Monday, April 2, 2012

Berliner Weisse Aged on an Oak Stave

My first use of a wine stave!
I enjoy the tartness of tart beers, I think that when you have a beer with a bit of an acidic backbone to it you can really help the fruit pop from the glass. The low hoping rate of sour beers also lends itself to the marriage of fruit and beer. The use of aged hops and acidic bacteria in a Lambic Style beer makes for a very nice fruited beer. Another style traditionally mixed with fruit syrup is Berliner Weisse. Known by Napoleon as the Champagne of the North the Berliner Weisse has survived as a regional specialty while not making a particularly large impact on the craft beer market. I see this changing as the market for craft beer expands and the craft beer drinker's taste evolve over time.

The characteristic tart flavors present in this style come from a mix of lactic acid producing bacteria and traditional brewers yeast. From my readings I've gathered that the traditional mixture is four parts yeast and one part bacteria. I am going to mix a vial of Lactobacillus with a vial of European yeast.  I lack the equipment to accurately calculate the ratio and am just kinda hoping it will work out..

(read more after the break.)

My wort will be composed of the historically accurate 50% wheat 50% pilsner base. When I transfer onto the fruit I am going to add the some Brett L to the brew. I've read that historic example included brett funk and that brett funk improves the style.

I want to make a tart brew with a hint of fruits. I'll be aging a portion of the beer on an amount of cherries & bramble fruit. I hope to have a better idea of how noticeable the fruit flavor should be after tasting it later. I want a fruit flavor brought to life by the lactic sourness created by the lactic bacteria, and brettanomyces. I want to avoid seeds, and maintain an aceptic environment to precisely control the microbes, so I'll be using Oregon fruit. These fruits will add a bit of costs but if the beer tastes good I believe they'll only add to the flavor.

Batch Size (fermenter): 5.00 gal
Estimated OG: 1.031 SG
Estimated Color: 3.3 SRM Estimated
IBU: 4.1 IBUs
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

1 lbs 12.0 oz DME Golden Light (Briess) (2.0 SRM) 50.0 %
1 lbs 12.0 oz DME Wheat Bavarian (Briess) (8.0 SRM) 50.0 %
0.40 oz Saaz [4.00 %] - Boil 20.0 min 4.1 IBUs
1.0 pkg European Ale (White Labs)
1.0 pkg Lactobacillus Bacteria (White Labs)

It was an extract brew so the brew day was not noteworthy.

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