Sunday, October 24, 2010

Berliner Weisse - Sour wheat


This is an historical style. It was a hugely popular style in 18th and early 19th century Northern Germany. It had many brewers and was referred to as the Champagne of the North by Napoleon. Today it is a living dinosaur with just 2 breweries around Berlin still making it.

Nowadays it is almost unheard of to drink it without Schuss, or a shot of flavored syrup. Typical choice is red (raspberry) or green (woodruff). Also most Berliners if they drink it at all drink it from a straw.

In it's more natural form Berliner Weisse is almost colorless. It normally consists of 50% pilsner malt and 50% malted wheat. It is very low alcohol (~3.0) and very low hop levels (<8 IBUs). It gets a tart flavor from using lactic bacteria along with yeast during a long fermentation.

This Berliner Weisse took 3rd place in the Belgian specialty/Sour beer category of the recent Beehive brew off. It is 60/40 mix for pilsner and wheat malt and is notable for the short 15 minute boil rather than the standard 60-90 minutes. I created a starter for the ale yeast, but pitched it 1 day after pitching the lactobacillus. I pitched those bugs at around 95 degrees.

Aroma- White grapes, flowery, sourness, no hops
Appearance - straw, no haze, head dissipates but still clings
Flavor - Tartness, low wheat character on finish, white grapes, ends with good balance, no hops.

Recipe Specifications
Batch Size: 4.00 gal     
Boil Size: 4.26 gal
Estimated OG: 1.033 SG
Estimated Color: 2.8 SRM
Estimated IBU: 5.7 IBU
Brewhouse Efficiency: 70.0 %
Boil Time: 15 Minutes

Amount        Item                                      Type         % or IBU     
3.00 lb       Pilsner (2 Row) Ger (2.0 SRM)             Grain        60.0 %       
2.00 lb       Wheat Malt, Ger (2.0 SRM)                 Grain        40.0 %       
0.50 oz       Tettnang [4.50%]  (15 min)                Hops         5.7 IBU      
1 Pkgs        European Ale (Wyeast Labs #1338)          Yeast-Ale                 
1 Pkgs        Lactobacillus Delbrueckii (Wyeast Labs #53Yeast-Ale

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