Berliner Weiss

Posted to Uncategorized October 21, 2016 by dropinbrewing

image01This is a traditional German style of beer associated with the city of Berlin. It was historically brewed to be tart or sour, with a champagne like carbonation, and a very low alcohol content. Its a popular drink for all times of day.  the tartness is often balanced by the addition of sweet flavored syrups which can also add color to the beer. The popular syrups are raspberry and woodruf making for the classic line up of traffic light colors. We’ll be adding them in smaller amounts to provide a subtle flavor change rather than obvious color changes in the picture.
We brewed our version of this beer using malted barley and malted wheat in roughly equial amounts, and at the end of the mash stand we chose to sprinkle a couple of bags of acidulated malt onto the top of the grain bed. This immediately increased the acidity of the wort as we collected it, and kept the sparge water pH low to avoid extracting harsh tannins from the grain. After we collected 15 barrels of wort we boiled it without adding hops for 10 minutes. The pH was around 4.55 at that point, which is a little sour. We then cooled the wort down to 110 F and added our microbes. We chose Lactobacillus Delbrueckii  to do the work of souring the wort. We made sure to put a layer of carbon dioxide on top of the wort to exclude air. This particular organism is anaerobic which means it grows when there is no oxygen present. By 4 pm the next day the pH was down to 3.6 which is where we wanted it so we then raised the temperature of the wort to a boil and added some hops. The entire batch only received a pound and a quarter of willamette hops which aren’t even enough to provide a bitterness you can taste. We cooled and fermented the beer as a normal ale. The resulting beer is tart and refreshing, the alcohol level is only 2.87% and the carbonation is high. The beer has a bready doughy character from the barley and the wheat, the acidity is clean but there is also a citrus note, similar to lemon, lime and rhubarb.
We made a version using Elderflower cordial which added sweetness and a lovely floral note. We’ll be experimenting with various other syrups over time.