AG#71 – Ich Bin Ein Berliner Weisse

Berliner weisse is certainly an oddity in the world of beer styles. It’s a tart, low-alcohol wheat that originated in Germanyin.

Recipe Specifications
Boil Size: 23.96 l
Post Boil Volume: 23.96 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 19.00 l
Bottling Volume: 17.00 l
Estimated OG: 1.032 SG
Estimated Color: 6.1 EBC
Estimated IBU: 3.1 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 50.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 60.5 %
Boil Time: 0 Minutes

Amt Name Type # %/IBU
2.350 kg Bohemian Pilsner Malt, Weyermann (4.0 EB Grain 1 60.0 %
1.567 kg Wheat Malt, Bel (3.9 EBC) Grain 2 40.0 %
30 g Saaz [3.60 %] – Mash 60.0 min Hop 3 3.1 IBUs
1.0 pkg Safale American (DCL/Fermentis #US-05) Yeast 4 –
1.0 pkg Lactobacillus Bacteria (White Labs #WLP6 Yeast 5 –
Mash Schedule: Bubbles’ Single Infusion, Full Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 3.917 kg
Name Description Step Temperat Step Time
Mash In Add 10.97 l of water at 74.6 C 68.0 C 60 min

Sparge: Batch sparge with 2 steps (Drain mash tun , 17.41l) of 77.0 C water

29/01/2017 – Doing a decoction mash today with my two stockpots. One pot is 20.5 litres ang the other is 8 litres. I’m doing a BIAB with no sparge. Doughed in at 58C and hit a mash temperature of 55C, a little over target. So I added some cold water from the tap to bring the mash down to 53.5C. Added mash hop of 28g Saaz. Left this to stand for 10 minutes before pulling a 2 litre decoction. Heated the decoction to 60C and left to stand for 3 minutes, then brought the decoction to a boil and boiled for 10 minutes. Added the decoction back the main mash with the hope of bringing the temperature up to 63C, but it took 3 frantic boils of the kettle to achieve this. Left to stand for 45 minutes. I’d intended adding more water to bring up to 68C, but I knew there wouldn’t be enough room in the kettle, and I knew that I’d have to lift the kettle onto the hob. So I brought mash to 65.5C and left to stand for a further 15 minutes to ensure full conversion.

If I was attempting this decoction mash again, I would have to increase the size of the decoction so that the temperature of the main mash increased to a high enough level when the decoction is added back.

I bypassed the sparge and just squeezed the grain bag. Brought just up to the boil and then chilled down to 30C before adding to the fermenter. I ended up with around 14 litres in the fermenter at a gravity of around 1.060, so I diluted with bottled water up to 19 litres and took a gravity reading using the refractometer.

30/01/2017 – ‪After 20 hours, the lacto starter appears to be doing its job, so I pitched a dry sachet of US-05‬.

15/02/2017 – Some quite nasty sulphurous aroma coming from the fermenter. I pitched sone dregs from a bottle of Orval, as planned.

25/02/2017 – A nice thin pellicle has developed on the beer. The aroma is now characteristically brett like, combined with sulphur aroma mentioned above. This could be a disaster, could be great.

17/03/2017 – Just taken a sample of my berliner. I wasn’t hopeful, to be honest. I wanted to get a taste test cos there was an awful bang of sulphur before I added the Orval dregs, and then some horsey rubber after adding them. No way I was going to oxy a load of champagne bottles if it tasted like shite. But it’s actually really nice. Quite tart, wheaty, just like a berliner really. So much more complex than kettle sours I’ve tasted recently. Interesting and funky for a 3% beer. Was tempted to dry hop it, a la Calypso, but I want to drink this during the summer months, maybe with a shot of raspberry. So I’m going to leave it as is. Some high carbonation will really suit it.

18/03/2017 – Bottled with 245g corn sugar (22 litres at 3.4 vol). Got 12 x 750ml and 32 x 375ml bottles from the batch. I thought 22 litres would be spot on, but I ended up leaving at least a litre in the fermenter. I also broke a bottle while trying to cap it. I don’t know whether it was a dodgy bottle or whether I was applying too much pressure on the capper. Got a great pineapple aroma from the fermenter, but not so much from the bottles. I was curious to know the FG in a lacto fermented beer with such a low OG. Turned out to be 1.002! Wow.

I’m very encouraged by the sample I drank from the trial jar. Big acidity, which can often be a challenge when doing a mix of lactobacillus and clean ale yeast. It’s also got that characteristic bready/doughy flavour in spades. Little bit of brett funk and fruit in there too. It’s pale straw in colour with a low-moderate haze, as befits the style. The high level of carbonation will make this into an amazing beer, I hope. I’d love to do another one immediately, maybe with some fruit added.

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