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Sour beers were almost unheard of (by most people) 5 years ago. But today, styles like Gose (pronounced "go-zah") have made their way into mainstream markets. The Gose style, a sour wheat beer with added salt and corriander, originated in Gose, Germany, and is one of two popular German sour beer styles. What's the other, style, you ask? Why, it's the Berliner Weisse, and that's what we'll be brewing today.
The Berliner Weisse style originated in Berlin, Germany. It's essentially a Gose without the coriander and salt. It's speculated that the Berliner Weisse evolved from Broyhan beer, a pale, low ABV, and slightly sour beer that became the most popular style of beer in Northern Germany when it was first brewed in 1526. Over time, Broyhan became Berliner Weisse.
After our experience brewing an Oktoberfest style beer, we thought it was a good idea to try our luck with another German beer. So we decided to brew a 5 gallon batch of Berliner Weisse using our brew in a bag (BIAB) electric homebrewing system.
This particular recipe is light, refreshing, and perfect for summer.
Berliner Weisse Style Guideline
- Sharply sour and somewhat acidic.
- A mild wheat flavor with light body.
- Very little to no hop character (IBUs 3-8).
- Low ABV (2.8% - 3.8%).
- Og: 1.028-1.032.
- Fg: 1.003-1.006.
Berliner Weisse Recipe Details
Full recipe details are below. However, we documented the entire brew day in our studio, so if you're lazy and just want to watch a video instead, here you go. But keep in mind, recipe specifics such as ingredient amounts are below.
Beginning water volume: 6.7 gallons (25.4 liters). We're using Asheville, NC city water and did not adjust chemistry.
Malt and Hops
- 2-row German Pilsner: 3lbs. (1.4 kg) (50%)
- German Wheat Malt: 3lbs. (1.4 kg) (50%)
- 1oz. (28.3g) Hallertau
We finely crushed all of our malts in a mill before mashing
We mashed at 133F (56.1C) for 60 minutes.
Once the mash was over we began the kettle souring process. We started with a quick 15 min. boil before cooling the mash down to 95F (35C). At this temp, we carefully added lactic acid until pH dropped to 4.56.
At this point we added lactobacillus bacteria in the form of a Goodbelly probiotic drink, which we bought from an organic grocery store. It contains the same type of lactobacillus bacteria that is used for souring beer.
After adding the lacto we let the kettle sit for one day. During this time our wort dropped to a pH of 3.27. Oops, this one is going to be slightly more sour than we wanted it to be! We were hoping for something more
At this point we resumed the brew day and completed a quick 15 min boil and added .25 oz (7.1g) of Hallertau Hops.
Adding Hallertau hops
Note, at one point in the video we indicate that we completed a 60 minute boil, but it was only 15.
Cooling and Fermentation
After the boil we cooled the word town to 70F (21.1C) and pitched Safale US-05 dry yeast.
This beer was fermented at 67F (19.4C) for 10 days.
- Post-Mash pH - 4.6
- Starting gravity - 1.032
- Final Gravity - 1.010
- Final keg volume: 5 gallons (18.9 liters)
- ABV - 2.9%
Tasting / Review
This Berliner Weisse turned out great. It's a bit more sour than we wanted it to be, which makes the wheat character a bit less pronounced. But but otherwise, it's on point. It's very light and very refreshing! A great summer drinker.
Beyond the taste, it should be noted that this is a "super session," extremely low ABV, highly crushable beer. One of these beers contains less than half the amount of alcohol as your typical craft beer.
All said, we give this one an 8 of 10. It'd probably be a 10 if we hadn't let the souring process go as far as we did. If you're looking to make a summer sour, this recipe is for you and we highly recommend it.