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Old 11-15-2010, 03:14 AM   #1
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Default DMS Berliner Weisse

Yesterday I brewed my first Berliner Weisse. I pulled many of the suggestions from this forum including the no-boil technique. Recipe/process below.

3.5lbs Belgian Pils
2.5lbs White Wheat Malt
.5lbs Flaked Barley

1oz. Hallterau mashed for 15 minutes at the end of mash.

I slowly ramped up the temp from low 70F's to 160F over 2.5 hours doing a BIAB or rather mash in a bag. And arrived at a OG of 1.034. (On a side note this process makes a highly fermentable wort.)

I transferred to primary and let this cool on its own to about 120F. (this may be my mistake) I then threw in .5 lbs of Acidulated Malt into primary (not mashed) to produce the lactic acid. No yeast yet will be (WLP029). After approx. 24 hours at 88F degrees I have a nice fluffy white krausen/pellicle formed. The issue is it smells like sweet rancid creamed corn (DMS). Before the krausen formed it just smelled like malt-o-meal.

I have heard all sorts of odd smells can be produced, but nobody seems to have an issue with DMS by not boiling their BW. Also it is my understanding the SMM will not convert to DMS until after reaching 170F.

Is this just lactic acid behaving like lactic acid?

Is there any likelihood that this will fade, and just become a clean tangy flavor?

Since I haven't pitched yeast anyway, should I bring the bring the whole batch back to boil for 90 minutes to get rid of it?


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Old 11-15-2010, 01:41 PM   #2
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Acid malt is coated in lactic acid, but you can use any malt as a source for lactobacillus. The problem with using grain as a source for your bacteria is that you can't be sure exactly what you are going to get. I would guess that the DMS you are smelling isn't from the malt (per se) but from some strain of bacteria that was living on the grain.

I've had good luck using a culture of Lactobacillus from yeast labs. I also bring the wort to just below a boil to ensure that none of the "other" microbes from the mash/grain make their way into the fermenter. I've never had an issue with DME, but a healthy ale fermentation goes a long way to driving it off.

If the aroma gets worse, you should consider waiting until you like the sourness that has been produced, then boiling the wort for ~30 minutes before cooling and pitching the yeast as normal. The boil will drive off the DME produced by the bacteria, so you can have your sourness and drink it too.

Hope that helps, good luck.


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Old 11-15-2010, 02:06 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply.

My daughter walked in the room and unprompted said, "it smells like old popcorn in here". So I am not thinking it was DMS but rather diacetyl I was smelling. I may have mistook the sweet, grainy, buttery smell for DMS. I have been lucky enough to avoid both until now. It is starting to dissipate though. My guess is the acidulated malt may have caused the smell.

After hearing this I did some research on lactic acid producing diacetyl, while the specific sub strain of lacto is not mentioned, there is overwhelming evidence of this. Here is one of the papers I found:
http://aem.asm.org/cgi/reprint/6/5/319.pdf
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Old 11-15-2010, 02:49 PM   #4
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Pediococcus makes lactic acid and pumps out diacetyl although I'd be surprised if it was active this early in fermentation. I try to avoid getting too concerned about how a sour beer tastes/smells early in fermentation, there can be lots of weird flavors that come and go as the beer matures. I just bottled the Berliner I brewed back in may, it took three months to finally start to sour, but it finally turned the corner.

Hope your Berliner turns out well, good luck.
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