Berliner Weisse SOS (save our sour!)

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Tyler Hurst

Well-Known Member
Mar 30, 2018
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so this is my second sour beer attempt, (using my sour beer only equipment!) Making a 5 gal Berliner Weisse
4 lbs Pilsen
3 lbs American wheat
Mashed at 150 for 60 mins
Boiled 15 mins
1 oz Hellertau hops
Cooled to 120
pitched 2 vials of White labs Lactobacillus Delbreukii
Racked to glass fermenter with heat pad set at 108F, it’s max. Internal Thermostats reads 94F.

I had a HUGE pellicle formation in first 24 hrs. Checked for tartness, it’s not tart (slight DMS taste but it may also be the biscuity flavor which is common in Berliner Weisse).After 24 more hours (48 total post brew) checked again, still no tartness, and the biscuit flavor is more prevalent. I made a starter of White Labs Kolsch using extra wort from brew day which I spiked with a small amount of 88% lactic acid to make the Sacc ready for a low PH environment after pitching. It has been on the stir plate for 2 days now and am going out of town for three days. Should I let the lacto do it’s thing and check when I get back or just pitch the starter? I plan on letting this baby ferment until spring so no rush but I also don’t want a sour Mega Warhead (if you grew up in the 90s you know what I mean) super sour lemon juice type beer! I am also worried about an acetobacter infection? Is there any way I can test for acetobacter? I have no kegging system (until Christmas) so I can’t CO2 purge anything. Any recommendations or help is appreciated! What did you do for yours? How long did you wait to pitch your Sacc yeast? Can I pitch now and will it get more tart over time it will the Sacc overpower the lacto and leave it nothing to ferment? All help is appreciated.


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Your photos show a yeast fermentation, not a pellicle. It's krausen.

White Labs bacteria are notorious for yeast contamination. This may explain why there's fermentation happening so quickly. I highly recommend avoiding White Labs bacterial cultures.

The hops inhibit souring. That culture probably will never make the beer sour.

I would probably just make a kolsch from that batch. Cool it and pitch your Kolsch yeast ASAP. Hope for the best.
For a Berliner, try again with no hops and a good Lacto culture.

Souring this batch would require some hop-tolerant bacteria, probably Pedio (and Brett). You'd want to let it ferment for 6-18 months.

FYI Acetobacter is generally not a problem.

Hope this helps.
Classic krausen. Just as RPh Guy said: you were either infected with sacc from that WL lacto, or possibly from your equipment.

The hops inhibit souring
This. Even 1oz of Hallertau at a lower alpha acid might be enough to inhibit lacto souring. If i remember right, the last i heard was that it wasn't necessarily the straight IBU # that inhibits the LAB souring, but also how much hop matter you add.