Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Berliner Weisse

I'm supposed to be taking a break from brewing, I'm doing a massive equipment upgrade, and everything I have is spread out and in a million pieces, but I just couldn't help myself

So I brewed up a berliner weiss today with some help from my buddy Jesse (stirring the decoction), You can't beat free labor!, for those that don't know, a berliner weiss is a sour low gravity German ale fermented with lactobacillus. They are typically very highly carbonated (3.5-4vol), and a shot of fruit syrup is added to taste in the glass

I made one last year using Wyeast's Berliner Weiss 3191, unfortunately after contacting Wyeast I found out that it isn't being release this year, It made a good beer but took 3-4mos in bottle to taste great, So I'm getting started early this year so I have this one for early summer. I decided to run with US05, and WL677 Lactobacillus, the wyeast mix also has brett, but from what I understand that is not a strain that you can purchase, so I decided to skip it,

Berliner Weiss
5.5gal: OG 1044: 5IBU

5 lbs German Pils
3 lbs Wheat Malt
0.4 oz Hallertaur (20min)

WL677 - Lactobacillus Delbrueckii

10min @ 132F - Infusion
40min @ 147F - Decoction
10min @ 168F - Decoction

Notes: I didnt boil this one, the hops sat in the how wort for ~ 20min, I could've just raised the temp to 190ish to sterilize the wort, but I really didnt care that much: I also did a double decoction, I chilled to 60F, pitched the lacto, and gave it a 6hr head start on the US05, I did this hoping for a fairly sour beer, but only time will tell. The reason I did a double decoction on this one, is that with such a light beer it really helps the complexity, and you can really see what a decoction brings to a beer


Russ said...

You may already know this, but you can skip the lacto cultures all together and sour your beer by throwing a handful of malt into the mash and letting it sour over a couple days. I believe BYO had an article about it a couple months ago. I'm hoping to try it myself soon (in my case to brew a Gose) but I must admit I'm a bit intimidated by wild bacteria!

Ryan said...

I've actually done a sour mash, but it smells horrible, and the smell that comes off the boil makes your house smell like hot rotting garbage

Personally I understand why some would go that route, but I'd much rather get consistent results, good luck if you try it - let me how it goes if you do!

Russ said...

Hmmm... A nice laboratory-produced lacto culture is sounding pretty good, now that you mention it! (I too am a fan of consistency.)

Stephen said...

One trick to sour mashing, btw, is to cover the mash by putting some barrier directly on top of it (I always use plastic wrap), forcing out as many air bubbles as possible from the surface while it is souring. If you keep the temperature as close to 120F as possible (l. delbruckii ferments best between 113F and 140F) you encourages the lactobaccillus naturally occurring on the malt to develop while discouraging things like acetobacter and clostridium. After 3 days, my sour mashes generally come out smelling quite neutral (I usually get some aceto, I think, because there's usually a bit of vinegary nose), and adding them to mash and/or boiling the wort from them is not unpleasant at all.

That said, it is a more variable process, but the results are more complex and well-rounded too.

Dan said...

I've done the procedure of pitching both Lacto and US05 at the same time with subpar results. The sacc. quickly takes over without giving the lacto a chance. I plan on brewing one in a couple weeks and giving the lacto probably 48hrs before pitching S04 (to change things up) and doing the decoction/mash hopping method.

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