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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Techniques > Berliner Wiese and a Sour-Starter
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Old 07-02-2012, 01:20 PM   #1
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Default Berliner Wiese and a Sour-Starter

I have been wanting to make a sour beer since I ivisited the Nodding Head Brewery in Philly,,,, they made very sour Berliner Wiese... I want to drink it before summmer is over and these are the methods I have read about:

  1. Sour the Mash
  2. Add lactobacillus::: Primary or Secondary.
  3. Use a Yeast Blend that includes lactobacillus
  4. Add Lactic Acid or Acids

It would seem to me there is a 5th method that should work to speed up the process::: I should be able to make a Sterile Starter a few days before, add lactobacillus to it, and keep it around 100 Degrees (F) for a few days to let it build up a large culture and then pitch the whole thing into my fermentor the same time I cast my yeast...

I was thinking about doing this without aerating the starter...

Would ariating the wort help or hinder the lactobacillus????
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Old 07-02-2012, 04:08 PM   #2
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Try the sour category on the recipe database. There's a recipe from Morkin for Berliner weisse using a homemade lacto starter with just grain and water. I would link to it, but can't figure out how on my phone.

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Old 07-02-2012, 04:52 PM   #3
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Lacto likes it warm so plan to keep your starter warm somehow, sitting on a heating pad or something. Then pitch it to warm wort to get it going quickly. I added a vial to a Berlinner, no starter, and didn't keep it warm and its been very slow to develop sourness.

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Old 07-02-2012, 05:01 PM   #4
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I spent the majority of Saturday researching all the different methods and decided to do a full sour mash for a peach Berliner Weisse right now.

Based on my research using acidulated malt of acid blends is the worse choice out of the 4 or 5 choices you mention. Everything I read says that there is just not as much flavor complexity from doing it this way.

The straight lacto or lacto/yeast blend seems like it's probably the best option (assuming it's a good strain of lacto) for getting a more in depth flavor profile, but it takes substainially longer for the beer to go from grain to glass.

The full sour mash seems to be the "middle" option. You have control over how sour you want it to be right from the beginning - depending on how long you let the mash sour. I've read everything from a couple of days to a week, depending on how sour you want it. After it reaches the level of sourness that you want, you boil it or pasteurize it kill off the lacto and then ferment it out with regular sacch. This method seems to give us more control over the final product - not getting too sour, or not sour enough...

So here's my process so far -

I took my full grain bill for the 5 gallon batch (4# white wheat malt and 5# of Pale US 2-row), mashed in with 3 gallons at 155F in my 5 gallon mash tun and have been letting it sit since Saturday afternoon. Once the temp got down to around 120F, I tossed in a handful of unmilled US 2 row to get the lacto sour mash going.

I've been monitoring the pH and it's at about 3.9 right now and the temp is holding pretty steady at around 110F. I'd like to the mash pH to get down to around 3.6 - 3.8. After I hit that mark, I'm going to mash out at around 170F and batch sparge, then do a full 60 min boil to kill off the lacto and drive off any of the foul odors that are associated with sour mashing.

This doesn't stink nearly as much as accidentally leaving a mash tun outside, full of grain for a few days. I covered the top of the mash with some plastic wrap to keep the oxygen out and then covered the top with more plastic wrap and put the lid on the cooler, and then wrapped it in blankets.

I was planning on using 1-2 quarts of US-05 slurry from another batch to ferment and was going to add 1/2 of the peaches to the primary to get it to dry out a little bit more. I read that since the pH of the wort is going to be pretty low, the yeast may have a hard time with it, hence the over-pitching. Then add the rest of the peaches to secondary and let it go for another week or two.

I started a lacto culture using some starter wort and a handful of grain just in case it doesn't get sour enough for me after the primary is done. I also picked up a vial of White Labs Berliner Weisse in case my homemade lacto didn't work...

Hope this helps!

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Old 07-02-2012, 05:22 PM   #5
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My last batch of berliner weisse I used 30% of the grist to make a sour mash, let it go for two and a half days and then on brew day I dumped the whole thing into my mash and sparged as usual. Then did a 15 minute boil. Quick and easy, and you don't have to worry about infecting everything in your kegerator. I do like it better after letting it age for about three weeks though.

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Old 07-02-2012, 05:37 PM   #6
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How was the sourness with the 30% sour mash? I may cut my full sour mash short if you were able to get decent sourness with only 30% over 2 days.

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Old 07-02-2012, 05:57 PM   #7
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I didn't have any ph strips that would measure that low. But it was on par with the one berliner weisse I've had before. It's almost like a sweet tart but balanced and not sweet. The malt isn't overpowering either.

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Old 07-03-2012, 05:51 PM   #8
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SO I read a couple good articles and amny fols have recommended a sour-mash... So I am going to try it two ways...

Make a 2 gallon Starter:
Split it in two;

Test One
]1. Lower to 122
2. Do not aerate
3. Add a Lactobacillus Culture
4. Keep warm for [/INDENT]a few days:

Test Two
1. Lower to 80
2. Aerate
3. Add a Lactobacillus Culture
4. Once it appears to have slowed down warm to 122
5. Keep warm for a few days:
Worst Case: I am out a couple cups of DME...

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