Friday, September 10, 2010

Gosebier - Fermented with a Sauerkraut Culture?

So awhile back I was writing up a post about fermented pickles, when a something popped into my head. Gosebier. Well at first thought you might think that was kind of a weird connection, but the more you ponder the connection the more it seems to grow.

Gosebier is a very old German style beer that is a bit out of the ordinary. Its a sour beer, which there is another German example (Berliner Weiss) but this beer has additions of both coriander and salt, and sometime oats! None of which was allowed under reinheitsgebot, but Gose developed outside Bavaria, so the law wasn't an issue until the unification of Germany in the late 1800's. It was even bottled with an extremely long think neck which allowed for a natural plug of yeast and bacteria to stopper the bottle allowing for a soft carbonation! If you ask me this is quite an interesting beer.

Ok, so fast forward back to pickle making. When I make pickles to speed the process and keep things more consistent I use some of the juice from an old batch to kick start the fermentation of a new batch. Sort of like pitching a yeast cake into some new wort. That process got me thinking about both pickles and gosebier, both of which were made in the same parts of Germany. Would it have been possible that a mix up occurred and some of the lees from a pickle or sauerkraut fermentation found their way into a beer barrel by accident? If they did it might explain how both coriander and salt are used in brewing gosebier (both are common pickling spices)

Well I really liked this idea and have been planning on trying it out for quite some time. The more I thought about it though, the more it seemed that sauerkraut brine would more likely be a better source of bugs for the gose. The juice in sauerkraut doesn't have all the additional spices like dill and garlic that wouldn't taste right in a gosebier, so I waited until I had eaten several jars of sauerkraut I had made. I then poured off much of the juice leaving a layer of bacteria and yeast in the bottom to add to my wort.

Well that's pretty much where I'm at right now. I brewed up a ~1gal batch using wheat DME, coriander, and a small amount of hops. I added the and within 24hrs its happily bubbling away. I keep sneaking sniffs of the fermenting beer and it has a similar smell to a B-weiss I brewed last year with yeast from Al on BBB, so I'm really hoping this turns out, at the very least it will be interesting.......

Gosebier - Fermented with Sauerkraut sauerkraut dregs culture
Malt Bill
Amt (lbs)Type
0.75Wheat DME
Amt TypeTime
4 conesWillamette (4.5%)20
1 pinchSaltKO
YeastFermented Sauerkraut Culture
0.85gal boilIBU<5?


Kris said...

How did this turn out? I'm contemplating trying this myself.

Russ said...

Very interesting to say the least. Do you have any idea what exactly is in a Sauerkraut culture? Regardless, looking forward to hearing the results. I'm thinking of brewing another Gose myself around Christmas (this time using an aquarium heater to keep my temps up during the lactic fermentation).

Ryan said...

Kris - I am actually letting it sit awhile, it started to develop a pellicle after about 2wks or so, I plan on repitching some of the yeast into another attempt in the next couple weeks though

Russ - No idea at all, Im assuming some lacto/pedio/yeasts etc, all have to be fairly tolerant of high salinity though, Maybe we can do a trade of all my weird gosebiers and your more traditional versions?

gregclimbs said...

I did a 5 gallon batch recently.

Never tried a commercial sample.

The lacto finally is taking a hold:

can't wait to try it.


Vince Clortho, Keymaster of Gozer said...

This seems like it might be expected given kraut scum. Have you retried? I made a starter with kraut that smells like paint. It started growing fur before I put it on the stir plate.

Ryan said...

Im not sure what you mean by kraut scum, are you talking about the white layer that forms if too much 02 gets to it?

and Im actually current gearing up for a full batch

In my pickling I dont get the white layer as I am extremely careful to not have anything including spices coming within the top inch or so of the brine, I use a SS screen to keep things down

Vince Clortho, Keymaster of Gozer said...

So you can the kraut right away? I have a crock that I'm in and out of a lot. Wouldn't the canning process kill some of the beasties you're looking to use?

Ryan said...

No, I actually have started using a bucket with an airlock to keep out oxygen, since doing this I dont get that white scum layer on top and the flavor is a bit cleaner tasting and definitely smelling

I generally put it in a jar after about 2wks but dont cook or heat it at all, just gets tossed into a fridge for storage

Peter said...

I have been following your blog for a while and was intrigued by this beer.

So I decided to also do a 1 gallon trial using culture from a fresh batch of Sauerkraut I made 3 weeks ago (thanks for the idea for that as well). I collected remaining liquid from the kraut ~ 1/2 pint after jarring and it was very milky so I was hoping there was lots of yeast and bacteria.

I followed your recipe above, and pour about 2/3rds of the culture in. The other third I used to start another batch of kraut and pickles (which are going great).

It's been about 5 days and no fermentation activity. However, a pellicle has started to form on the surface.

Did I do something wrong, any advice? Should I pitch some yeast to get some fermentation going?

Ryan said...


Ive had a similar experience as well, and I believe it was from using lees that were a tad too old. Your beer will likely be very bretty, not a bad thing ( to me at least). In the future if you try this again I would suggest using the lees from a very fresh batch of sauerkraut or pickles, probably 1-2wks or less

good luck!

Peter said...

Hi Ryan,

The sauerkraut was fermented for 3 weeks and then jarred. The lees were also jarred and the test batch brewed the same day. They were less than 24 hours old.

Are you saying that I should harvest fresh lees from a batch that has only been fermenting for 1 or 2 weeks.


Ryan said...


That's exactly what Im saying. Ive had my best luck with using the lees from pickles that were fermenting for 1-2wks at most, and in fact once I see a nice dusting of white at the bottom I usually drain most of the brine and then only use the small bit left behind.

You can then add back all the brine and let the pickles continue to ferment

Peter said...

I'll give that a try on the next batch.

Thanks again for all the help!

Jason Starling said...

Ryan, don't know if you check in on this post, but how long did your gose take to finish? I have 2 gallons going right now, roughly modeled after this, and I'm wondering if I should go ahead and plan to rack to secondary in a few weeks and let it sit for a while.

Unknown said...

I love this idea. One thing to keep in mind is lacto cultures not grown up with some asking of hops will not be hop acid tolerant causing the issues mentioned above with the fermentation not starting. I've definitely run into this before. Maybe you can slightly hop your next batch of sauer kraut. :)

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