This year I had some extra time on my hands and decided to test two methods of making Berliner Weisse. I have heard good and bad things regarding sour mashes for Berliners and so I figured I would do a side-by-side experiment. I would sour mash one Berliner (which should allow for a nice sour beer, in a much faster time frame. may have some off flavors, not as complex) and I would do a more traditional version where I pitch a commercial lacto strain and then after ~48 hours at warm temps I cool it down and pitch a clean ale yeast (which should be more complex, less chance for off flavors, be nice and sour, but takes longer). We will see how the results turn out.
Here is an overview of my procedure:
-16# of grain into the mash tun, 8# 2-Row and 8# of Wheat Malt, mashed at 150F for 35 minutes.
- Drain off first runnings and collect.
-Sparge mash and collect second runnings (this was 8 gallons final).
-I split that 8 gallons into two parts. 4 gallons went back into the mash and 4 gallons stayed in the kettle. I then added 1.5 gallons of water to the kettle. I added a pitcher full of ice to the mash to cool it down closer to 100F (I only got it down to 125F, I tok the temp tonight and it was down to 110F, in addition the grain had risen above the liquid level and the funky aromas were starting to form.) I wish I had pictures.
-The sour mash will hold at ~100F for 48 hours. I added about a half pound of crushed grain to the mash tun as well to introduce some healthy lacto.
-Kettle Half was hopped and boiled for 15 minutes, cooled to 80F, and the lacto was pitched. after 48 hours I will cool and add clean ale yeast.
- The sour mash will get mash hops, drain and sparked to bring final volume to 6 gallons. I will boil it for 15 minutes to kill the lacto. I will then add a clean ale yeast to finish fermentation.
My hope is that the sour mash version will be just as sour, and complex as the commercial strain version, and hopefully with no off flavors. If this is the case then I would do a sour mash from here on out, since this version would get me to the same ends at a much faster rate.