Berliner Weisse

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rivertranced

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Recipe Type
Extract
Yeast
Wyeast 1338 Euro Ale
Yeast Starter
No
Additional Yeast or Yeast Starter
Wyeast 5335 Lacto
Batch Size (Gallons)
4
Original Gravity
1.031
Final Gravity
1.011
Boiling Time (Minutes)
15
IBU
6
Primary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp)
19 days @ 72*
Secondary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp)
N/A
Additional Fermentation
Bottle conditioning
Tasting Notes
Delightfully sour! Low alcohol, perfect for a warm summer afternoon!
Recipe:
2 lb Pilsner LME
2.375 lb Wheat LME
.5 oz Hallertau 4%AA hops (15 min)

I originally posted this in the general forums, but thought it deserved to be moved to the recipe section for anyone looking to brew a Berliner Weisse. This is probably the best beer I have ever brewed, and I'm extra excited to have it as you can't find commercial berliner weisses in the state of Colorado at the moment.

This was my first attempt at a sour. After researching various methods, I decided to try the souring method outlined in the March issue of Zymurgy ("Funk with Less Fuss"). For ease, control over sourness, and avoidance of cross-contamination this method is genius!

I first created the wort and pitched the lacto bacteria. I then let it sit keeping the temp as high as possible (it was hard to keep it above 90 as Denver hasn't been that hot) by keeping it in a cooler in the sun during the day and my warm garage at night.

I tasted it every 12 hours or so until I got to the desired level of sourness, then brought the wort back to a boil to kill the lacto and add the hops. Only 15 min boil time!

Left in the primary for about 3 weeks, then went straight into bottles. I decided to skip the secondary as I thought some cloudiness would be OK with the style. This was my first bottling in a few years, and now I remember why I stopped! But I wanted to be able to sample every now and again over a longer period of time to see how it ages so bottles were the way to go.

This beer tastes wonderful! It is the perfect amount of sourness for everyday drinking: enough to know it's there but not so puckering that it isn't easy to drink on a hot day. You could easily get more sourness by extending the time on the Lacto before you boil. it's matured a bit since bottling, though I think I may be getting close to peak as I've heard that BWs don't age that well (especially compared to other sours).

I will definitely look into this method for souring the next time I decide to brew up a sour!
 

bakeup

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Try going more sour next time and add essence of woodruff or raspberry for a traditional Berliner Weisse. I haven't tried, but I believe that's how the Germans do it.
 

bakeup

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To clarify, raspberry syrup. And, add to the glass when pouring.
 
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rivertranced

rivertranced

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Good call. I've heard that...I'll give it a whirl next time. Thanks!
 

zandrsn

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What was your recipe for brew? I've really been wanting to brew a sour, but am only set up for extract right now as I just moved and am in a small apartment.
 
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rivertranced

rivertranced

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What was your recipe for brew? I've really been wanting to brew a sour, but am only set up for extract right now as I just moved and am in a small apartment.
Sorry about that, I thought I had posted it. Here's what I used for 4G:
2 lb Pilsner LME
2.375 lb Wheat LME
.5 oz Hallertau 4%AA hops (15 min)

The rest of the details above are accurate. If I were to brew this again, I'd do two things: let it sour longer and shoot for a slightly bigger body. I'd use more wheat extract to get there.

A BW finally came available in Colorado via Crabtree Brewing in Greeley. I tasted 4 different BWs at GABF this fall, and Crabtree's was far and away better than the rest (and much better than mine; it won Gold at the fest). I thought mine was in line with the other 3, so not too shabby in my opinion!
 

DaytonBrewing

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I am really wanting to try this after having a couple different commercial versions. I don't get Crabtree out here, but I have had Hottenroth from The Bruery and Professor Fritz Briem's 1809 Berliner Weisse.
 
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rivertranced

rivertranced

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Do it! I wish that I had let mine sour a little longer, as this beer, unlike many sours, tends to mellow over time (probably much in part to the shortcut souring method). Go big! That 1809 is one of the best around, I think much better than the Bruery's and probably better than the Crabtree. It's tough to get here in CO though.
 
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Do it! I wish that I had let mine sour a little longer, as this beer, unlike many sours, tends to mellow over time (probably much in part to the shortcut souring method). Go big! That 1809 is one of the best around, I think much better than the Bruery's and probably better than the Crabtree. It's tough to get here in CO though.
1809 is 5% and probably out of style. I've had it, it's alright, but not that sour and really not a BW.
 

mhenry41h

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passedpawn said:
1809 is 5% and probably out of style. I've had it, it's alright, but not that sour and really not a BW.
In fairness to 1809 "not really being a BW," the BJCP classifies it as a top example of the style.
 

DaytonBrewing

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Well I have the dregs of 3 bottles all recapped and a 4th I will be drinking tomorrow. Then on Tuesday I'll add all 4 to a starter and start stepping them up if I can.
 

mhenry41h

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passedpawn said:
I guess that since there aren't that many examples they needed to include it. It's way out of style, but it is good. I've only had 2 commercial examples, and I did like 1809 better.
I need to get to Berlin and try some authentic BW's. They're so hard to find.
 
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rivertranced

rivertranced

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As a quick update on this, I am in a BJCP study group and we evaluated this beer in one of our sessions. It nailed the style guidelines in all attributes. The only thing missing was the tart sourness, which, though it fell within the guidelines, would certainly provide more character and help this beer's chances in a competition.
 

OLDBREW

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I think in order to be classified as a wheat/weisse beer in germany, you need to have at least 50% wheat in the grain bill.

From what I have been told, when ordering a berliner weisse over there, they ask you if you want either red (raspberry) or green (woodruff). They do not serve the beer separately or with the syrups on the side if asked. Anyone know if this holds true in all Berlin or just in the few places my brother tried to get just the straight soured weisse beer without the syrup added?
 
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rivertranced

rivertranced

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I left it on the lacto for between 2-3 days. I wish I'd left it on there about a day longer to get it a little more tart.

This beer just took silver in the sours category of a local pro-am. I think I'll try brewing up an AG version this summer.
 

FuzzeWuzze

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So you mention avoidance of cross contamination...

By boiling after and killing off all the lacto you dont have to worry about contaminating a bucket/carboy i assume? This is the one thing thats kept me from doing a sour really is worrying about potentially souring all of my beers!
 

highgravitybacon

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FuzzeWuzze said:
So you mention avoidance of cross contamination...

By boiling after and killing off all the lacto you dont have to worry about contaminating a bucket/carboy i assume? This is the one thing thats kept me from doing a sour really is worrying about potentially souring all of my beers!
Every beer you make is filled with unwanted organisms. Every fleck of dust, every wisp of wind coats everthing in the world with untold millions of bacteria and fungi.

When you make an English Bitter, you dont use a different bucket than you would make a hefeweizen in, right? But theres no carryover from batches either. You just clean it. Why would sour beers be any different? These arent super organisms like some Walking Dead disease. Theyre just yeast and bacteria. Clean properly, sanitize properly, and youre fine.
 

highgravitybacon

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how long do you wait after bottling before drinking?
Here's what I was told by someone who makes this regularly: after about a year, it was really good. It peaked about 18 months in. It hasn't gotten any worse now at 2.5 years.
 
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rivertranced

rivertranced

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how long do you wait after bottling before drinking?
Sorry to resurrect an old post. FWIW, you can drink this immediately once carbonated. The souring is done prior to the boil rather than in the fermenter, so you don't have to play the waiting game. Generally in my experience, BW's drink very well fresh, especially compared to other sours which I usually prefer with age.
 

ToddB

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Dragging up an old thread, but I've got a couple questions about it.

I first created the wort and pitched the lacto bacteria.
When you say this, are you making the wort like you would any other ale? 60 minute boil then move to fermenter and pitch the lacto?

I tasted it every 12 hours or so until I got to the desired level of sourness,
How long did you let it go on the lacto and how sour was it? I'm thinking I want something rather puckering and just want to try and gauge when I should start sampling.

Thank you. This is going to be a fun summer brew.
 
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rivertranced

rivertranced

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When you say this, are you making the wort like you would any other ale? 60 minute boil then move to fermenter and pitch the lacto?
The boil occurs after the pitch, which allows you to kill the lacto once it's achieved your goal and so it will not affect your downstream equipment.

How long did you let it go on the lacto and how sour was it? I'm thinking I want something rather puckering and just want to try and gauge when I should start sampling.
If I recall correctly, I let the lacto go for about 2-3 days and it wasn't quite sour enough for me, but there are a lot of variables (pitch amount, gravity, temp, etc), so I'd start sampling at about day 2.
 

ToddB

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Cool. So if I have it correct, I just mix the LMEs with 4 gallons of water, pitch the lacto and let it do it's thing for a few days. Sampling for sourness. Then boil, hop, chill, and pitch the yeast.

I'm planning on doing this sometime in the next few weeks when the temps start to be above 90* around here. Can you think of any reason I couldn't just put this on the deck with an airlock and let it do it's thing before boiling? Would I run the risk of infection or problems with the sunlight?
 
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rivertranced

rivertranced

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When mixing the LME, you'll of course want to mix it with hot or boiling water as you normally would, then cool it to ~100 degrees for lacto pitching. The rest sounds pretty good.

I would not allow the sunlight to hit the wort directly, however I think it would be fine to put it on the deck if you wrapped it to avoid direct light contact.

Let me know how it goes!
 

ToddB

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Perfect. This will definitely be happening soon.

Thanks guys!
 

globe

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I cant figure out the reason for the 15 min boil. Any issues with DMS? What would happen if you did a 60 or 90 min boil?
 

punkzter

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I'm planning on making a 5 gallon batch, but will be using a 3.5 gallon pot. So, like I do with most extract kits, I'll just make up 3 gallons of concentrated must and then add water prior to pitching the yeast.

However with this one, adding the lacto comes in the middle. I just wondered if anyone had done it this way? And how long they waited (since adding 2 gallons or so of water will dilute it significantly).

Thanks!
 
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rivertranced

rivertranced

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I cant figure out the reason for the 15 min boil. Any issues with DMS? What would happen if you did a 60 or 90 min boil?
BWs are traditionally brewed with a short (or no) boil. This helps limit bitterness due to additional AA extraction and minimizes any color impact of a longer boil. DMS is typically not an issue because of the large portion of wheat malt, but if you were worried about it you could sub pale malt for pilsner.
 
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rivertranced

rivertranced

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I just wondered if anyone had done it this way? And how long they waited (since adding 2 gallons or so of water will dilute it significantly).
Yes, this is how I brewed my first one and it worked well. Just make sure you go well past your desired final sourness before boiling because of the dilution you mention. I expect it will take you at least a few days to get there, but depends a lot on your set up, temps, pitch rate, etc. Best thing to do is to go out and smell/taste it every day.
 
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