Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Tips for the Time Constrained Brewer: Part 3

The final part in this series is going to discuss the No Boil method. And if you're thinking to yourself that there isn't a beer out there that doesn't require a boil, then think again. And the one I'm going to specifically discuss is the Berliner Weisse.

The Berliner Weisse beer was originally concocted in Germany hundreds of years ago. It's not a very strong beer and only comes in at about 3% or so. Now, being home brewers we don't have to stick to those guidelines if we don't want to. With the Berliner Weisse, you typically add about 25-50% wheat to your grain bill. Now this method can only be done by brewing All Grain. Here's a recipe for a simple Berliner Weisse and how to brew it. Bittering hops are completely optional. Since this beer usually has less than 10 IBUS I sometimes find that you don't even need to add bittering hops.

Also, this is a sour beer. It's not a very sour beer, but it will give you a tart flavor in the finish. And souring all depends on how long you let it sit in order to get the sourness level you desire.

Berliner Weisse 5 gallon batch based on 75% efficiency

4 lbs 2-row pilsner
3 lbs wheat
WLP 011 European Ale yeast

Dough in as usually with 1.25 qts per lb of grain. Hit a mash temp of about 148 and let that rest for an hour or so. Then, stir up the grain so the temp falls to below 110 degrees. Once this is accomplished add a handful of crushed grain to the mash and stir well. By doing this you are naturally adding Lactobacillus to the mash and this is what's going to make it sour. Let it sit over night or for a day or two. WARNING: The mash is really going to smell like rotten trash. Don't be afraid of it, it's just fine. But it will smell rancid; that's just the Lacto doing it's job.

After you've let it sit, sparge as normal with about 200 degree water and get as much sugars out as possible. Collect in your kettle and heat the wort to about 160 degrees and pasteurize it. That's it. Cool it down and add your yeast and you're done.

Proceed with normal fermentation and bottling. And there you have it. Pat yourself on the back for making a sour beer!