SafBrew™ BR-8.
How was it developed?
Developing SafBrew™ BR-8 was probably the biggest R&D challenge in the history of Fermentis. The unparalleled extent of effort and research that went into this innovative product makes it more special for us. The whole product development phase spans a period of close to 10 years, from isolating the initial yeast strain to successfully producing and drying it.
Over these years, we faced many big challenges, which required specific machinery in new production plants to successfully filter this microorganism, which is considerably smaller in size than our usual yeasts.
It also proved to be quite sensitive to temperature dynamics. Meaning it required extensive testing to reach the best balance between the percentage of dry living matter and the viability of the yeast cells. Of course, after the initial pilot productions, we held trials and tests to make sure this dried Brett was as reliable as our current range, that shelf life was not an issue, and that the flavours produced were the ones expected and typical of this wild yeast strain.
And only after these many years of R&D which included its fair share of triumphs and setbacks, could we officially and confidently launch SafBrew™ BR-8.
What is it for?
SafBrew™ BR-8 is primarily recommended for bottle conditioning & production of specific phenols in bottle refermentation: 4-Ethylguaiacol & 4-Ethylphenol (funky notes such as horse, farm, animal, leather…).
Our Brett yeast assimilates glucose, maltose and maltotriose. It doesn’t assimilate the more complex sugars like dextrins, which makes it more predictable than the completely “wild” Brett yeasts. This means we have successfully harnessed the beast, making it more reliable, repeatable, and less prone to over-saturation or gushing. Since the yeast will consume a lot of the residual sugar, it produces a distinctive Brett signature, for a highly refreshing beer and high drinkability.
The Brett microorganism ferments slowly, and requires a long maturation time, ranging from one month to 6 or more. The Brett signature will evolve, eventually reaching its highest potential after approximately 3 months, but it can change over time and that’s one of the things that makes it so interesting for the end consumer.
What are the main advantages of this product?
SafBrew™ BR-8 gives your beer the very distinctive and funky Brett print but with all the practicality of dried yeast. It’s user-friendly and reliable and results will be consistent. Sugar consumption is limited, so it reduces the risks of oversaturation or gushing. It’s a versatile refermentation strain. Experiment and you will get different results.
Is SAFBREW™ BR-8 in any way comparable to SAFALE™ F-2?
The quick answer is no. SafAle™ F-2 is also a yeast strain designed for bottle refermentation, but it’s much more of a purely “technical” yeast strain, made to produce CO2 in the most neutral of fashions, without changing the flavour profile of the beer.
SafBrew™ BR-8 is another kettle of fish – or horses! It will adjust the organoleptic profile of your beer over time, making it potentially more drinkable and adding this amazing wildness that only Brettanomyces yeast can offer.
At the Brewer World Conclave 2023, Fermentis organised a tasting session with a “Brett ale” brewed by Geist Brewing Co using SafAle™ US-05 and conditioned with SafBrew™ BR-8. The beer gained quite many interests from brewers and participants during the Conclave.
Commenting on this special collaboration brew, Vidya Kubher, Head Brewer at Geist Brewing Co, talks about the “Brett ale” and her experience working with the yeast strain, a “A Brett character without overwhelming intensity was what we wanted in the Geist Brett Ale, and it was interesting to notice flavour changes that happened during the conditioning phase. SafBrew™ BR-8 was developed for cask conditioning, but we chose to do tank conditioning for easy monitoring and control.”
How is it different from the yeast strains you have worked with in the past?
We usually stay away from diastatic strains, bacteria or wild yeast, but we chose to try SafBrew™ BR-8 on a smaller scale in our brewery because it was developed to be dextrin negative.
Can you tell us what kind of beer styles work best with SafBrew™ BR-8?
The trend is to Brett a lot of different beer styles, and we would at some point like to use it in a Sour Beer, Hoppy Beer, Farmhouse Ale, Stout or Fruited Beer. We would of course have to do a lot of trials to understand the strain better.
Were there any challenges you faced while working with the strain?
Using a Brettanomyces strain in our brewery called for higher levels of hygiene and sanitation, but the product being available in dry form helped keep things simple.
To learn more about the technical features of SafBrew™ BR-8, please visit https://fermentis.com/en/product/safbrew-br-8/