Sunday, May 23, 2010

Berliner Weisse = Awesomeness

I recently discovered a style of beer that quickly became one of my favorites. There is only one commercial version of Berliner Weisse that I can find around here. If you know of another one please let me in on the gloriousness! It is an import called 1809 from Professor Fritz Briem. It is light, refreshing, and slightly sour. It's delicious. Unfortunately it is a style that only a few breweries in the world brew. So... that gave me the challenge of trying to perfect something that lacks many comparable examples.

Berliner Weisse beers are fairly unusual from a brewing standpoint. For most styles of beer there is a long boil of typically 60 minutes to allow for proper hop isomerization of the alpha acids. With this style there is an effort to minimize hop presence. In order to do this, the boil is generally held for less than 15 minutes and sometimes there is no boil at all. I went with ten minutes on the boil. The only hops were put in the mash.

I think it should be a great sour beer! In order to let it properly sour up, I let the lactobacillus rock out for a couple days before pitching the yeast.

Here is the recipe I made up for my first attempt, my efficiency was through the roof which made it a little higher in alcohol than I had intended... but oh well:

BeerSmith Recipe Printout -
Recipe: Berliner Weisse
Brewer: Thomas Sanford
Asst Brewer:
Style: Berliner Weiss
TYPE: All Grain
Taste: (35.0)

Recipe Specifications
Batch Size: 10.00 gal
Boil Size: 10.58 gal
Estimated OG: 1.046 SG
Estimated Color: 2.9 SRM
Estimated IBU: 1.3 IBU
Brewhouse Efficiency: 92.00 %
Boil Time: 10 Minutes

Amount Item Type % or IBU
7 lbs 8.0 oz Pilsner (2 Row) Bel (2.0 SRM) Grain 55.56 %
6 lbs Wheat Malt, Bel (2.0 SRM) Grain 44.44 %
2.00 oz Hallertauer [3.50 %] (15 min) (Mash Hop) Hops 1.3 IBU
0.50 tsp Irish Moss (Boil 10.0 min) Misc
1.00 tsp Yeast Nutrient (Boil 10.0 min) Misc
10.00 gal Kansas City, KS Water
2 Pkgs German Ale (Wyeast Labs #1007) Yeast-Ale
2 Pkgs Lactobacillus Delbrueckii (Wyeast Labs #43Yeast-Ale

Mash Schedule: Temperature Mash, 2 Step, Light Body
Total Grain Weight: 13.50 lb
Temperature Mash, 2 Step, Light Body
Step Time Name Description Step Temp
45 min Protein Rest Add 16.88 qt of water at 141.9 F 133.0 F
30 min Saccharification Heat to 148.0 F over 5 min 148.0 F
15 min Step Add 0.00 qt of water at 154.0 F 154.0 F
10 min Mash Out Heat to 168.0 F over 10 min 168.0 F

Make 2L starter with the Lactobacillus about two weeks in advance. Keep this as warm as possible (up to 100 degrees). Make a 1L starter for the German Ale 2-3 days in advance. Did not do these for the first batch, Oz did my yeast and I pitched Lacto from Wyeast and White Labs packages directly.

Mash out according to schedule. Boil for 10 minutes. Add Super Moss and yeast nutrient as soon as boil starts. Cool to about 95 degrees F. Pitch the Lactobacillus bacteria starter before the German Ale Yeast. This will allow for the Lactobacillus to really get some souring done, and will really get it going due to the higher temp that lacto prefers.

Bottle with BELGIAN STYLE BOTTLES. Normal ones will blow up because I want HIGH carbonation. Lets get some effervescence!

Use half distilled water to reduce the number of randoms for the sours to interact with. Did not do this on the first batch.

May 20 - Added Wyeast lacto at 8:30 pm.
May 22 - Added White Labs lacto at 5 pm.
May 23 - Added Wyeast German Ale yeast at 6:15 pm.
June 6 - Transferred to Secondary
July 21 - Bottled with 7.5 ounces of priming sugar per 5 gallons

This tastes really awesome!  It turned out WAY better than I anticipated.  I definitely tried to make it heavy on the sour side and it didn't disappoint.  I would add the ale yeast a little earlier for those not too into sour beers.  This was perfect for my taste buds though.  I would most def recommend this as a fun new style to try out.  I have a bunch of bottles if you're interested in trying some!


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