Brew Dudes

Homebrewing blog and resource

Berliner Weisse Recipe

Continuing my adventure into sour ales, I used the following recipe for a Berliner Weisse.  Being totally new to the style I used the recipe from “Brewing Classic Styles” by Jamil Zainasheff and John Palmer.

Berliner Weisse is a light wheat beer, fermented clean but has an acidic sour bite.  Sourness is contributed usually from lactobacillus bacteria activity that makes for a clean but sharp sourness.

The real neat part about this style is the use of a 15 minute boil!  Yes 15 minutes!  As an all-grain recipe that really shortened the brew day.  I would only recommend doing trying this style as an all-grainer if you have good cooling capabilities.  I was able to get my wort chilled to under 140F within 5-10 minutes using my immersion chiller and a prechiller set-up.

On to the recipe:

Amount Item Type % or IBU
4.20 lb Pilsner (2 Row) Ger (2.0 SRM) Grain 58.33 %
3.00 lb Wheat Malt, Ger (2.0 SRM) Grain 41.67 %
1.00 oz Hallertauer [4.00 %] (15 min) Hops 6.8 IBU
1.00 items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 15.0 min) Misc
1 Pkgs European Ale (White Labs #WLP011) Yeast-Ale
1 Pkgs Lactobacillus Delbrueckii (Wyeast Labs #4335) [Add to Secondary] Bacteria

 

I have fermented the beer for two weeks at 65F in glass.
My OG was 1.035 with only 6-7IBUs.
I’ll transfer to a keg and let it condition in the mid 60s, sampling it until the sourness is where I want it to be.

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16 Comments

  1. I’ve read that Berliner Weisse can be flavored with syrups or fruit. Dogfish Head makes Festina Peche, a Berliner Weisse with peach which is very good. I love the sour component to this style. I was surprised to hear that the original recipe for this allows for the inclusion of flavored syrups to counter some of the sour. Just curious what you might include with this recipe. Add fruit, syrup or let it be as is?

  2. Marcus

    Sounds delicious. These guys The Bruery (a brewery) make a great berliner weisse and have no added flavors. It is quite a sour beer and you can taste the large amount of wheat in the aroma and mouthfeel. If you ever in So Cal give it a try!

    They also make a great yam beer, Autumn Maple.

    http://thebruery.com/beers/index.html

  3. Chipper D
    Every place I have ever had a Berliner they offer either raspberry or woodruff sweet syrups. These syrups are added to the glass prior to pouring.
    For me I prefer it straight-up, sour as I can get it.

    So I won’t be adding any syrups or fruit during the aging process.
    I may need to get and prepare some syrups for some of my friends that don’t like the sharp sourness that I do.

    BREW ON!

  4. Erik

    Mike – any updates on this? Is the brew still souring? I’m interested in trying this recipe.

  5. I plan to do a taste sample of this later this week.
    Its been in a warm-ish place for several weeks now, I hope its getting sour.
    I’ll post an update once I get it tasted.
    Thanks for being interested.

  6. Bill

    I am toying with doing a Berliner Weisse and was curious how the taste came out. Did you pich the yeast with a starter? How many days in primary? Did you pitch the bugs in secondary with a starter?

  7. I pitched the lactobacillus and the European Ale yeast at the same time. Surprisingly, after a two months it wasn’t really sour at all. If you didn’t know it was a Berliner one might not even notice the slight hint of lactic acid. I would discourage you from pitching the bugs in secondary. There just won’t be much sugar left for them. I think next time I’d pitch the lacto in before the yeast. Give it a couple days in advance, then pitch the yeast. Also the OG on this style is so low, you won’t need a starter just pitch the vial or pack of yeast right in.
    I haven’t sampled this one in quite awhile, and its been sitting cold in the garage now since fall. I hope to sample it soon as I clean out the garage post the holidays.
    Best of luck with your Berliner.

  8. Dickie Thon

    Typically, you should pitch the lacto first, then the 1007 or whatever yeast you plan to use 48 hours later or so. The lacto is very weak compared to the yeast and will be overpowered. A lacto starter in pre-boiled apple juice works well for more pucker power.

  9. Nat

    Actually these sour yeasts feed of of different sugars available in the solution that normal yeasts can’t use. Typically they are pitched in the secondary after the main yeast has done it’s job. They can then get established without competition because the other yeast has no nutrients left. I made a lambic with a basic wheat beer recipe, in the secondary I added 5.5 lbs of dark cherries, 4 oz of oak chips, brettanomyces lambicus, pediococcus, and lactobacillus. We’ll see how sour it gets this summer!

  10. Ted

    I recently made this and I think it will become my summer staple beer. Problem in St. Louis is brewing in the summer really bites. Close to 100F outside (where I brew) and really high humidity makes it a miserable brew day, so the 15 minute boil helped. It is a great and easier to make than expected, plus good luck finding a good commercial one, which doesn’t cost an arm & a leg. The sour in my first batch is light, could be a bit stronger for my taste. Maybe try Dickie Thon’s starter method, sounds good if it can bring the sour up a notch for me.

  11. That’s great to hear, Ted. Cheers!

  12. R. George Snyder

    When I was stationed in West Berlin, (Germany) my wife and I drank Berliner Weisse often. The fruit syrups that were added was always rasberry–either red or green, and the drink was served in a large- stemmed, heavy glass (large enough to satisfy a small gold fish).

  13. Ted

    Looks like you transferred to a secondary when adding Lactobacillus Delbrueckii, but hard to tell if your total fermentation time was 2 weeks before kegging. So I am wondering if you tossed in your Lactobacillus Delbrueckii at kegging time or did a transfer to a secondary (or just pitched the Lactobacillus Delbrueckii later in the primary) during that 2 week period. I pitch both the yeast and Lactobacillus Delbrueckii making a starter together, when I did it. There was very little sour while fermenting around 72F the whole time. Not sure if having a higher temp during fermentation would help too.

  14. When I was dating my husband in the mid-1960’s, we often ended up in the German section of the Upper East Side of Manhattan for a late German dinner. I did not favor beer, but was loath to order a bottle of wine for myself. One bartender suggested a BerlinerWeisser, which he said was a bitter corn beer, laced with a good dose of rasberry syrup – delicious. But cannot find any in Northern Virginia.

  15. Kayla

    What is the reason it’s only a 15 minute boil?

  16. Hey Kayla:
    The super short boil is namely just for sanitizing the wort. You aren’t really interested in getting any bitterness in this style of beer. So an extended boil to convert the little hops to a bittering change is unnecessary. Some people actually forego the hops all together. And the beer is so light (1.035) you don’t need much of a boil to achieve a good hot break etc etc. Hope that helps.
    Here’s to you! -mike

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