Did you know the name Berliner Weisse is a protected name in Germany and is only allowed to be used on Berliner Weisse beers from Berlin? I also found out was that the whole name thing is not really enforced, but I’m not taking any chances.
So this post is Part 1 of what I hope to be a 3 or 4 part post that will end with my the completion of my first Sour (and hopefully drinkable).
I have been homebrewing for quite a few years now, but it wasn’t until recently that I even thought about brewing a sour. Actually, it really has only been the last 4 or 5 years that I have found sours that I really enjoy drinking. My earliest memory of any type of sour was Samual Adams Cranberry Lambic. Although I would not say it’s at the top of my list, I still have some fond memories of this Fall staple.
- Day 1 – Lacto Starter
1 Qt. of Martinelli’s Apple Jucie
White Labs WLP667 Lactobacillus Delbruckii
Combined both (no boil) in the apple juice jar, swirled to mix and capped with airlock. Kept the starter at 70+ degrees. I tried to keep the starter as warm as could, by keeping it in a cooler wrapped in a few towels and a heating bag, that I would stick in the microwave every so often. I got the idea for the lacto starter from Matt Becker of Small Batch Brew and got some guidance from The Mad Fermentationist. Both are great resources for homebrewing.
- Day 2 – Yeast Starter
1/2 cup of DME
1 pint water
White Labs WLP011 European Ale Yeast
Boiled the DME and water for 15 minutes and cooled in an ice bath until temp fell to about 70 degrees. Combined yeast and wort mixture in a growler and capped with a stanitized foil “cap”
- Day 3 – Brew Day
Let me start by saying this was not a stellar brew day. Rushing around, not fully prepared and it seemed I was behind during the whole brew. However, this brew day was a day for “firsts” for me. Starting with my hopping. All the hops for this batch went into the mash tun, no boil hops. Secondly, this is my first true step mash.
Mash Schedule – Step Mash
10 minutes @ 123 degrees 6.5 qts of water
20 minutes @ 136 degrees 2 qts Decoc & brought to a boil
45 minutes @ 146 degrees 2.70 qts of water
20 minutes @ 154 degrees 1.4 qts of water
I did have a couple dumb moves, and the first one; I was not prepared to brew a 4-gallon batch. Oh, I had enough supplies, but what I did not have was a way to measure 4 gallons of wort (plus boil off). So I guessed…I mean “guesstimated”.
Since I was only doing a 15 minute boil, all I really needed was 4 1/2 gallons at the most. Because of my lack of measurement devices and not wanting to run short, I pulled too much (hind sight).
I went with a 4 gallon batch because the only glass carboy I had available was a 5 gallon and I did not want to push the limits.
After the boil and cool down were completed, I proceeded to fill the carboy. Lucky for me, I had already marked the 4 gallon spot with a sharpie. After getting to the 4 gallon mark I looked in the kettle and had easily 1-1/2 gallons of wort still in it. So at that point I made the decision to up the batch size to 4-1/2 gallons (may end up as another dumb move). That all being said my OG and TG based on the recipe could be way off, but the numbers came in pretty reasonable.
4.5 lbs German Pilsner Malt
2 lbs Wheat Malt
White Labs WLP011 European Ale Yeast
15 – Minute Boil
1.25 oz Hallertau Hops pellet
45 – Minute Sparge
Pre Boil Gravity 1.026
Post Boil Gravity 1.030
With an OG of 1.030 it means my mash efficiency was around 60%. It’s sounds bad, but with only a 15-minute boil the whole efficiency thing goes out the window.
I will post part 2 in a week or so, to check in on the fermentation.