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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Techniques > Alternative berliner weisse technique?
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Old 01-27-2013, 03:04 AM   #1
nicroeth
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Default Alternative berliner weisse technique?

I love a good berliner weisse but I have had a tough time brewing one. There seem to be two popular ways to brew one. The first is to simply brew it as normal but pitch lacto into the fermenter. But this takes months and I already have too many sour ales sitting in a closet and don't really have the space/patience for another. So, the long wait is not really an option.

The other technique is the sour mash. I have also tried the sour mash, but the result was . . . not good. The laco obviously did not win the battle with the whatever other funky, nasty bugs were in the mash. It was dumped fairly quickly. I was thinking of trying it again, but was not looking forward to dumping another batch.

My idea for a third way seems like it should work. But I have been known to make mistakes before. Tell me if there is something I am missing.

I plan to mash as normal, drain to my kettle and boil for 10-15 minutes, just long enough to kill anything in the wort. While it is boiling I will clean and StarSans the mash tun. Then turn off the heat to the kettle, let it cool on its own to 120 and siphon back into the mash tun. I will then pitch a White Labs vial of lacto, but plastic wrap on top of the liquid, seal the mash tun and wait a day or two. Then run the liquid back into the kettle, boil, then into the fermenter with a clean beer yeast.

This seems to split the difference between the two techniques. It will give you a berliner weisse in weeks instead of months. But it avoids the unreliability of throwing a handful of grain into the mash. The downsides are the expense of having to buy the lacto and the extra work of two boils (even if one is very short).

Am I missing something? Is there any reason this is a bad/stupid idea?

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Old 01-27-2013, 07:28 AM   #2
Gavagai
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Why not just add lacto to the fermenter a few days before pitching yeast?

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Old 01-27-2013, 11:00 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gavagai
why not just add lacto to the fermenter a few days before pitching yeast?
+1
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Old 01-27-2013, 03:20 PM   #4
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If you have heated temp control it can be done easily. I like to put a lb or 2 of a soured mash in with my saisons. I've had great success with just heating the mash up to sac temps on the stove and then letting it cool down with the lid on till 120F. Throw in a handfull of unmilled grain and let it sit covered at around 100 for a day or two in the temp chamber. Always yields clean, lemony lacto fermentation for me. No funky garbage smells.

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Old 01-27-2013, 05:01 PM   #5
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Thanks for the advice, guys.

I thought about adding lacto to the fermenter first, but I wasn't sure if I would need to keep it at 120. I use plastic better bottles and they are not insulated. It might be difficult to keep them that hot for 24 to 48 hours. (And I'm not sure such high temps would be good for the fermenters.) And if I did pitch the lacto at lower temps, wouldn't it act much more slowly at 65-70?

Plus the two-boil method would allow me to control the sourness of the beer by killing the lacto when it reaches the desired sourness. (And I don't have to bother with using my sour-beer-only fermenters for the batch.)

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Old 01-27-2013, 06:07 PM   #6
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Its definitely tough without temp control. I know a guy who stashes his fermenter in the attic when he does Berliner's in the summer

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Old 01-28-2013, 01:22 AM   #7
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You could also use acidulated malt or really cheat and dose in food grade lactic acid. I have had tasty Berliners using both techniques

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Old 01-28-2013, 01:51 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nicroeth View Post
I already have too many sour ales sitting in a closet
Impossible!

Try the sour mash again. Cover the mash with plastic wrap and CO2 purge the mash tun.
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Old 01-28-2013, 05:31 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TNGabe View Post
Impossible!

Try the sour mash again. Cover the mash with plastic wrap and CO2 purge the mash tun.
+1.
A lot of the off tastes come from the other bacteria on the grain that are aerobic. Cover the mash tightly to make an anaerobic condition and keep warm for a couple of days and you should get a good tasting, lacto-sour, berliner weiss.
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