RECIPE FOR 5 GALLONS:
- 3 lbs Pilsner; German
- 3 lbs Wheat Malt, Pale
- 0.50 oz Willamette [5.50 %] – Boil 15.0 min
- 1.0 pkg German Ale (Wyeast Labs #1007)
- 1.0 pkg Lactobacillus Blend (Omega #OYL-605)
- 4 lbs Puree; Blackberry [Primary] – Primary
Okay, so here’s the deal. Today, I’m going to brew a Berliner Weisse.
I’m going to kettle sour it, and then, when the beer’s in the fermenter, I’m going to add blackberry puree. And, because I want to share this beer with a friend out of state, I’m going to package it using my new canning device. I cannot wait to try this one.
Stage one, pretty simple, going to mash this very modest amount of grains in some water. And, let’s see, it is going to be 150 Fahrenheit, which is 66 Celsius.
Now, half of this grist is wheat malt, which means we don’t have a whole lot of husks in here, but I’m not really worried. There’s not very much of anything in here, to be honest. And, brewing in the bag systems like this typically don’t have any sort of problems with stock mashes. If you’re using a system, maybe it does have that sort of issue, then you could add some rice stock to this, as well.
Now, I do find oftentimes that these lower gravity beers do convert a bit quicker. So, you may not need a full hour for your mash for this, but let’s get this one started. And, while that’s mashing, well, I’ve been dying to try something.
Now, a Berliner Weisse is a sour wheat beer, originating from Northern Germany. And, it’s quite low alcohol, by which I mean, my original gravity is pretty low, 1.036. So, that’s going to be sub 4% beer. And, the ingredients for this one couldn’t be simpler. 50% German Pilsner and 50% pale wheat malt.
And, while the style of Berliner Weisse does not require it, I am going to add in a fruit extract. I am using blackberry puree from Olive Nation. I’ve had pretty good luck with Olive Nation’s extracts, and have a good collection of those, so I’m thinking this’ll be a good addition.
Process of Brewing a Blackberry Berliner Weisse
This low-alcohol beer is known for its refreshing taste and fruity flavors. We will cover the step-by-step process, from mashing the grains to packaging the beer using a canning device. So grab a drink and let’s dive into the world of brewing!
Stage One: Mashing the Grains To begin the brewing process, the brewer starts by mashing a modest amount of grains in water at a temperature of 150°F (66°C).
The grain mixture consists of 50% German Pilsner and 50% pale wheat malt. The brewer explains that using a brew in the bag system eliminates the need to worry about any issues with stuck mashes. However, if using a different system, adding rice hulls can help prevent any problems.
Adding Flavor: Blackberry Puree While the Berliner Weisse style does not require the addition of fruit, the brewer decides to enhance the beer’s flavor by incorporating blackberry puree. They choose a blackberry puree from Olive Nation, known for its quality extracts. The brewer plans to add the puree after the beer is in the fermenter.
Maintaining the Ideal Environment for Lactobacillus: The next step involves creating the ideal environment for lactobacillus, a bacteria responsible for the beer’s sourness. The brewer adjusts the pH of the wort to 5.0 using lactic acid and keeps the temperature at 95°F (35°C) using a temperature controller.
They explain that lactobacillus requires warmth and the absence of hops to thrive. Killing Off Lactobacillus and Adding Hops After a few days, the lactobacillus has done its job, lowering the pH to 3.2. To halt its activity, the brewer re-boils the wort for 15 minutes and adds a hop addition of Willamette hops. This step also introduces a mild bitterness to balance the sourness of the beer.
Fermentation and Fruit Addition With the lactobacillus neutralized, the brewer transfers the wort to the fermenter and adds German ale yeast (Wyeast 1007). The primary fermentation takes place at 66°F (19°C), allowing for the possibility of fruity esters to develop.
Once fermentation is complete, the brewer plans to add the blackberry puree to enhance the beer’s fruitiness.
Packaging the Beer To share the beer with a friend out of state, the brewer uses a canning device called the Benchmark from October. They demonstrate how to fill and seal the cans using a tap cooler and an electric drill. The cans are then packaged and sent to the recipient.
Tasting the Beer The recipient, McKenzie, receives the beer and shares her experience. She describes the Blackberry Berliner Weisse as having a strong sour bite and a fruity aroma reminiscent of grapefruit. McKenzie appreciates the unique flavors and contrasts it with another beer she received, a Centennial Blonde, which is hop-forward and less sour.
Canning time. So, let’s talk about the setup that I’ve got here. I’ve got some cans, I’ve just sanitized those with Star San. Got my keg down there full of the finished and carbonated beer.
To move the beer into the cans, I’m going to use a tap cooler. It’s really designed for filling bottles, but it’ll work. Then I’ve got my benchmark all ready to go for 12 ounce cans, and then I’ve got my electric drill.
That worked pretty well. I did screw up the first two cans, and that was because my drill wasn’t running fast enough. I was using the one setting on here, and it just wasn’t able to spin it fast enough.
So, putting it on two, fix the problem, and I can feel these cans now. They’re really holding pressure. I really like this. Once you’ve got the hang of it’s really pretty easy to can stuff. Okay, I’m going to get these packaged up and send them to Mackenzie.
So, Mackenzie, did you receive anything in the mail recently?
Yes, as you can see, I haven’t exactly got the professional labeling down yet, but it’s a start. And, does it feel like it’s got some pressure if you squeeze it?
Yeah, it does. A lot of pressure.
Well, speaking of a lot of pressure, I feel this is a lot of pressure, but could you try opening that can.
Oh. See the bubbles?
Awesome. Just the visual appeal to this. I have never, ever brewed a beer that looked anything like this before.
Your beer’s usually yellow.
Or dark. You like the dark beers. Ruby grapefruit.
That’s what it is.
There we go. I’m hoping you’re going to get some fruity aromas. I can’t see how you wouldn’t.
All the fruit. Yeah. So, it’s blackberry. Blackberry is the fruit that we went with, and definitely getting a berry aroma to this.
It reminds me almost of a grapefruit smell. You can smell the sourness, anticipating the sourness, for sure.
One of the things I was a little bit worried about is when you’re shipping beer, if there’s any sugar still in the beer, which clearly there are in a beer that’s this fruity, they potentially can referment if the beer gets warm, and then there can be explosions. So, I’m really pleased that your beer has made it.
Thank God for shipping them in February to upstate New York, right?
Let’s give it a try now. And, I’m curious to know, can you taste more sweetness from the fruit, or is it more tart from the sourness?
No, it’s not overwhelmingly sweet, but the sour is pretty intense when you first sip.
Yeah, there’s a little sour bite to this, isn’t there, when you drink it? You’ve added the fruit, which is a bit sour, and then this was kettle sour as well, just to really generate some lactic acid in it.
It’s like when you have something really sour, and in the back of your jaw, when you take a sip, it starts to sting almost, just from the sourness.
That pucker, right, that you get from this? So, why don’t we just try that other beer that I sent, as well. That’s the centennial blonde. It’s a completely different beer. There we go. Yeah. Yeah. It’s going to look very different, smell very different, tastes very different.
Oh, and I’m spilling a little bit. Oh, it smells good.
It’s quite a hop forward beer. So, this is a blond ale.
It’s really good.
But, isn’t it just the polar opposite? There’s no bite on the back end, no pucker. I can see through it.
Yeah. This one’s like a good summer day out by the pool.
I’m really pleased I just didn’t send you this really wet dripping box of empty beer cans.
I’m pleased too, and I bet the mail carrier is as well.
Seriously. Mackenzie, thank you very much for tasting these beers, and especially giving this one a try. The Blackberry Berliner Weisse.
Got to name it; Blackberry Bliss.
I like it. And, recipes in the description if you want to try making this yourself. And, Mackenzie, cheers.