Berliner Weiss

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Haputanlas

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My brew day yesterday was very successful. I'm very happy that my first sour mash turned out so well.

The mash ended up at a PH of 3.6. Even though it's got a nice sour note to it, I may have to make it a little bit more sour next time. I just didn't want to push my luck and leave the mash going any longer.

Based on what I tasted going into the fermenter, I think this is going to be a great beer! Very exciting!:ban:
 

Haputanlas

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I hadn't cleaned my mash yet (Which still has a lot of sparge water in it), and it had some unbelievable activity going on. A very strange pellicle with the liquid appearing to be boiling (Much more vigorous than yeast).

I'll post a video later today if I have the time.

Also, I've read that a lot of people are concerned that the sac strains might have an issue fermenting at low PH levels. I can show that my US-05 is fermenting like crazy right now with a PH that started at 3.6. This doesn't mean the attenuation will still be high, however it seems to be working just fine.
 

Hanso

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Wyeast 1007 does well in low pH. Used it in my berliner and turned out great.
 

erockdoc

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My brew day went well. I did a mini-sour mash (1.5 lbs) for 2 days. Brewed as directed in this recipe, adding the sour mash in right before sparging. I then boiled for 5 minutes just to make sure everything from the sour mash was nice and dead. Pitched into 2 separate fermenters, one with wyeast lacto starter and one with brett c. starter.

Fermentation took off with a bang. Both lacto and brett fermented like crazy for the first 12 hours. After 24 hours the airlocks are showing almost no bubbling.

Is this normal? I am doing a 5 gal. batch, not 10. O.G 1.038. I am surprised fermentation has slowed down so quickly....

Also, I have learned that cheap ph strips aren't worth the paper they are printed on. They gave a reading of 6 in every liquid I tried them in. The sour mash had a very distinct smell and taste, so I am positive the ph was below 6!
 

erockdoc

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The two batches (Brett and lacto) have been fermenting over a week now. Took a sample from each, Brett gravity is 1.003, lacto is 1.008, so I'm happy. Both taste great, with very minor sour flavor from in the Brett from the mini-sour mash I did. The lacto was surprisingly tart! Tastes like a full on lambic. Really looking forward to this beer!
 

Haputanlas

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The two batches (Brett and lacto) have been fermenting over a week now. Took a sample from each, Brett gravity is 1.003, lacto is 1.008, so I'm happy. Both taste great, with very minor sour flavor from in the Brett from the mini-sour mash I did. The lacto was surprisingly tart! Tastes like a full on lambic. Really looking forward to this beer!
Glad to hear it!

What temp are you fermenting the lacto portion at? Also what was your temp for the sour mash?
 

erockdoc

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Glad to hear it!

What temp are you fermenting the lacto portion at? Also what was your temp for the sour mash?

Both batches are fermenting at ~75, and were probably closer to 80 during peak fermentation (which for me was the first 12 hours). Doing the lacto and brett starters like in the recipe was a really good idea.

My sour mash temps were low. After 24 hours the temp had dropped to about 85, so I did a hot water infusion to bring them back up to 115-120 ish. In total I let the sour mash go for about 36 hours.

I wish I could report a ph on the sour mash, but my damn ph strips kept reading 6 no matter what I put them in.
 

Haputanlas

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Both batches are fermenting at ~75, and were probably closer to 80 during peak fermentation (which for me was the first 12 hours). Doing the lacto and brett starters like in the recipe was a really good idea.

My sour mash temps were low. After 24 hours the temp had dropped to about 85, so I did a hot water infusion to bring them back up to 115-120 ish. In total I let the sour mash go for about 36 hours.

I wish I could report a ph on the sour mash, but my damn ph strips kept reading 6 no matter what I put them
in.
Here's a digital PH meter for$11 shipped for free. It's absolutely fantastic for the price. I've confirmed with other more expensive meters that it's very accurate.

I've used it in about 4 batches so far without any problems.


http://www.banggood.com/Wholesale-Digital-PH-Meter-Tester+2-Pouches-Of-Calibration-p-17850.html


Sure, it's from China, but it shipped quickly and gets the job done way better than strips.
 

erockdoc

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IslandLizard

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Nice, that's cheaper then the dang strips!
That's right, I've used strips for more than twice that price.

Now, how accurate is this thing? I don't see a storage solution, although the bottom cap could hold some, and probably should so the calomel electrode doesn't dry out.

If it gives accurate service for a year or longer it could be a decent deal.
 

Haputanlas

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That's right, I've used strips for more than twice that price.

Now, how accurate is this thing? I don't see a storage solution, although the bottom cap could hold some, and probably should so the calomel electrode doesn't dry out.

If it gives accurate service for a year or longer it could be a decent deal.
I wouldn't count on it lasting a year. However, if it lasts me for 2-3 brews, it already seems worth it.

$11 is cheap when each of my batches are 12+ gallons.
 

Steve271828

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I brewed this in late April and wanted to post some tasting notes. I added saison yeast while it was in secondary because the gravity wasn't moving so it might differ a bit from the recipe as posted.

Pours a clear light golden color. Pretty good head retention.

Extremely strong funk aroma. You can smell the funk on this from across the room. I would say it has a slight medicinal quality. I fermented the lacto sub-batch and the brett sub-batch pretty warm so I'm attributing it to that. There's also some citrus notes and a slight spiciness, probably from the saison yeast.

Moderate carbonation. Light mouthfeel.

Taste begins with a sweetness and finishes with a light, refreshing tartness. Not much detectable funk here.

Pretty interesting overall, although the initial funkiness is a bit off-putting.

20130828_215931.jpg
 

erockdoc

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I brewed this in late April and wanted to post some tasting notes. I added saison yeast while it was in secondary because the gravity wasn't moving so it might differ a bit from the recipe as posted.

Pours a clear light golden color. Pretty good head retention.

Extremely strong funk aroma. You can smell the funk on this from across the room. I would say it has a slight medicinal quality. I fermented the lacto sub-batch and the brett sub-batch pretty warm so I'm attributing it to that. There's also some citrus notes and a slight spiciness, probably from the saison yeast.

Moderate carbonation. Light mouthfeel.

Taste begins with a sweetness and finishes with a light, refreshing tartness. Not much detectable funk here.

Pretty interesting overall, although the initial funkiness is a bit off-putting.
nice! Too bad about the funk though. Do you think it came from the lacto or the brett? Warmer temps are usually favorable for both lacto and brett.

Also, nice glass! I had 2 of them, but just broke one a couple weeks ago.
 

Steve271828

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That's a good question. I forgot to mention that my LHBS didn't have any lacto culture so I ended up pitching a handful of grain for the lacto batch. It's possible (probable) that there were some extra funky bugs in there. But I smelled the lacto batch before I combined it, and it had a kind of fruity aroma. I also think the Brett was extremely underpitched, which would probably contribute to a stronger funkiness.

Yeah I'm a big fan of that glass. I actually got it for free during Philly beer week at Uno Chicago Grill!
 

erockdoc

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Steve271828 said:
That's a good question. I forgot to mention that my LHBS didn't have any lacto culture so I ended up pitching a handful of grain for the lacto batch. It's possible (probable) that there were some extra funky bugs in there. But I smelled the lacto batch before I combined it, and it had a kind of fruity aroma. I also think the Brett was extremely underpitched, which would probably contribute to a stronger funkiness.

Yeah I'm a big fan of that glass. I actually got it for free during Philly beer week at Uno Chicago Grill!
Nice, I got mine at a tasting in Amherst, MA with Sam himself.
 

Haputanlas

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Got my first taste of this beer from a hydro sample. It's fantastic!

I'll post a picture later today, but this ended up around 3.9%ABV and the perfect tart/sour level.
 

erockdoc

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Got my first taste of this beer from a hydro sample. It's fantastic!

I'll post a picture later today, but this ended up around 3.9%ABV and the perfect tart/sour level.
Sounds great! I'm not too sure how to calculate the ABV on mine. I need to do more research on whether or not both the brett and lacto batches produce alcohol.
 

Haputanlas

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Sounds great! I'm not too sure how to calculate the ABV on mine. I need to do more research on whether or not both the brett and lacto batches produce alcohol.
To be honest, I should have said "Max ABV". I didn't take a reading after the sour mash and before the Sach pitch. This is probably the only way to have truly known the ABV (Short of sending a sample for analysis).

Since my sour mash was made by pitching uncrushed 2-row, Lactobacillus Delbrueckii is the bacteria being used. Based on what I know, this strain doesn't produce alcohol, so 3.9% ABV is likely high and should be slightly lower. However, I would assume (without much to back it up) that this doesn't consume that much sugar and ABV will be 3.5%+.
 

Haputanlas

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By the way, here is a quick pic (Ugly cell phone camera quality though). The beer is actually much clearer than what it looks like here.


 

humann_brewing

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what kind of activity should I see on the starter for the lacto?

I have not seen anything and it is at 83F right now.

I did a starter before with WLP677 using pasteurized apple juice and saw quite a bit of activity. I tried to keep it in the 90s though.
 
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If you don't want to use a commercial sour culture for this, you can do the following, which I have tried and it worked *very* well:

Start with some weak wort around 4*P (1.016). A few tablespoons of DME in a liter of hot water will do the trick. Toss in a handful of grain. Stick it in your oven at 120*F overnight if it has a warm setting like mine; otherwise you can use a heating pad and play with it until the thermometer reads around 120. Whatever you do make sure it stays over 110*F. You don't want the bacteria to grow that make poopy diaper flavors. *yuck*

The next day, make up a new batch of weak wort but keep the volume at 750ml this time. Toss in a tablespoon of dried milk, or use some milk instead of water. The lactic acid producing bacteria love milk sugars. Pour 250ml of the first starter into this one and toss the rest of it. Stick this second starter in the oven or on your heating pad again and let it work for a full 24 hours.

Now, the important part -- give it a taste. It should be tangy, but clean -- with a cheese-like flavor and aroma. If it's funky, repeat the build-up step to let the lactic bacteria outcompete the funk. If it tastes and smells good you're ready to use it.
 

JonM

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I think I'm going to try this one soon, and do it per the instructions on the original post, except for one thing - I have 1007 on hand, so I think I'll use that instead of the Brett in the yeast half. (I'll use a commercial lacto culture.) Any foreseeable problems with using 1007 instead of Brett?
 

JonM

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Question about this one - when you combine the two halves, is that to allow the sacch to ferment the sugars left behind by the lactose half? Or is combining for a month simply to let it all age?
 

Hanso

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The former primarily.


Sent from my iPod touch using Home Brew
 

Scut_Monkey

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I brewed this beer about 1 week ago and both portions have died down with fermentation but I haven't had a gravity reading yet. Any thoughts on the idea of racking each one into corny kegs to free up my fermenters? I wouldn't be mixing the two separate fermentations as of yet. Just trying to free up my fermenters that have the extra head space for brewing this weekend. Thanks.
 
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Moving to keg shouldn't be a problem. The main idea is to let the lactic acid bacteria consume all of the sugars they can before introducing them to the yeast -- and bacteria are a bit slow, especially if they aren't in their ideal temp zone. That said, if you take a gravity reading and it's down near 1.000, it's done and there's no reason to keep them separated any longer.
 

Scut_Monkey

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Moving to keg shouldn't be a problem. The main idea is to let the lactic acid bacteria consume all of the sugars they can before introducing them to the yeast -- and bacteria are a bit slow, especially if they aren't in their ideal temp zone. That said, if you take a gravity reading and it's down near 1.000, it's done and there's no reason to keep them separated any longer.
Well I racked them together/combined yesterday and both the Brett and the Lacto fermentations were at 1.004. This was after 10 days of fermentation. I figured this was close enough as I'm planning a big brew day and needed the fermenters. I was surprised how much the brett sample reminded me of a fresh hefeweizen. Thanks for the advice. I'm intersted to see how this batch turns out. I'll be watching the gravity for any further signs of metabolism but I figure I'll at least give it another 2 weeks before I start to cold condition.
 

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I have no kegs. Will this come out proper bottle conditioned? How high can i prime?
 

Hanso

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Bottling is fine. 3 volumes.
Unless you're ok with a keg, dip tube and line getting infected with bacteria and brett, bottling might be a better way to go about it anyway.
 

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I got inspired to try my first Berliner Weisse, and I made my own lactobacillus culture from this thread as follows:
Boil a quart of weak wort.
When it cools to 120F, pitch 1/4 cup of whole belgian pale malt.
Put it in a yogurt maker at 115-120F for 24 hours.
At the end of 24 hours, boil 750ml of weak wort, add 1/4 cup of milk, and cool to 120F, top it off with 250ml of previous culture (strained).
It smells faintly of creamed corn, and tastes tart and clean!

So, naturally, being a saccromyces guy I have a few questions for the "bug experts".

If I want to store it for a few days, should I cool it to room temperature and slow the feeding?

What do you suppose I have here? a cocktail of different strains of lactobacillus? Or will one thing dominate?
 
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