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10/03/10 07:30 PM  
Berliner Weisse
Attempted my first Berliner Weisse today. I decided to go the no boil method and let the natural lactobacillus do its thing for the first few days, then I'll pitch #1007 German ale. I went with 2/3 wheat and 1/3 pilsner. Mash hopped with 1/2 oz of Mt Hood.
10/03/10 09:09 PM  
Re: Berliner Weisse
Sounds very close to the no boil BWs my friend and I have each done. We went 50/50 wheat & pils though. I used a 1/2 oz of Hallertauer. I'm not sure what variety he used, but I'm fairly certain it was also 1/2 oz.

He found that on the first one fermentation did not move along very quickly at first so he tossed in a small handful of grain into the primary as well.

Since the first brew, we have re-pitched the same resultant slurry repeatedly, without the addition of the handful of grain. One thing that seems to be the case is that the first one was the funkiest so far, out of 3 or 4 generations. I think the lowered ph over time in the first one killed off a bit of bacteria that was contributing some less than ideal flavor & aroma components.

Good luck with yours!

10/04/10 01:05 PM  
Re: Berliner Weisse
I'm thinking about repeating this, but doing a rye version and an oat version.
10/05/10 02:11 AM  
Re: Berliner Weisse
In place of all of the wheat? That sounds really interesting.

I just tasted mine from the carboy today and it seems to be coming along nicely. The sourness hasn't completely blossomed, but it's only been a week and it is definitely noticeable. There's a nice level of subtle malt flavor happening that should add balance to this as it develops. It definitely tastes green still though. Now it goes under the ping-pong table to hide with the other long-term sours for a couple months!

10/05/10 07:18 PM  
Re: Berliner Weisse
I currently have 10 gallons of berliner aging and am brewing another 5 with the WY berliner blend in a couple weeks. My first batch was a no boil with a 2 qt lacto starter that fermented at 100 degrees for 2 days, then pitched some german ale yeast to clean things up. That has been in the keg aging for 3 mos so far and last time I tasted it was only mildy sour. But alas, I have heard that long term aging for these will help to bring out the sourness hardcore especially when pitching a large healthy lacto starter. So wait, I will.

The second batch was a repitch of the first cake and this berliner turned out even less sour than the first (unimpressive for a sour beer). Soooo, I racked it on to 7# of fresh apricots and added the dregs of a Cantillon Gueuze and Fantome Bier Artisanl de sur lie for aging.

I have no real problem letting these suckers sit for a long time, even if it is until the weather here in Western NY gets warm again for consuming berliners. Anyway I am sure these will sour up nicely in at least 6 mos or so.

I feel like I am always looking FORWARD to drinking my sours, but am never really drinking them at all. Oh well, patience is a virtue, right?

10/05/10 10:15 PM  
Re: Berliner Weisse
I'd be wary about the WY BW blend. Myself and others have had issues getting much (if any) sourness out of it. I'm surprised you didn't get more initial sourness out of the 2qt lacto starter. That seems to be the most successful method from what i've read.
10/06/10 04:28 PM  
Re: Berliner Weisse
<<I'd be wary about the WY BW blend. Myself and others have had issues getting much (if any) sourness out of it. I'm surprised you didn't get more initial sourness out of the 2qt lacto starter. That seems to be the most successful method from what i've read.>>

I've actually gotten intense sourness out of the first release of the WY blend. Steve and the other guys who participated in the berliner swap can attest to that. It was enamel dissolving sour.

I'm surprised so many people seem to have issues with this style. Given I've only brewed it twice, but both times the sourness was intense. Too much I've been told by some people (everybody except the judges - who love it)

10/06/10 07:43 PM  
Re: Berliner Weisse
Maybe they altered the subsequent blends? How soon were you able to pick up on the sourness? My understanding is the blend is designed to give lacto the first couple days to kick out lactic acid and sour the beer before the saccharomyces takes over. Mine is going on 2.5 months now and has no sourness.
10/06/10 07:52 PM  
Re: Berliner Weisse
Yeah, I do feel that the major issue with this style is that people aren't achieving the right amount of kind of sourness. I have read that the WY Berliner blend can take 3-6 mos or so, and maybe that is just for the brett to show its effect, I don't know.

I don't mind being patient and waiting for the straight lacto starter batch to get nice and sour.

10/07/10 10:54 AM  
Re: Berliner Weisse
Again, my experience is contrary to almost every body else that I know that has brewed this style, with or without the WY blend. But both times I've brewed I've had a firm sourness within 2 weeks. The WY blend developed a nice subtle brett complexity after several months of aging. In fact, I still have a couple bottles that I crack open now and then, over 2 years old and still delicious.

Sourness is most definitely most people's issue with the style. I really don't know why. Perhaps my 2 beers were a fluke, but I don't think so. I need to brew it again, but probably won't have a chance until springtime, when it starts to warm up again.

10/07/10 03:04 PM  
Re: Berliner Weisse
According to Kristen England, sourness develops significantly faster after the beer is bottled. Something about how lactic acid bacteria works anaerobically. His advice is to opt for a very short primary and add more yeast and bacteria when bottling. Don't know how long it takes to develop in the bottle.
10/07/10 09:18 PM  
Re: Berliner Weisse
Been away for a few days, but yeah I'm think about replacing all the wheat with rye for one batch and oats in another.

As for the current Berliner, on day two there was visible signs of spontaneous fermentation. By the end of day two the krausen was about 20 mm high. At this point, I added the #1007 German ale. The aroma is unique, kind of sour milk but not exactly. There are some grainy and earthy nots mingled in there.

With your no boil BW did you use a decoction? How long did it take to have visible signs of fermentation? I did not use a decocation - rather I used a step infusion. With a decocation the partial boil would reduce the amount lactobacillus.

10/07/10 10:28 PM  
Re: Berliner Weisse
For my no boil, I boiled .5 oz of Hallertauer in my soon-to-be sparge water, then let it cool down awhile before batch sparging with it. It's still in the primary, but a friend had good luck with the same method. His turned out delicious & sour. However, he tossed a handful of grain into the primary to get things going as well. . .
10/08/10 11:57 AM  
Re: Berliner Weisse
WitSok - I did do a small decoction on mine. Visible fermentation was a little slow if I remember, but less than 24 hours still.

Kristen is spot on about the bottling and his recipe in general is golden. That is what I used as the base for mine after chatting with him for a while about it. If pitching lacto and sacch separately (not the WY blend) then his 3:1 ratio worked well for me.

10/09/10 02:37 AM  
Re: Berliner Weisse
Just started my first BW. Used some aciduated malt and pitched Sac. Will wait a few days to pitch Brett in secondary and sample after a month.
10/09/10 11:27 AM  
Re: Berliner Weisse
So from what I've read these last couple posts makes me think I should bottle this since it's fermented out? It isn't even close to as sour as I want at this point.
10/10/10 09:13 AM  
Re: Berliner Weisse
Just sampled my 3 mos old kegged BW fermented with a large, healthy pure lacto starter for 2 days at 95-100 degrees, then finished with german ale yeast. At kegging the beer was mildy tart (just mildly).

Upon this last tasting the beer has evolved a very nice sharp sourness and moderate acidity. I am very pleased where this one is heading and plan on letting it sit until early spring before tapping and/or bottling some up. Chris Kennedy was right in his observations that using a pure lacto culture WILL eventually sour the beer given enough time.

Gonna try the WY berliner blend in a couple of weeks.

01/07/11 12:06 PM  
Re: Berliner Weisse
White Labs has a Berliner Weisse blend available for January. Has anyone tried it?

WLP630 Berliner Weisse Blend

A blend of a traditional German Wiezen yeast and Lactobacillus to create a subtle, tart, drinkable beer. Can take several months to develop tart character. Perfect for traditional Berliner Weisse.

Attenuation: 73-80%

Flocculation: Medium

Optimum Fermentation Temperature: 68-72F


Alcohol Tolerance: 5-10%

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