Its tough to find Berliner Weiss at this end of the globe, and as a result Im constantly scouring other blogs for ideas and recipes in order to make what I think in my mind is going to be the perfect session beer. Tart, sour, funky malty and low enough in alcohol to drink in quantity, it really does tick a lot of boxes for the beer nerd. Ive been inspired by the likes of The Mad Fermentationist with his Rhubarb Berliner Weiss and Ive been ogling at the rhubarb bush outside my kitchen window for months now with this very beer on my mind.
Ive decided to do a short boil, then sour the wort with Lactobacillus Delbrueckii (Whitelabs 677) at 30C for a few days before bringing the wort back up to a boil and then commencing primary fermentation with Brettanomyces Clausenii (whitelabs 645). This should add some complexity to an otherwise mild beer. Lacto Delbrueckii produces a very soft acidity that doesn't exactly sizzle on the tongue…. I can imagine that rhubarb will bring some bracing acidity to the table and fill the gaps nicely
Ive also decided to use some assertive hopping at the end of boil with some Riwaka and 'mystery German' hops that my friend Logan Douglas grew in his backyard. They have a mild spicy lemon note that should work well with the acidity and fruity profile of the beer.
I can't wait to see what the Brett does with all these flavours, if it gets anywhere near the 'pineapple and fruit bowl' descriptors that I hear others swooning over Ill be a happy brewer!
O.G. 1.040 - Batch size 20L
2Kg Gladfield Pale malt
1Kg Weyerman Pale wheat
80g Acidulated Malt
40g Riwaka at 10 minutes 5.2 IBU
30g Saaz (mystery German) whirlpool for 15 minutes 2.1 IBU
Fresh Rhubarb (not sure how much yet, or if any at all… Will wait to see how the base beer turns out first)
Calcium Sulphate & Calcium Carbonate to taste
16 03 2014 - Pitched one vial of Lacto culture into a 2 litre starter and one vial of Brett into a one litre starter. Left to ferment for one week.
23 03 2014 - Pitched the one litre Brett starter into a fresh two litre starter on the stir plate.
26 03 2014 - Mash at 68C for 40 minutes and batch sparge into the kettle.
N.B. For any pale beer such as this which will end up with next to no residual sweetness, monitoring your sparge ph and being gentle with your wort is a must to avoid tannin extraction which will stick out like dogs balls when there's nothing left in the beer to hide it… So acidify that liquor to 5.6 keep the temperature below 75C and everything will be gravy!
Boil wort for 15 minutes then chill back to 30C. Set the thermostat.
Add Lacto Bacillus starter and purge the head space with cO2 and cover with plastic wrap. Replace the lid and let it sour!
02 04 2014 - The wort was ready a few days ago but I only just got time to complete the process... As a lot of others have noted this strain of Lacto is very mild, it does have a lovely lacto aroma however… Boiled the wort for 60 minutes untill all of the DMS aromas (cooked corn and veges) were gone and added hops, chilled to 24C and pitched Brett. Added pure O2 at a rate of 1L per minute for thirty seconds. Left to ferment at 22C.
There's nothing like the smell of Riwaka at the end of the boil!