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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Lambic & Wild Brewing > Berliner weisse sour mash: how tart do you go?
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Old 04-01-2013, 09:47 PM   #1
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1.5 days ago I began a Berliner Weisse in which 100% of the souring will take place in the mash.

Grains were mashed and the wort temperature was lowered to ~100°F. Unmilled grains were added in after the wort temp reduced to ~100°F to inoculate the wort. The temperature has been maintained at 100°F.

Here's my question:

When utilizing the mash for 100% of the souring, how sour should the wort get before sparging? I will be leaning on a sensory analysis for judging the wort because I do not have a pH meter.

It would seem that from a sensory perspective the sourness profile would need to be extremely tart for the concentration, due to the fact that the mash runnings will be considerably diluted in the finished beer?

I have about 5.5 gallons of water in my mash for a 13 gallon batch. Beersmith shows that I will fly sparge with 13.5 gallons of water to achieve a pre-boil volume of 16.29 gallons. This calculates to 2.79 gallons of the sour mash runnings transferring to the boil kettle. 2.79 gallons is only 17% of the pre-boil volume of 16.29 gallons. That's a lot of lactic acid dilution!

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Old 04-02-2013, 05:19 PM   #2
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I'm currently at 62 hours at 100°F. I may just call it and move on to sparging and boiling if I don't get any dissenting opinions.

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Old 04-02-2013, 09:15 PM   #3
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Mine was nice and tart after 24hrs but we varied a bit. I used 10% acid malt and pitch lacto(grains) at 119f let drop to 100 and maintained that temp for 24 hours.

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Old 04-02-2013, 09:31 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidArtisan View Post
Mine was nice and tart after 24hrs but we varied a bit. I used 10% acid malt and pitch lacto(grains) at 119f let drop to 100 and maintained that temp for 24 hours.
I have done exactly as you have done (10% acid malt with 20 minutes to go in the mash, then pitched unmilled grains to inoculate after dropping the temp to 105). My mash is currently nice and tart. It's about exactly as I would like my Berliner Weisse to taste.

The real dilemma I am having is wondering just how diluted that lactic acid profile is going to be in the final beer after fly sparging. The runnings in the mash are only a small fraction of the finished volume of the beer. Make sense? It's making me wonder if I should let the mash get intensely sour before arresting lactobacillus lactic acid production.
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Old 04-03-2013, 12:40 AM   #5
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I had mashed with about 5 gallons for a 10 gallon batch, while it was diluted & tamed down somewhere was plenty of lactic tart/sourness. I had actually planned to use a little lactic acid to enhance the beer some but felt it didn't need it.

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Old 04-03-2013, 03:53 AM   #6
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Wouldn't you assume all 5.5 gal of mash would make it into the kettle?

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Old 04-03-2013, 04:05 AM   #7
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I normally figure 0.25 qt/lb for water retention by the grains but the rest should find its way to the boil

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Old 04-03-2013, 05:18 AM   #8
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True, but you should figure that the original mash water will be the rinsed out of the grains during the sparge. At the end of the boil there will still be a few gallons of water in the grain, but that's the *last* of the sparge water, not the good stuff full of sugar and lactic acid.

Or am I missing something?

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Old 04-03-2013, 07:54 AM   #9
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It's quite possible that my 17% calculation is low, given your reasonable argument that the sparge water will replace at least some of the water absorbed by the grain. I think there is room for an experiment there. Even so, there was over 13 gallons of sparge water, which still translates to the mash water being a minority percentage of the final wort in the fermenter.

That said, I boiled this evening after a 3 day mash (I didn't want to risk off flavors from undesirable bacteria and yeast). I was pleasantly surprised when I took a taste from the hydrometer sample post boil... the final wort had a good amount of lactic sourness. Even with the residual sugar still in the wort, it was almost perfect for my taste (this coming from an avid gueuze drinker). I'm not sure how the math works, but the mash sample wasn't considerably more sour than the post boil sample.

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Old 04-03-2013, 04:49 PM   #10
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Glad to hear you got the outcome you were looking for...

Are you bringing some of this to the SCHF this year?

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