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Author Topic: Berlinner or Lambic?  (Read 3263 times)

Offline tomsawyer

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Berlinner or Lambic?
« on: April 30, 2012, 07:34:13 am »
I've been making sours lately and thought I'd try another Berlinner weisse since the first one was fairly well received.  I did some things though that I think may have put the beer more into a lambic category.

First of all, I used mostly unmalted wheat (4lb + 1lb malted wheat).  I like the flavor of unmalted wheat and it gives a really light color.  The remainder of the grist was German pils (5lb).  I see most recipes call for wheat malt.

Second, I mash-hopped 3oz of Saaz.  I read that on a recent thread here, but later I found another thread that said Lactobacillus Delbreuckii is very susceptible to hops.  This was a no-boil batch so maybe I'm OK.  But I wonder if I messed up by mash-hopping since BJCP guidelines say no hop aroma either.

Third, I got scared the lacto might not take and poured in a bottle of a really sour lamibic I made back in '10.  This is going to give it a little Brett, hopefully not too much.
Fourth,  my OG came out at 1.040.  I'm not too worried about this although it is above style guidelines.  I can dilute if I need to.

I used a no-boil approach and pitched a vial of Whitelabs Lactobacillus while the wort was still at 100F.  It was still somewhat warm this morning.  I didn't make a lacto starter but was thinking I'd give the lacto a head start of a day or two.  I'm not seeing any activity though and that is a little worrisome.  I'll be pitching a blend of WLP300 and WB06 for the Sacch.

So do you think this is going to be a lambic or a Berlinner?  I hope its the latter since I've brewed three lambics in the last couple of months.
Hannibal, MO

Offline nateo

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Re: Berlinner or Lambic?
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2012, 07:46:04 am »
I've read that the "real deal" Berliners today are brewed with hardly any, or no wheat at all. I think the "Weiss" part is more indicative of the color rather than the ingredients. I've never been to Berlin, so I have no idea what they actually taste like.

I've never made a beer like what you're describing. I pre-sour my wort for three days with a sour culture made from base grains. After three days at 100-110*F, I'll boil half the wort for 30min with my hops, and I'll bring the other half of the wort up to 150* for 30min. I'll chill, then pitch onto a yeast cake. This method provides a very quick, repeatable and clean souring, with the added benefit that everything "downstream" from the BK should be bug-free. 

It doesn't help you this time, but it might be worth trying in the future.
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Offline dee

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Re: Berlinner or Lambic?
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2012, 07:49:36 am »
I think it's still a BW.  Giving the lacto a warm head start will help but a lacto-only starter is advisable.  If you make a big starter you can add plenty of mash hops because the lacto will have already reached it's peak concentration.  I wouldn't worry about physical evidence of activity with the lacto either.  I'll bet your beer will be sour and refreshing on a warm summer day! 

Offline kylekohlmorgen

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Re: Berlinner or Lambic?
« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2012, 08:49:57 am »
Sounds like its going to make a great Berliner!

I would really like to hear how the no-boil and pitch at 100F combo works out. Will you please post your results?

PS - BJCP guidelines allow for a slight Brett aroma/flavor, which I prefer in this style. It would be interesting to see, if you entered it before and after the Brett took hold, which would be preferred by the judges.
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Berlinner or Lambic?
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2012, 10:04:44 am »
You have to seek out Berliner Weisse in Berlin.  It is a dying style. We were there in 2002.  A really fine city to visit, if you have not been to it.

My wife had a few there, from bottles. Never saw it on draft. She had a hard time convincing the bartenders that she wanted it "Ohne Schuss!".

The Schultheiss had some Brett character, the Kindl had none. Both had lactic sourness. I think only the Kindl is brewed these days. Correct me if I am wrong on that...
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Offline tomsawyer

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Re: Berlinner or Lambic?
« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2012, 11:38:49 am »
I guess me not knowing what a real Berlinner tastes like, makes it easier to hit the target.  BJCP is my only guide to the tartness.  My first one wasn't as firmly tart as it should probably have been, hence my use of the lacto culture with a head start and the no-boil.  The lambic I poured in, would remove enamel at one point although its mellowed enough to be modestly drinkable now.  I wouldn't have mash hopped if I'd read it inhibits lacto delbruekii growth.

I'll certainly report back when I find out how this works.  I don't think I did a no-boil last time.  I'm taking my chances on this thing but it no big deal if it doesn't work out.  There are a lot of different methods for producing this style.  I just picked out a few options that seemed to promote the souring, and went with it.  I know the no-boil makes things a little bit of a crap shoot especially with the delayed Sacch pitch.
Hannibal, MO

Offline thomasbarnes

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Re: Berlinner or Lambic?
« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2012, 07:40:31 pm »

It takes time for both lacto and brett to develop. If the brett character is too much, either use it as a blender beer (very appropriate for all varieties of our) or just call it an "American Sour Ale"

Given that you just mash-hopped, the alpha acid levels - which are what's bad for bacteria - will be low.

Commercially, the only authentic Berlinerweisse still brewed is Kindl, and it's hard to find. Good commercial "Berliner-like" weisses are Berliner Bahnhoff and Fritz Breim 1809 - the latter being a bit unusual in that it's a historic, "vollbier" strength Berliner (~5%).

Offline tomsawyer

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Re: Berlinner or Lambic?
« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2012, 08:18:51 am »
So far so good.  The Sacch yeast are pretty much done and the beer doesn't have any bad smells.  I haven't tasted it yet, but figured I'd bulk age until its appropriately sour.
Hannibal, MO