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Old 03-16-2010, 01:42 PM   #1
wscott823
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Default First attempt at Berliner weiss not going as expected

Let me start with my process and then get down to the concerns later:
8 days prior to brew day, began a L. Delbruekii starter (500ml of 1.020 SG sterilized wort) and held at 92F.
Brew day: Sanitized all equipment, heated strike water and infused for saccharification @ 149F for 60 minutes. Pulled 5 quarts thick mash for mash-out decoction. Added 1 oz Hallertau hops and boiled in decoction for 15 minutes. Return decoction to main mash for mash-out. Proceed with single batch sparging, collected 5 gallons of liquid and rise to boiling temp. Cut heat at signs of beginning of boil. Chill & pitch lacto starter, added lb crushed pale 2-row malt to primary to assist lacto. 24 Hours later krausen head begins to form.


~12 hours later, high krausen. With slight concern for the beer, added the originally intended US-05 yeast.

So I’m wondering now if I prepared my brew too liberally to foster conditions for spontaneous fermentation. I’m not terribly worried how the brew turns out, the whole batch probably only cost me $10. Should I have concern for any harmful pathogens?


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Old 03-16-2010, 03:48 PM   #2
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you dont need to be concerned about pathogens, but why did you add the crushed grains? I mean you already had a lacto culture, and planned on adding yeast

there are a ton of other bugs on grain besides lacto, and will funkify the beer like nobodies business, I havent done it like you have but Ive used grain to sour the mash and it smelled like hot garbage - now your going to be in anoxic conditions but only time will tell, how does the airlock smell??

also 1020 is a bit low for a starter, shoot a bit higher even for lacto, I would also recommend a bit larger starter for lacto as well, you want a very high cell count


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Old 03-16-2010, 04:09 PM   #3
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I can't find the thread at the moment, but someone on the forum contacted Wyeast on recommendations for a lacto starter, hence my procedure.

The crushed grain in the primary idea came from a friend who's got experience under his belt with sours. linky

The airlock was smelling fine to me this morning, reminded me of a clean mash. I'll see what I get in a few days and hope for the best.
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Old 03-19-2010, 04:26 PM   #4
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Transfered to secondary last night as high krausen ceased. The stuff still doesn't smell like vomit, but definitely ain't right. I don't really have high hopes and when I have a second attempt will definitely omit the grain to primary. That was probably the factor that put this beer over the edge.
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Old 03-19-2010, 06:03 PM   #5
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Hey Wes, just to be clear, I never did the grains in the fermenter, I was throwing it out there as a suggestion. I have read at least a dozen accounts of others taking this approach, so I know it is used in the berliner process by others. In making my berliners, I achieved sourness from very long, hot, sour mashes and the pure culture.

I am sure you are fine however, I think you might have been better served adding the grains after activity took off.
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Old 03-23-2010, 05:03 PM   #6
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Lessons learned, I'll change up my process in the future. I'm still letting it run it's course.
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Old 03-23-2010, 05:41 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wscott823 View Post
Lessons learned, I'll change up my process in the future. I'm still letting it run it's course.
The mantra of the homebrewer.
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Old 04-01-2010, 06:30 AM   #8
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Don't have any experience with exactly what you did, but I would like to add that I brewed the linked recipe and am thus far pleased (bottling tomorrow so yea there is time for something to go wrong I suppose). Many others have used this method as well with positive results so don't chuck it under the bus just yet.

http://www.ratebeer.com/Recipe.asp?RecipeID=110


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