Adding hops to a no-boil Berliner Weisse

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

RPh_Guy

Bringing Sour Back
Joined
Jan 26, 2017
Messages
9,231
Reaction score
7,611
Location
Cleveland
Hey guys, planning my first true-to-style AG Berliner with no boil.

Process:
Water profile: balanced pale
Grist is a mix of wheat malt, pilsener, and maris otter. Target OG 1.032.
Plan to mash fairly low and use a decoction to mash out at 168F.
Cool, transfer to fermenter, pre-acidify, & pitch L. plantarum from a buffered starter.
No aeration at any point. I'm even thinking about pre-boiling the water to remove oxygen.

My unique plan for adding IBU is once the wort is sour (~3.3 pH), I'll pull a very small portion of the wort, like 600mL, and boil 15 minutes with hops -- enough to add about 4 IBU to the whole batch. Cooling and returning it to the fermenter will probably stop the souring process without actually killing the bacteria.

I'll then cool the entire batch to ale temp. Still undecided about yeast... either WY2565 Kölsch, WLP029 German Ale/Kölsch, or US-05. Vitality starter for liquid yeast or rehydrated dry yeast.
No Brett for this one. No fining agents either.
Bottling with maybe 2.9 vol.

Considerations:
The idea for using MO came from Matt's Sour Beer Blog. Still on the fence.
I'm hoping this no-boil process will both preserve a nice doughy malt character as well as avoid DMS from pils malt... All while still allowing for some bitterness.
Any bacterial character should also be maintained, which may or may not be a good thing. I like the yogurt and/or cereal (THP) flavor I sometimes detect in my own sour brews or commercial sours.
Open to ideas for the best bacteria or yeast options, maybe a more hop-tolerant Lacto.

Any thoughts?
Hope this inspires someone. Cheers.
 

cactusgarrett

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 8, 2008
Messages
2,161
Reaction score
772
Location
Madison, WI
Sounds like a good plan. I'm curious on your process of adding IBU. Would you be able to even just dry hop during fermentation to add low levels of perceived bitterness? It may not be traditional, but then you don't have to boil anything and still get some perceived hop flavor. Sounds like you're not interested in killing off any bugs anyway.

I was curious, also, as to your use of MO, to be honest. In my BWs, I like the clean, crispness, as opposed to what MO imparts, but to each his/her own. I would imagine you'd get the nice doughy character from the wheat (depending on the amount used).

Do you have any info on the viability of those sacc strains at lower pH levels? I know US-05 to be okay; don't know anything about the kolsch strains. I personally like the ease of plantarum over other strains (specifically for temps), and will gladly sacrifice the hit in hop tolerance for this.
 
OP
RPh_Guy

RPh_Guy

Bringing Sour Back
Joined
Jan 26, 2017
Messages
9,231
Reaction score
7,611
Location
Cleveland
The more I think about it the more I want to drop the MO. Consider it gone.

I want to add a few IBU rather than dry hopping in order to match the BJCP style guidelines.
I considered bringing to a boil after Lacto souring and doing a sort of hop stand. However utilization is low for this process -- in the neighborhood of 4% -- so I'd need to add more hops than I feel comfortable using, or use a higher AA variety that I don't particularly want. This also might increase risk of DMS and/or losing the raw character.
I don't want to add hops to the mash decoction like some recipes suggest (e.g. in American Sour Beer) because I want a fairly high level of sourness.

According to calculations if I pull 600mL of 1.032 wort from a 5.5 gal batch, boiling with 0.5oz-1oz of 3.8 AA hops gives 4-8 IBU for the whole batch.

For the yeast, I've never really heard reports of any particular strain failing. From my understanding anything goes.
US-05 is mainly what I've used for kettle sours and it definitely does a pretty good job, adding great character.
Brulosophy used safale german ale in their no boil Berliner exbeeriment (pH 3.3). Wyeast recommends 2565 in their Berliner recipe. I've found forum reports of using WLP029 at 3.3 pH.
I have US-05 on hand and I have a wheat ale sitting on 2565 which I can use, but I've heard 029 is more clean.
Maybe I should just split a batch to see what I like most.

Tangentially I recently got a bottle of 3 Floyds Deesko Berliner. It might be the best smelling beer I've ever had; I'm trying to propagate Brett from the dregs. I won't be opposed to pitching that if it starts to show signs of life.

Thanks for your input!
 
Last edited:

jfolks

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 7, 2012
Messages
282
Reaction score
49
Location
Portland
I really like wyeast german ale for Berliners.

Why not bring the soured wort up to pasteurization temp with hops in the kettle and use beersmith‘s steep/whirlpool setting to estimate IBU? 4 ibus can’t be that much hops!
 
OP
RPh_Guy

RPh_Guy

Bringing Sour Back
Joined
Jan 26, 2017
Messages
9,231
Reaction score
7,611
Location
Cleveland
I really like wyeast german ale for Berliners.

Why not bring the soured wort up to pasteurization temp with hops in the kettle and use beersmith‘s steep/whirlpool setting to estimate IBU? 4 ibus can’t be that much hops!
Wyeast 1007 was one I considered; I might give that a try next time.

I don't have beersmith. However I was reading about whirlpool hop utilization and while I don't remember the exact numbers the amount of low AA hops I'd need would be around 2oz or more. If this sounds wrong to you then you're welcome to plug in some 3.8 AA hops into your calculator and tell me how much I'd need for 6 IBU in 5.5 gal 1.032 wort.
Just a hint of hops is all I want.

I am also concerned about DMS production. I don't have a lot of experience with pilsner malt but I have heard of it happening.

Thanks!
 

jfolks

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 7, 2012
Messages
282
Reaction score
49
Location
Portland
Wyeast 1007 was one I considered; I might give that a try next time.

I don't have beersmith. However I was reading about whirlpool hop utilization and while I don't remember the exact numbers the amount of low AA hops I'd need would be around 2oz or more. If this sounds wrong to you then you're welcome to plug in some 3.8 AA hops into your calculator and tell me how much I'd need for 6 IBU in 5.5 gal 1.032 wort.
Just a hint of hops is all I want.

I am also concerned about DMS production. I don't have a lot of experience with pilsner malt but I have heard of it happening.

Thanks!
Yeah, you’d need quite a bit of 3.8 AA flameout hops to hit 6 IBU (~8 oz). if you really want to minimize hop flavor then you should use a hop shot (https://www.yakimavalleyhops.com/Hop_Extract_10mL_Hop_Shot_p/extracthopshot10ml.htm). You could do some basic math and corroborate with the free brewers friend calculator to figure out the ml needed to hit 6 IBU

Yes, DMS is always the concern with no boil berliners - I haven’t had a problem in the past, but it’s always a risk. Nonetheless, people do it everyday and routinely get dms “free” berliners. Brulosophy and mad fermentationist have some posts on the subject you could look into.
 
OP
RPh_Guy

RPh_Guy

Bringing Sour Back
Joined
Jan 26, 2017
Messages
9,231
Reaction score
7,611
Location
Cleveland
A little noble hop character is great but 8oz/5gal seems like a bit much ;)
When I pitched the yeast I boiled 0.75oz of hops in around 600mL wort 15 mins to get 6 IBU... A small hop decoction after souring.

The hop extract still needs to be boiled, so I'm not sure how it would be any easier. Definitely sounds like an option though.

I'll report back when it's finished fermenting and bottle conditioning. Yum, yum.
 

jfolks

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 7, 2012
Messages
282
Reaction score
49
Location
Portland
My thought was you could bring the wort to 185 and add the hop shot then. Let us know how it turns oit
 
OP
RPh_Guy

RPh_Guy

Bringing Sour Back
Joined
Jan 26, 2017
Messages
9,231
Reaction score
7,611
Location
Cleveland
Update

I made a Lacto starter about 4-5 days in advance with DME, chalk, nutrient, and corn sugar. Pitched a couple capsules of a mixed probiotic. It sat at room temp with occasional swirling. Interestingly, the Lacto starter generated CO2, which could be directly due to the chalk (neutralizing acid produces CO2) or perhaps heterofermentative pathways being active at a higher pH.

Brew day:
Mashed 58% pils and 42% white wheat malt at 146°F for an hour. Mash pH 5.57. I attempted to mash out via infusion but couldn't quite get there with the amount of water I boiled so I had to do a decoction.
I overshot my OG and adjusted it down to 1.036.
Pre-acidified to 4.45.
Pitch my Lacto starter (leaving the chalk) at 80F, let it fall for maybe 12h then ramped & held at 95F.
Measured pH was 3.43 at 24h, 3.36 at 48h, and 3.33 at 72h. I don't know why but this is a higher terminal pH than usual for this blend in my experience.
Gravity was still 1.036.

Pitch day:
I was GOING to use a slurry of WY2565 Kölsch but I dropped the jar, exploding it all over my kitchen. So I used one packet of US-05, rehydrated, and added 1 gram of fermaid k to the 5.5 gal wort.
I pulled about 600mL and boiled with Hallertauer to get 6IBU.

Fermenting, bottling day:
Fermenting at 67-69 it finished at 1.008 in 6 days but I let it sit for 3 weeks just in case. No finings.
Bottled, priming for 3.4 vol.

Tasting:
It's very flavorful. Sour with fruit notes (strawberry, melon, lemon). Nice body and mouthfeel. Dry finish with moderate pils malt flavor. Hint of hop flavor. Slightly cloudy, very light color. Sour fruity aroma.
Overall it's pretty good, but a little rough.
I'm not a judge but I don't sense any off-flavors.

Compared to my (boiled) kettle sours, it is a lot more flavorful, more of the fruit flavor which I'm guessing is from this bacteria blend. It doesn't have the doughy malty flavor I was trying to get with no boil.

Warning: do NOT dump a bunch of hops into a beaker of boiling wort unless you like volcanoes. Fermcap will not save you.
 
OP
RPh_Guy

RPh_Guy

Bringing Sour Back
Joined
Jan 26, 2017
Messages
9,231
Reaction score
7,611
Location
Cleveland
A few weeks in the bottle and the taste really cleaned up nicely.

I would brew this again for sure.
 
Top