Berliner Weisse Quick and Dirty Berliner

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Simps

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Recipe Type
Extract
Yeast
Safale American
Yeast Starter
none
Batch Size (Gallons)
5
Original Gravity
1.035
Final Gravity
1.006
Boiling Time (Minutes)
15
IBU
7
Primary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp)
3 days @ 68F
Tasting Notes
Light, sour and clean. Now I just have to find the syrup!
A while ago I was looking for a fast easy way to make a Berliner Weisse. I posted on the forums for advice and got no response so I threw this together myself and it turned out great.

The sourness is obviously not as complex as an all-grain naturally sour Berliner but it only took me 2 hours to make and was the perfect drinking sour beer for a hot summer on the boat.

The best part - you don't have to wait MONTHS for sourness to develop, or worry about contamination. (my buddy had a bad case of baby-vomit bacteria in his few trials with natural souring and spent a lot of cash on lactic bacteria that after months on end did nothing for his beer)

The only thing I would change - increase the sourness SLIGHTLY to mimic the level of sourness in an authentic Berliner. This beer is sour, but I didn't want to scare my beer-ignorant friends away.

Quick and Dirty Berliner
Ingredients---------------------
4 ibs. Briess Wheat Dry Extract (80% grist)
1 ibs. Briess Pilsen Dry Extract (20% grist)
1oz Tettnang (3.5%AA) (15min) (7ibu)

Boil for 15min - I do a full volume boil, you could add the extract after boiling if you are concerned about color but I wasn't.

Yeast--------------------------
1pkg Safale American (DCL Yeast #US-05)
Re-hydrated in sanitized (boiled) water and NO SUGAR 10 min before pitching. No starter.

Fermented for about 3 days, moved to 4C once finished and let settle for 1 day. Moved to keg and soured.

Souring------------------------
The best guidance I could find on souring lead me to believe the ideal concentration for lactic acid on average Berliners should be .38% (that's 71.92grams lactic acid in 5 gallons) I reduced mine to .34% (64.24grams in 5 gallons) and was happy with it. I've seen estimates as high as .45% but I didn't want to overdo it on the first run.

So what I did because I couldn't get lactic acid in powder form was use 73ml of 88% Lactic acid from my LHBS.

Now for the math:
This gave me (73ml*.88)=64.24g lactic acid

in 5 gallons +73ml H2O. (18927ml + 73ml) = 19000ml

64.24g/19000ml=.338% lactic acid. rounded = .34%

A teacher once told me you don't understand anything until you can explain it with numbers so there you have it. Again that's .338% NOT 33.8%, it doesn't sound like much but it is.

Additionally I should mention why I chose the malt proportions the way I did. First off this will give you a beer with .003 more gravity than the style, but I didn't want to finely measure the extract, again this is supposed to be quick and dirty! Second, the Briess Wheat extract actually contains 35% barley malt and 65% wheat malt. If you change brands the final balance should be close to 50% wheat and 50% barley. Feel free to experiment with a higher proportion of wheat, but I wouldn't add less. The color and body will be too heavy.
 

ahaley

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Awesome, this is something I will have to try I most likely will do more sour and If people don't like it oh well. That sounds like a great beer though
 
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Simps

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Thanks,

Let me know what you think. It's a huge time saver.
 

DisturbdChemist

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I'm looking to do a sour because last weekend i had a few and opened my eyes on the style. I do not keg yet but bottle. So you add the latic acid to the keg, if i'm going to do this i'll probably add it to the bottling bucket before i bottle. I want to try it this way as well as natural to see the difference
 

drea23

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I'm fairly new to brewing and this will be my first sour attempt. What does "moved to 4C" mean? Is that move to a secondary? Do you think it would benefit to leave in primary longer?

Any thoughts on how long to bottle age for the souring?

Thanks!
 
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Simps

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Moved to 4c as in 4 degrees celcius. I took the primary bucket and put in in a fridge to drop the yeast. You can leave it longer if you like, I believe the standard is 2weeks. Normally i ferment for about 4-5 days then the put it in a fridge for 1 or 2 days and then keg. When you bottle just add the acid to the bottling bucket and mix well. No need to age longer than it takes to get carbed as the sourness will be the same regardless and it's a best fresh style.

Update with how it goes and what you thought! Good luck!
 

djelemenohpee

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this sounds great. especially for a new brewer like myself. Does adding the lactic acid to the bottling bucket create the carbonation in the bottle or do you still need to add sugar to the bucket as well?

has anyone else done this brew yet? curious if you let it sit for two weeks or did a secondary and how that came out. I dont have a a fridge big enough to cold crash at the moment.
 
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Simps

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If you are bottling you still need to add sugar to create the carbonation.

You are probably thinking of lactose - a type of sugar. Lactose sugar however is not metabolized by yeast either and would also not create carbonation.
 

Vestal81

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I added lactic acid to my mash for a brown ale. There was no sour flavor at all with the finished beer.. ill try this technique next time
 

Pastorken

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Vestal81 said:
I added lactic acid to my mash for a brown ale. There was no sour flavor at all with the finished beer.. ill try this technique next time
The lactic acid should have been added after fermentation and before bottling or kegging. adding it in the mash will not give you much sourness.
 

Pastorken

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" I added lactic acid to my mash for a brown ale. There was no sour flavor at all with the finished beer.. ill try this technique next time"

The lactic acid should have been added after fermentation and before bottling or kegging. Adding it to the mash will not give you much sourness.
 

mattywwilson

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Hey y'all....just brewed this recipe and I know that the original poster only primaried for 3 days then cold crashed. Wondering what anyone else's experience was with primary fermentation. Was FG hit after those first 3 days? Is a quick fermentation expected or beneficial for the style? Thanks in advance!
 

JR_Brewer

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This is a great post, thanks! I'm looking to get into some mildly sour beers, and this method will be great for a split batch experiment.
 
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Simps

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Hey all,

It has been a while since I updated this post so I thought I should check in.

citric acid vs lactic acid

I haven't tried citric acid, but that sounds interesting. I know acid blend, commonly used in wine making, has a mixture of various acids that work well together to dry the wine out and add complexity. If you try citric acid and it turns out to be awesome please let me know!

length of fermentation, shorter is better?
Shorter isn't always better, right ladies? When I said "best fresh style" I didn't necessarily mean "the shorter the better". I can say I stored this beer for a few months and even had a taste 1 year after brewing that was pretty close to the original. That being said, your fermentation should be finished within 2 weeks at the most, but more typically 1 week. From my experience, if you drink it within a year you will get the most out of the recipe but you can certainly keep it longer. I had a shorter than average fermentation period because I oxygenate my beers very well, by pouring back and forth between 2 buckets with a screen on top. This technique did wonders for me and I highly recommend it!

lactic acid affecting yeast?
I personally didn't notice any impact at all on my carbonation. If anyone sees otherwise please post, but again in my experience everything went smoothly.

Finally I would like to ask anyone who has made this recipe to please post your feedback and alterations!
 

LayerUp

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Quick and Dirty Berliner
Ingredients---------------------
4 ibs. Briess Wheat Dry Extract (80% grist)
1 ibs. Briess Pilsen Dry Extract (20% grist)
1oz Tettnang (3.5%AA) (15min) (7ibu)

Boil for 15min - I do a full volume boil, you could add the extract after boiling if you are concerned about color but I wasn't.

Souring------------------------
The best guidance I could find on souring lead me to believe the ideal concentration for lactic acid on average Berliners should be .38% (that's 71.92grams lactic acid in 5 gallons) I reduced mine to .34% (64.24grams in 5 gallons) and was happy with it. I've seen estimates as high as .45% but I didn't want to overdo it on the first run.

So what I did because I couldn't get lactic acid in powder form was use 73ml of 88% Lactic acid from my LHBS.

Now for the math:
This gave me (73ml*.88)=64.24g lactic acid

in 5 gallons +73ml H2O. (18927ml + 73ml) = 19000ml

64.24g/19000ml=.338% lactic acid. rounded = .34%

A teacher once told me you don't understand anything until you can explain it with numbers so there you have it. Again that's .338% NOT 33.8%, it doesn't sound like much but it is.

Additionally I should mention why I chose the malt proportions the way I did. First off this will give you a beer with .003 more gravity than the style, but I didn't want to finely measure the extract, again this is supposed to be quick and dirty! Second, the Briess Wheat extract actually contains 35% barley malt and 65% wheat malt. If you change brands the final balance should be close to 50% wheat and 50% barley. Feel free to experiment with a higher proportion of wheat, but I wouldn't add less. The color and body will be too heavy.
I realized that you made this two years ago, but bear with me, I'm slightly confused about some of your calculations, and more particularly interested in your sources.

Where did you get the information for acid content within berliner weisses? Do you still have that readily available? In addition, are you certain it was a mass ratio, rather than a molar, or (god I hope not) a volume ratio?

Second, when I do the calculations for the amount of lactic acid required (again, assuming a mass ratio) for YOUR beer, I get a slightly different number, only 1% difference, which could certainly just be significant figures, but still different. I ended up with 72.34g of lactic necessary.

Finally, and I think may be the most important question, is that lactic acid blend that you purchased a mass ratio solution? If it is 88% lactic acid by mass (which I doubt) then your calculation is wrong, because while 73mL of water does indeed weigh 73g at 3.9C, lactic acid as a solute does not substantially change the volume of the solution (due to intermolecular bonding) but it does indeed change the density, and thus, the mass of solution. So the solution will be more massive than you predicted, probably in the mid 130-140g. which would move your added acid up to around 118ish grams.
I presume that this lactic acid is some molar ratio, and that it may have been provided, but I dunno, more information would clear this up for me.

One last thing, this calculation really bothers me:

64.24g/19000ml=.338% lactic acid. rounded = .34%
You made the mistake of assuming that we had exactly 5 gallons of pure water at 3.9C, in which case the 19000mL would be interchangeable with 19000g, but rather, we have a complex solution with many solutes, that has a density that differs from water. We know this, because you calculated your final gravity at 1.006, which changes the density, and thus, the mass of the beer from 19000g to 19114g. And not to be too annoying, but you simply cannot divide differing units, and end with something useful, in your steps, please show or explain that you really meant to say 19000g (which is indeed incorrect), not 19000mL.

While your calculations make a pretty decent approximation, they are by no means as accurate as you make them out to be in your post.

edited to fix mistakes.
 
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Simps

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I realized that you made this two years ago, but bear with me, I'm slightly confused about some of your calculations, and more particularly interested in your sources.

Where did you get the information for acid content within berliner weisses? Do you still have that readily available? In addition, are you certain it was a mass ratio, rather than a molar, or (god I hope not) a volume ratio?
I based my lactic acid content range on the book "Designing Great Beers" by Ray Daniels, Table 27.2 page 344. I will not post something I do not have permission to so I will leave it to everyone else to pull the resource.

I used LC Carlson lactic acid 88%, here. That was the only information on the bottle, I assumed it to mean mass/volume and I am a biologist by trade so I ignored density as any good biologist would! (see usage in biology) This probably answers the majority of your post.


Second, when I do the calculations for the amount of lactic acid required (again, assuming a mass ratio) for YOUR beer, I get a slightly different number, only 1% difference, which could certainly just be significant figures, but still different. I ended up with 72.34g of lactic necessary.
Yep, digits. 71.92 gives you 0.3785...etc. However, 72.34g assumes a volume of 19036.84...etc to precisely match 0.38% if you are using the same density I was (1g/ml).


And not to be too annoying, but you simply cannot divide differing units, and end with something useful, in your steps, please show or explain that you really meant to say 19000g (which is indeed incorrect), not 19000mL.

While your calculations make a pretty decent approximation, they are by no means as accurate as you make them out to be in your post.
I meant to say 19000mL. The title of the recipe is "Quick and Dirty", it was meant to be a decent approximation. I never misrepresented the accuracy, I posted every calculation I used and never addressed density. Now take a deep breath and grab a homebrew!

:mug:

Finally, why not contribute the corrected math (with actual density and mass conversion) as opposed to ball-parking in case anyone else is as concerned about accuracy as yourself?
 

hyperboarder

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FYI on this, 90mL is too much lactic acid. Holy **** it's sour. Trying to figure out what to do with it now...
 

zachary80

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Just bottled this about a week ago and it already seems ready to drink. I followed the recipe exactly. For me, the acid level seems too low. If I make this again in the future I will definitely up the acidity

I can't find the exact figure in the book, but after running a couple averages on both chart 27.1 and 27.2 it seems like you used a average good historic number, and it also matches roughly the homebrew mentioned on p345, but I might prefer the higher end of the range which seems to very roughly go up to 125ml of 88% solution.
 

straycat

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ok folks, any more feedback on the amount of lactic acid and sourness? brewing up a quick and dirty today so a few weeks until i sour it but i want to hear back from those that upped the amount and what your thoughts are. thanks in advance!
 

seym

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I wanna try this but would like to end up with a higher ABV beer (in line with most sours I have had), any ideas on how this could be achieved? I suppose that would mean a different style of beer! I guess I just wonder if using lactic acid as a souring ingredient would work for other styles..
 

klowneyy

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I wanna try this but would like to end up with a higher ABV beer (in line with most sours I have had), any ideas on how this could be achieved? I suppose that would mean a different style of beer! I guess I just wonder if using lactic acid as a souring ingredient would work for other styles..
I don't see why not. One thing to keep in mind however is that. Not all bugs/bacteria have much alcohol tolerance or ibu tolerance. So if you aren't planning on kettle souring. I would try and build up some cultures to be more hop/alcohol tolerant.
 

MNSmitty

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I want to give this a shot.
I'm not a biologist, or anyone who deals with mass conversion on a daily basis. So I got lost in the calculations.

Simps,
Assuming your calculations are appropriate (I'm not saying correct, that doesnt matter, the end result matters more than the method you used to get there), how many grams of the 88% lactic did you add to the 5 gallons of beer?
 

MNSmitty

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Nevermind. In my brain I thought the lactic acid was a powder. if I ever get a free moment I will try this out...
 

tkeel92

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Anyone brewed this recently? Just curious as to what amount of 88% lactic acid everyone has been using
 

emedin0417

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I just made this a month or so ago, and I used 75 ml for a 5 gallon batch. Came out pretty good, although I think I'd increase it slightly more next time.
 

bruhaha

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I recently got introduced to Gose styled sours that have a hint of salt and coriander. I read how to make one but don't have time just yet.

Do you think I put drop of lactic acid in a dry Hefeweizen I made and have something that is a bit tart? I know its not the real deal, but maybe it will be drinkable. Anyone try this?
 

jamina1

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Quick question with this -- adding lactic acid to your fermentation -- does this mean you can no longer use that fermenter for "normal" beers or is this somehow different?
 

ptownbmac

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No, adding lactic acid to your beer won't infect your equipment. If you're adding live bacteria to produce lactic acid (i.e. Lactobacillus or pediococcus) then that's when you need to have separate sour and clean post boil equipment, or be amazing at sanitation.
 

bruhaha

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Quick question with this -- adding lactic acid to your fermentation -- does this mean you can no longer use that fermenter for "normal" beers or is this somehow different?
I adjust my mash ph with lactic every brew date and that is perfectly safe. Lactic acid and lacto bacillus souring is two different animals. Lactic acid additions after fermentation is a quick and dirty tart addition. I did it right in the pint glass with a graduated dropper.
 

bruwa

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Souring------------------------
The best guidance I could find on souring lead me to believe the ideal concentration for lactic acid on average Berliners should be .38% (that's 71.92grams lactic acid in 5 gallons) I reduced mine to .34% (64.24grams in 5 gallons) and was happy with it. I've seen estimates as high as .45% but I didn't want to overdo it on the first run.

So what I did because I couldn't get lactic acid in powder form was use 73ml of 88% Lactic acid from my LHBS.

Now for the math:
This gave me (73ml*.88)=64.24g lactic acid

in 5 gallons +73ml H2O. (18927ml + 73ml) = 19000ml

64.24g/19000ml=.338% lactic acid. rounded = .34%

A teacher once told me you don't understand anything until you can explain it with numbers so there you have it. Again that's .338% NOT 33.8%, it doesn't sound like much but it is.
Hi
thanks for the info about the lactic acid concentration needed.

From your post I understand that you need 64.24g of the 88% solution of lactic acid to reach a concentration of 0.34% in 19000ml of beer.

I wanted to replicate your math - and got different numbers:
(assumption: 100ml of lactic acid solution = 100g)
> 0.38% lactic acid = 0.38g/100g = 3.8g/1000g
> a 88% solution of lactic acid = 88g lactic acid/100g solution
> for 1g of lactic acid you need 1.14g of the 88% solution (100/88=1.14)
> for 3.8g of lactic acid you need 4.33g of the 88% solution (3.8*1.14=4.33)
> for 19000ml you need 82.3g of the 88% solution (3.8*1.14*19) - instead of 73g

For 19000ml of 0.34% you need 73.64g of the 88% solution (3.4*1.14*19) - instead of 64.24g.

Am I missing something?
 
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