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Style of the Week: Berliner Weisse!

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July 21, 2015 by fhsteinbart


Here we see a typical Berliner Weisse beer being served in a footed Pilsner glass straight up without any Raspberry or Woodruff syrup.

Here we see a typical Berliner Weisse beer being served in a footed Pilsner glass straight up without any Raspberry or Woodruff syrup.

One of the most unusual beers you can ever make is the style Berliner Weisse. First brewed as a provisional beer for quick production and consumption, it is the only beer that is not boiled with the hops, rather the hot wort is hopped while being collected and allowed the sour naturally.  Alternatively, you can do a sour mash at 113° F by letting the wort sit overnight then ferment the beer with a clean yeast such as the American ale yeast.  This way you avoid the complications of using lactic bacteria in your brewery thus maintaining the microbial integrity and sanitization of your brewing vessels.  I’ve used this method many times before and found that it makes a very reasonable facsimile of the style Berliner Weisse and prevents cross contamination from unwanted bacteria.  Below is a recipe of mine that when properly made makes a nicely balanced beer that is very refreshing and highly quaffable.

Extract:

4 lbs. Wheat LME (Alexander’s Wheat LME is preferred)

1 oz. Hallertauer or Liberty or Crystal Hops (bitterness)

Wyeast 1056, WLP001, or US-05 Ale yeast

Procedure:

  • Heat 5¾ gallons of water to 122°F.
  • Add Wheat LME to kettle and rest overnight uncovered at 113°F.
  • The next day, return to heat, and bring to a boil.
  • After 10 minutes, add the bittering hop addition.
  • Add the Whirlfloc tablet at 15 minutes left in the boil.
  • At knockout, cool the mixture by placing kettle in an ice bath or use a wort chiller. Add the mixture to the fermenter, removing the hops, and bring total volume to 5 gallons using distilled, bottled, or filtered tap water.
  • Aerate unfermented wort (shaking works well).
  • Pitch yeast and ferment at 67°~68°F for 7 to 10 days.
  • Allow to age an additional two to three weeks before packaging up as usual.

All Grain:

4 lbs. Pilsner Malt

4 lbs. Wheat Malt

1 oz.  Hallertauer or Liberty or Crystal hops (bitterness)

Wyeast 1056, WLP001, or US-05 Ale yeast

¾ gm. Brewing (Calcium Chloride) Salts per gallon (~3.75 gms. or 1 level tsp.) in the mash and in the boil.

Procedure:

Infusion mash at 113°F for 24 hours uncovered then increase temperature 150°F for 1 hour. Sparge to obtain 6.5 gallons of wort, and bring to a roiling boil. Add the bittering hops 10 minutes into the boil. Continue boiling for 40 more min. then add Whirlfloc tablet or Irish moss. At knockout, cool the mixture by placing kettle in an ice bath or using a wort chiller. Add mixture to fermenter, removing hops, and aerate unfermented wort (shaking works well). Pitch yeast and ferment at 67°F to 68°F. Gravity may vary depending on system efficiency, so adjust accordingly.

Package up as usual; bottled versions should use 150 gms. corn sugar (approx.  1 cup), or kegged to 27 psig, and allow two weeks to come into condition. Serve at 45°~50°F in a Stange style glass, share, and enjoy – especially “mit schuss” (Raspberry or Woodruff syrup)! This beer will continue to evolve and change over the coming months, so make enough to last you through your next brew!

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