All-Grain Berliner Weisse
I haven't brewed in a while, and I wanted to do an easy sour. The idea being I can make a trial attempt or two, hopefully nailing it down so I can have a great batch ready for my wife after she gives birth this summer. She LOVES sours. So, that said I'd like any input people have on this recipe I came up with. It uses the same basic process as Morkin's All-Grain - Alferman Imperial Berliner Weisse. I changed up the recipe a bit though to (hopefully) make a more traditional Berliner Weisse. Here's my recipe.
Recipe Type: All Grain
Yeast: Wyeast 1007 - German Ale
Yeast Starter: Lacto
Additional Yeast or Yeast Starter: Homemade Lacto
Batch Size (Gallons): 5.5
Original Gravity: 1.031
Final Gravity: 1.008
Boiling Time (Minutes): 15
Color: 2.37 SRM
Primary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp): 30
3 # German Pils
3 # German Wheat Malt
1 oz Liberty 3.9% AA 15 min
I wanted a good soft profile, so I'm using Pilsen as a target. I'm starting with 8 gallons of RO that I'm treating with:
chalk (CaCO3) - .6 grams ~ 1/3 tsp
epson salt (MgSO4) - .5 grams ~ 1/10 tsp
salt (NaCl) - .2 grams ~ .03 tsp
75 min Mash In Add 7.5 qt of water at 162. F 150.0 F
I'm going to use Morkin's method for creating a homemade lacto starter:
"Crush a cup of grains and add them to a Cup of Water at 130 degrees and put that combination into a jar for a starter. I used an old honey jar, but a starter flask or any jar will work. Let that ride out for about a week prior to brewing. It shouldn't smell bad, but of an extreme lactic smell should be evidence that you have a good culture."
After Mash and the short boil I'll cool the wort to 100, transfer to a carboy and pitch the Lacto starter. After 2 days I'll pitch the German Ale yeast.
Hopefully, after a month it'll be right on target. Then I'll keg and carbonate to 3.5-4 volumes.
I'll be brewing this a week from saturday, and I'll definitely post updates as I have them.
It's not necessary to crush the grain for the sour starter, and it's easier to strain out the bits from the lacto starter if you don't crush. If you can keep it hot, like 100*-110*, the Lacto starter can be ready within 24 hours.
A full boil isn't necessary (or desireable, IMO). You get a crazy fresh wheat flavor (think DJ Jazzy Jeff) if you don't boil half the wort. Don't be surprised if you don't hit your FG once the Lacto has gone to town. I usually get around 50% AA on my Berliners if I presour the wort, then add yeast.
I've found it better to split my batches in half, boil half with my hops, and just lacto ferment the other half (no boil), then pasteurize the lacto half, blend them together, let gravity stabilize, then bottle.
I'm interested how this turns out...I'm in the same position, wife due in summer and thought this would be nice. I've never made a sour but I have read about bringing it up to boil to stop the lacto, is that not necessary if you pitch with the yeast or is that only done if you want to stop the lacto from continuing to sour?
Nateo - Thanks for the notes. For now I'm going to stick with the method I have because Morkin seems to have good results with his imperial version. However, I'll probably do my next batch like you suggest so I can compare.
Hop_machine - I would think that would only be an issue if you bottle and leave your bottles at room temperature. I would guess that kegging the beer and keeping it cold would slow if not stop the souring the lacto does all together.
Ok. This is in primary with lacto now. Adding the yeast tomorrow. I had some issues with the mash. I lost a lot more heat adding the water initially than I wanted. Mash started at 140 instead of 150. So i heated up a bit more water and added it. That got in to 145. Didn't want to add more water so I drained a bit out of the tun, and brought it to a boil. That go it to 150.
I also changed the recipe. I wanted a 90 minute boil because I found out after talking to a lot of people by subbing Pils for the orignal Rahr that Morkin's recipe had I was drastically upping the amount of DMS. So I needed a full boil to get rid of it all. Well, my huge kettle boiled off faster than I expected. I added bit of water to the boil just to draw out the boil time. I got about an hour boil out of it and about 5.5 gallons.
Unfortunately I forgot to take an OG reading so alcohol content will be difficult to measure. Hopefully it at least tastes good!
Ok. I'm a little nervous. Yeast has been in for about 20 hours, and I'm not seeing any activity in the airlock. Also, as far as I can tell it's not starting to build a krausen at all. When should I start worrying about this, and what steps should I look at taking? Pitch another yeast pack? Add yeast nutrient?
Like I said, I get about 50% attenuation when using a whole yeast cake, so I'm not surprised your yeast is bummed out. Nutrients aren't your problem. Another yeast pack probably won't do anything, either. You need a bunch of yeast. Rack onto a yeast cake if you have one. Otherwise, I dunno.
No yeast cake. Thanks though. Thankfully I work at a brewery part-time. I can ask those guys for input as well.
Checked it today. There were some bubbles in the air-lock and a lot of bubbles on the surface of the beer. Also, chunks of yeast floating on top as well. I'm hopeful this is a sign of just a slow start. We'll see how it does in the next day or two.
Ok, figured I'd post an update. Pulled a sample for gravity and tasting. I know I can't get any sort of alcohol content measurement since I neglected to take an OG reading. I mainly wanted to make sure fermentation had been progressing at all and see where I was at as far as a FG just so I have an idea how dry the beer is getting. I'd like to see 1.008 by the end.
Anyway, the hydrometer came out 1.010 so the yeast has definitely been doing it's business. I'm hopeful of getting just 2 more points in the next three weeks. As far as flavor goes, it's right on point. It's pretty dry, with just a bit of yeastiness and wheat character. There's definitely a tartness, but it's fairly mild for my taste. I'm hoping this gets more pronounced over the next few weeks. I'll probably check it again in a week or two. And just for those that like pictures here's what it looks like right now.
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