I was inspired to brew this beer after tasting New Glarus’ Unplugged Berliner Weisse. The sour crip flavor is perfect for a hot summer day. After doing a little research, I found that this beer should be aged about 6 months to a year for proper sourness. This is a very low alcohol beer making it a great session beer at 2.8 – 3.8% ABV. The acidic sour taste is produced by Lactobacillus bacteria, and its hazy color comes from it large proportion of wheat and no boil. It took a bit of searching to find any information in the form of a recipe. Wyeast had a pretty good formula to follow, so I used that as a basis. Although I came up with my own procedure after finding some other info out on the interwebs. My procedure does not have a boil. Instead, we put the hops into the mash and follow one of the mash schedules below. Once we runoff into the brewpot, bring the wort up to a boil, and flame out. This should kill any baddies and get the wort ready for your own bugs. Transfer to fermentation vessel, and aerate. This is where you have several choices. Depending on how sour you want the beer you can do 2 things. Add the Lacto first – then after a day or 2 add the yeast to finish it off. Or add the yeast and lacto at the same time. I made this brew the first time by adding the yeast and lacto at the same time, and I really didn’t get enough sourness after 6 months of aging. The beer was slightly sour, but I was looking for tart, even puckering, acidity. But its your choice – so lets move on. The fermentation should be over pretty rapidly – 3-4 days. There should be no need to rack to a secondary unless you want or need to. I bottled after 7 days in the bucket. At bottling time you could add additional lacto culture for enhanced sourness if you think you need it.
Ingredients For 5 gals:
3.00 lb Pilsner (2 Row) Ger (2.0 SRM) Grain 50.00 %
3.00 lb Wheat Malt, Ger (2.0 SRM) Grain 50.00 %
0.50 oz Hallertauer [4.80 %] (0 min) (Mash Hop – aim for about 8 IBU )
1 Pkgs German Ale (Wyeast Labs #1007) Starter Yeast-Ale
1 Pkgs Lactobacillus (Wyeast Labs #5335) Starter bump up to- 1/2 gal – or more ??? Reserve some, culture additional for bottling as needed.
Optional – rice hulls & yeast nutrient
Total Grain Weight: 6.00 lb
Step Mash as follows, or do a single infusion at 149.0 F
(I think a single infusion will serve you well. I did a step mash, but in the end its a wheat beer – its supposed to be cloudy, and we are not even boiling it! – again the choice is yours)
30 min Protein Rest 122.0 F
15 min Step- Raise to 144 Heat to 144.0 F over 2 min 144.0 F
20 min Step Heat to 149.0 F over 2 min 149.0 F
15 min Step Heat to 162.0 F over 2 min 162.0 F
10 min Mash Out Heat to 168.0 F over 2 min 168.0 F
Sparge carefully – I got a stuck mash in my batch sparge cooler- and should have used rice hulls. Or even better, do a Brew in a Bag (BIAB) and you don’t have to worry!
OG – 1.031
FG – 1.006
Bottle to a higher carbonation level, 3.5 – 4 volumes – use heavy bottles for the higher levels… Otherwise a normal carbonation level is pretty satisfactory if you are not trying to go by the book and true to style.
Final notes: This beer is not for everyone – to me its like a sour soda, with a bit of alcohol. Great for many food pairings, and like I said before great in summer!