Author Topic: Bottling a Berliner Weisse  (Read 2458 times)

Offline jeffy

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Bottling a Berliner Weisse
« on: March 04, 2012, 06:10:46 AM »
I have 5 gallons of fermented Berliner Weisse that is not as sour as I like.  I syphoned off some into a few 12 ounce bottles, added 4 of those little Munton's carb tabs to each and let them rest about 7 weeks.  (This is starting to sound like one of those math word problems, but it's not, really.)
I tried a bottle yesterday and found the lactic sourness almost perfect, but the carbonation almost flat.
My question is whether increasing the amount of priming sugar will eventually carbonate the beer or will it only contribute to the lactic production
My other plan (instead of priming and bottling) would be to prime and keg it with a bit of head pressure.  If it is still flat in a few weeks I can then force carbonate it.
Jeff Gladish, Tampa (989.3, 175.1 Apparent Rennarian)
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Offline bluesman

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Re: Bottling a Berliner Weisse
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2012, 08:39:24 AM »
My first thought is that the yeast will outcompete the bacteria for the sugar. They seem to be much faster at consuming sugars than the bugs. So priming the bottle with sugar should render mostly CO2 and a marginal amount of acid.
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Offline dimik

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Re: Bottling a Berliner Weisse
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2012, 10:22:59 AM »
Actually the bacteria will outcompete yeast and all other eukaryotes every time in non-alcoholic conditions due to much faster replication time. However, the level of alcohol in the berliner will really cripple the Lactobacillus while the yeast will be just fine and carbonate your beer. Some of the sugar will contribute to acidity because some Lactos will be active. I noticed that my berliner got notably more sour 2 months after bottling.
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Offline nateo

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Re: Bottling a Berliner Weisse
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2012, 11:32:28 AM »
I've used 'wild' lacto from grain to make Berliners. It definitely produced CO2 in addition to lactic acid. Have you checked the pH? My yeast got seriously crippled as the pH fell under 3. It might just need more time to fully carbonate.
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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Bottling a Berliner Weisse
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2012, 12:14:59 AM »
Good points above.  Have you tasted the non-bottled stuff and is it still not as sour as you'd like?  It might be that it all gained sourness over time, and the beer just hasn't carbonated yet.
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Offline jeffy

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Re: Bottling a Berliner Weisse
« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2012, 05:18:43 AM »
No, I haven't tasted the rest of the beer in the carboy since I bottled those few.  I would have thought that 7 weeks in the bottles would have been enough time to show at least some carbonation.
When I get home tonight I'll taste and check the pH of both the bulk and the bottled.
Jeff Gladish, Tampa (989.3, 175.1 Apparent Rennarian)
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Offline jeffy

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Re: Bottling a Berliner Weisse
« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2012, 06:32:09 PM »
Surprisingly, the bulk beer in the carboy measured 3.14 pH and the bottle-conditioned and yet still flat beer measured 3.40.  The bulk beer tasted and smelled more lactic sour.
I think I'll keg this and force carbonate it.
Jeff Gladish, Tampa (989.3, 175.1 Apparent Rennarian)
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Offline nateo

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Re: Bottling a Berliner Weisse
« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2012, 07:11:07 PM »
Yeast really don't like low pH, from my experience. I pitched my pre-soured wort (about 2.5pH) onto a whole yeast cake, and it only dropped from 1.016 to 1.008. Mine carbed up fine, but I'd bet it was the remaining lacto and not the yeast that did it. Force carbing would be a good way to go.
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Offline dimik

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Re: Bottling a Berliner Weisse
« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2012, 06:32:41 PM »
I doubt it's the Lacto that carbonated it. I looked through some literature and could only find papers that say Lacto produces small amounts of carbon dioxide. Anyone has info to support or contradict?
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Offline nateo

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Re: Bottling a Berliner Weisse
« Reply #9 on: March 07, 2012, 06:51:15 AM »
I doubt it's the Lacto that carbonated it. I looked through some literature and could only find papers that say Lacto produces small amounts of carbon dioxide. Anyone has info to support or contradict?

If you have a truly homofermentative strain of Lacto, it won't produce any CO2. If it's heterofermentative, it will definitely produce CO2. It will produce half as much CO2 and ethanol per glucose molecule as yeast would, which is still quite a lot of CO2.

I hate to quote wikipedia, but here's what I found: "During fermentation, pyruvate is metabolised to various compounds. Homolactic fermentation is the production of lactic acid from pyruvate; alcoholic fermentation is the conversion of pyruvate into ethanol and carbon dioxide; and heterolactic fermentation is the production of lactic acid as well as other acids and alcohols."

"The chemical equation below shows the alcoholic fermentation of glucose, whose chemical formula is C6H12O6.[4] One glucose molecule is converted into two ethanol molecules and two carbon dioxide molecules: C6H12O6 → 2 C2H5OH + 2 CO2"

"In heterolactic fermentation, the reaction proceeds as follows, with one molecule of glucose being converted to one molecule of lactic acid, one molecule of ethanol, and one molecule of carbon dioxide:[7]
C6H12O6 → CH3CHOHCOOH + C2H5OH + CO2"
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Offline dimik

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Re: Bottling a Berliner Weisse
« Reply #10 on: March 07, 2012, 08:06:09 AM »
Yes thank you, I am familiar with heterolactic fermentation and NAD+ recycling. But how sure are you that the strains you got floating in the unboiled Berliner are heterolactic or that they will not be outcompeted by yeast at that point or other bacteria (I managed to isolate 5 microbes out of raw wort and don't think any of them are Lactobacillus so far, which doesn't mean it's not there, because it is, but rather that there is a ton of other critters living in raw Berliners as well)? I know L. brevis is a hetero... regardless.
Say all you got in there are homo- or heterolactic bacteria and the yeast is "dead or crippled" (for our purposes). So you add the sugar aiming for 3 volumes... I think you know where I'm going with this. The beer would end up more sour and carbonated like a British Bitter, which is not what happens, at least in my experience. The beer does get more sour, but it's also carbonated like a champagne. Thus other players must be involved. I maintain that the yeast are the main contributors to carbonation with Lactobacilli and other wild microflora playing in the background. They have a hugely wide pH tolerance range and who knows what wild yeasts may have hitched a ride from the grain.
BTW, I know we all hate quoting wiki, but it's getting really good as far as scientific stuff goes.

Just to be safe, I'd add a little bit of fresh yeast when bottling if you've been aging it for a while.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2012, 08:08:21 AM by dimik »
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Offline jeffy

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Re: Bottling a Berliner Weisse
« Reply #11 on: March 07, 2012, 09:16:20 AM »
The lacto producer that I used in mine was lactobacillus delbrukii purchased from Wyeast.  Is that homofermentative or hetero?  If the former that would explain the lack of CO2 production.
Jeff Gladish, Tampa (989.3, 175.1 Apparent Rennarian)
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Offline dimik

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Re: Bottling a Berliner Weisse
« Reply #12 on: March 07, 2012, 10:07:25 AM »
My guess would be it's a straight lactic acid producer.
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