Re: Lactic acid Berliner Weisse

Mon Jun 03, 2013 5:49 pm

A few years back I brewed a berliner with just lactic acid to sour it. I entered this in a small competition and, of course, finished last in that category. After the judging I had the opportunity to taste it side by side with 4 properly soured berliners. The others varied in quality but all had a complexity that was completely lacking in mine. Mine was completely one dimensional. It didn't taste bad, just an uninteresting sour beer.

If you are afraid of contaminating equipment, you might think about souring a couple pounds of grain in a small pot for a few days. When you get a good degree of sour, drain the wort, give it a short boil and add it to the rest of your beer. You can control the sourness by how much of the sour wort you add

As a side note, I did enter the same beer into another competition in another state at the same time as the local one. I won a gold medal for it. :shock: But reading the judging sheets it was immediately obvious that the two judges knew crap about the style but I kept the medal anyway. 8)
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Re: Lactic acid Berliner Weisse

Mon Aug 05, 2013 7:54 am

I just thought I'd update this thread with how this beer turned out. I'm quite pleased what the result!

The recipe I came up with was 60/40 Pilsner/wheat, 12 IBUs, and Wyeast Weihenstephaner. I started adding pure lactic acid by the 1/2 tsp to the uncarbonated finished beer at kegging time until I was satisfied. I expected the perceived tartness to increase after it carbonated so I purposefully undershot the tartness. I ended up adding 5.5 tsp to my 3 gallon keg (a little over 9 tsp for a 5 gallon batch). I may pop the lid and add some more lactic acid (1/2-1 tsp).

The final carbonated beer has a nice level of tartness, decent clove flavor from the Weihenstephaner yeast, and is VERY drinkable. It ended up with an ABV of 3.1% which I'd bump to closer to 4% next time which I think would make it seem more flavorful. It is extremely clean (how I like my sours) so those looking for a more complex beer would need to do something else to this beer or just brew it the traditional (Lactobacillus) way. I've wondered if adding a bottle full of lambic to this keg would do as far as adding complexity...

As far as pure lactic acid being buttery, when I opened the bottle, it smelled extremely buttery which had me quite concerned initially. When I added it to the beer, however, I sense no buttery-ness at all.

All in all, I will definitely be brewing a BW this way again.
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Re: Lactic acid Berliner Weisse

Fri Sep 13, 2013 3:27 pm

glad to hear it worked out well for you! Berliners are fantastic shwilling beers when made well. Sounds like with your method you can bust one out in under three weeks! Killer!
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