Last month Lost Rhino Brewing Company in Ashburn, Virginia purchased two open fermentors. The fermentors are shorter and squatter than the rest of the closed cylindroconical, or “uni-tank”, fermentors at the brewery. Open fermentors require a transferring of beer after primary fermentation, before secondary fermentation. “We, of course, have concerns keeping things clean,” wrote Lost Rhino bremaster Favio Garcia via email. “So as primary fermentation ends we will transfer to one of our uni-tanks for conditioning.”

These particular open fermentation tanks were once housed at the Yards Brewing Company in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. At their old residence the Yards fermentors converted historically based wort into modern beer in Yards’ Ales of the Revolution Series. Beers like General Washington’s Tavern Porter were once fermented in the two tanks.

So what will go in the fermenters? It will likely be Lost Rhino’s flagship India Pale Ale, Face Plant. Garcia said, “I am really curious to see how our ale strain does in the open tanks.” Rhino is fermenting with Wyeast Laboratories' 1272, which is rumored to be the ale yeast from one of the most respected, historic, steam beer brewers in San Francisco. “It should be interesting to taste the Face Plant IPA from the open and from the standard conical tanks.”

Also acquired recently by Lost Rhino was a stainless steel cylindrical brite tank. The tall, slim, fermetor holds 850 gallons of beer and while the delivery of a brite tank is seldom newsworthy, the brewers at Lost Rhino have big plans for this small tank. Brewer Alex Lynch wrote via email, “we are actually going to use [the tank] as a fermenter for 100% Brett fermentations.” And what will be the first beer out of the Brett-tank? It will likely be an IPA.

Recently having had a chance to try two of the first ever Brettanomyces-laden samples from Lost Rhino, I am pleased to say the Brettanomyces beers are showing much promise. One of the beers started out as Icebreaker Imperial India Pale Ale. It was first fermented in a stainless steel uni-tank then aged 3-5 months in a once-used bourbon barrel. After that time the beer underwent a secondary fermentation with Brettanomyces for another 3-4 months.


The second beer, Face Plant India Pale Ale, began as Face Plant wort and was added to a once used heavily rinsed bourbon barrel. It was then fermented with a 100% Brettanomyces culture.

The “trial run” as Lynch put it was a strain of Brettanomyces cultured from a bottle of Cantillon. The Cantillon yeast was cultured by local scientist/brewer Jasper Akerboom. Akerboom also isolated the yeast for Lost Rhino’s Wild Farmwell Wheat. The Brettanomyces beers were excellent, the Face Plant with pineapple and mild-citric notes while the Ice Breaker possessed earthy, coconut, rum-like qualities. In the future, it looks like Rhino will select a different Brettanomyces culture going forward. According to Lynch, “We are currently building up a different Brett strain for the All-Brett IPA Jasper also cultured this one from the same Cantillon bottle but it tastes significantly different.” Follow DCBeer and follow Lost Rhino for more updates.