Friday, April 22, 2011

Sauerkraut Gose - Full Batch Trial

In what seems like forever ago, I brewed up a simple extract 1gal gosebier to test the waters of my insanity. I had been thinking and reading a lot about the origins of gosebiers and it seemed to me that a plausible explanation for such an odd ball German beer was an accident. I thought at the time, and still do, that an accidental switching of barrel lees could have resulted in the first gosebier. Now whether or not this really happened or if instead it was due to the sanitation processes of the time, fermenting a gose with the dregs of pickles and sauerkraut sound like an interesting idea.

Well I ended up giving it a go with a small batch to see if this would be a terrible or amazing idea. I didn't have much to loose, after all it was only 1gal of wort. So back in September of last year I tossed in the lees from a homemade batch of sauerkraut. Luckily within a day or so the beer was vigorously fermenting away and a nicely tart aroma was burping out of the airlock! I was pretty excited, but with most of my brewing I stashed it away to give it time to really develop. Every now and then I would take a look at it, and after a month or so it developed a very thin pellicle. Fast forward to a couple days ago when I decided it was finally time to bottle it up and go full scale if it tasted good.

I was a bit nervous about how the flavor would come out. Would it be terrible? Too salty? Would it taste like pickle juice? To my surprise it was actually very good! It was nicely tart, somehow extremely clean tasting with just a wisp of coriander. This was what I was hoping for, but not what I expected. The mouthfeel was nicely slick and full feeling, and the FG was 1014. A bit low AA (~67%) but in line with some of the attenuation levels for beers in the region with similar profiles. (Uytzet, peeterman, etc). I bottled it up with a bit of sugar, I'm a bit worried about it carbonating though, as my attempts to wake up the yeast cake didn't seem to do much. Just to be safe I plan on giving it plenty of time in the bottle and may even warm it up a bit.

So, with the trial batch having worked out so well I decided to go full scale. I took the cake from the 1gal and added wort over the course of a week to it, hoping to get it to start up again. Unfortunately I didn't notice much in the way of activity by the time I had cooled the wort for the full batch. Still I decided to pitch it in anyway and see what happened. Two days past before really anything happened, worried I added some of the lees from a recent batch of pickles to get things going. Within 24hrs the beer was fermenting wildly, now I don't know if this was from the pickles or from the cake, either way though I have hope it will turn out the same, but only time will tell.

Eventually I plan to split the batch, half being bottled straight, and half getting racked onto some cherries. I'm hoping to recreate something similar to my Gose with cherries from a couple years ago. I would have like to made that beer with dregs from Calabaza Blanca, but unfortunately I haven't been able to find a bottle anywhere.

Sauer Gosebier
Malt Bill
Amt (lbs)Type
4.0White Wheat
Amt (oz)TypeTime
0.50Mt Rainier (6.8%)60
Amt (gm)TypeTime
28Indian CorianderKO
Mash Schedule
170F1.75qt/lb15min - vorlauf
YeastFermented Sauerkraut Culture
89% effIBU11
6.5gal BoilFG1004


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