Friday, June 17, 2016

Berliner Weiss (Kettle Soured)

I tried my hand at another Berliner Weiss about a month ago after the first attempt went horribly wrong. The first batch was a Sour Mash and ended up being infected by Butyric Acid because I had forgotten to lower the pH below 4.5 before inoculation with lactobacillus. This is a crucial step you don't want to forget unless you like the smell and taste of vomit/baby diaper.

So I learned that lesson the hard way. This time around I went with Kettle Souring just to give both methods a try. I started by designing my recipe which wasn't difficult given how simple a Berliner Weiss is.

If anyone is interested you can have a look here: https://www.brewtoad.com/recipes/k-berliner

I brewed the beer like any other up until time to boil. Then I let the wort cool to 115 degrees when I used phosphoric acid to lower the pH to 4.4 then dropped in .75 lbs of un-crushed Pilsen malt. I popped the lid on, wrapped a plant heat mat plugged into a temp controller around the kettle then a heavy blanket around that. I checked the taste and pH after 12 hours 24, 30 and 38 hours. I was aiming for a pH of 3.4 but when I woke up in the morning the wort had dropped to 3.2. I boiled it immediately, hopped, cooled and transferred to the fermentor.

I spent the next 3 days struggling to get a standard yeast to ferment the beer out. I tried US-05, London ale and Kolsh yeast all of which fermented a few points then died out. Finally I hopped onto the Milk the Funk facebook page and it was suggested I use Brett. All I had was Trois Vrai so I tossed that in and tada! Two days later we were at a 1.004 F.G.

 After all that yeast drama I was worried how the beer was going to turn out but as it turns out it was great! I ended up taking this beer to Homebrew Con 2016 and serving it on Club Night. What a blast! I had a ton of great feedback on it and only brought home about 1/2 gallon from a 5 gallon keg.

I purchased Raspberry and Boysenberry fruit syrups to serve with this beer. Both jars were about half gone at the end of the night. This was my first tasting of a Berliner with syrup and I was surprised at how much they cut the acidity. In fact it was nearly unnoticeable after adding the tiniest amount of syrup. Although I liked the experience I think I'll be drinking my Berliners straight.

Berliner Weiss Tasting Notes

Appearance - A very hazy yellow to yellow brown color. A light bright white head that sticks around a long time then leaves it's mark on the glass. 

Berliner Weiss - Sorry for the picture quality


Aroma - Lemon grass / lemony aroma. Also get some biscuity malt aroma.

Mouthfeel - Very dry and thin. Not in a bad way for the style because the tartness is what's left on your tongue.

Taste - Amazing! Biscuit grainy character,  some wheat, lemon citrus and a lot of tart sourness. This beer change rather quickly going from almost unbearably sour to rounded and perfectly tart.

Future Changes - I'm not changing a thing. This beer turned out better than I could have expected. I'll just start by fermenting with Trois Vrai form now on!