Saturday, October 29, 2011

Triple Barrel – part 1: Berliner Weisse

The first weekend in August, my wife took my three little angels to visit their cousins in Charlotte, so I had the weekend to brew. I brewed a Berliner Weisse on Friday night and a Bohemian Pilsner and Belgian IPA on Saturday.

On Friday I planned to play cards, so if I was going to brew, it had to be pretty quick. I’d been toying with doing some sour beers and I decided to do a short boil Berliner Weisse. Berliner Weisse is a German low gravity wheat beer fermented with a combination of yeast and lactobacillus bacteria. The brew session generated a number of firsts:
1. I actually willingly allowed bacteria into my brewery (what? Am I crazy?)
2. I only did a 15 minute boil – with Pilsner malt no less (am I trying to have a DMS bomb?)
3. I did my first decoction – I only did a single decoction, but it didn’t seem to be a very big deal. I think this will definitely be a tool to add to my arsenal every time I need to do a step mash.
The fermentation regimen can be done one of three ways:
1. Ferment out with the yeast and then add the bugs;
2. Add the bacteria and yeast at the same time
3. Start with the lactobacillus and add the yeast later
I decided to start with the lacto about 5 days before pitching the yeast to give the souring a good head start.

As of two months after brewing, every tasting so far has seemed more funky/bretty than sour. I’ve read that BWs hit their stride about 8 months after brewing, so only time will tell if this gets to where I want it.

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