#68 Dark Berliner Sour

Eureka, its time for another recipe. Actually this one is not as straight forward as you might expect from my previous recipes and might be hard to reproduce. The idea for this beer came up during the lautering process of my #67 Koschei Imperial Stout batch. Brewed 51 L (13.5 gal) of Imperial Stout and could not throw away the second runnings which still had a gravity of 12°P (1.048). I therefore used the runnings as a base for this recipe and went from there.

I collected the runnings up to a total volume of 10 L (2.6 gal) and added a package of Wyeast’s Lactobacillus delbrueckii to the unboiled mash as the mash reached a temperature of 40°C (104°F) and let the mash sit at 40°C for a three days until the sourness was at a good level. I then let the wort cool down to around 20°C (68°F) and added the unboiled, per-soured wort on top of a Wyeast’s 3191 Berliner Weisse cake. I left the beer on the Berliner Blend for nearly two months and kegged the soured Stout into a small keg. Kegged the beer on the 9th of December 2012 and left the keg at a relatively warm place to mature. I then forgot about this beer for a while…

This changed in late Spring of 2013. I re-discovered this particular keg in my cellar during an inventory and was quite excited to try a first sip of this beer. The ABV for this one is around 5 %. For a style, it should be something like a dark Berliner Weisse. Since Weisse originates from white in German, it would not much sense to call it a Dark Berliner Weisse. I therefore simply call it a Dark Berliner Sour. Or maybe there is already a suitable beer style for this kind of beer. Let me know if there is a matching beer style for my beer.

DarkBerlinerWeisseAroma: Smells like a cold brewed coffee gone sour with a touch of lemon, dark chocolate and bonfire smoke. Can even detect a hint of gingerbread. Impressive aroma profile and really interesting aroma combination.

Appearance: Deep black color, clear with lots of bubbles rising to the top. Not very long-lasting off-white head

Flavor: Hint of dark chocolate, very subtle roast character and a nice level of sourness. Even some red grape and wood character like in certain wines. Tobacco is there as well. The sourness and the flavors from the roasted barley really go along really nice.

Mouthfeel: Light body, average carbonation level, very dry but not too thin, silky and lightly sour finish. Detectable astringency. Very refreshing. Leaves a smoky impression on the tongue like you get after smoking a cigar.

Overall Impression: Quite impressed how this one turned out. Despite the roast character, this beer has a lot of flavors common in red wines. Not only that, it reminds me of Jolly Pumpkin’s Madrugada Obscura. With the exception that this one is not really funky. I am further surprised how the sourness plays with the roasty, astringency characters. The play along really nicely.

I expected to get a huge mess of a beer. Simply because the grist of the Imperial Stout was not really destined to turn into a sour beer. Nevertheless, the beer turned out to be way more complex than expected and is a very interesting one. Maybe not the kind I would drink for a whole evening but I have others that drink this one in pints. I might brew another batch of this one in the future and mature it in my Whisky barrel to see how this one turns out after some time in a wooden barrel. Cheers and thanks for reading

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5 thoughts on “#68 Dark Berliner Sour

      • I think I’m going to try something similar this weekend. Going to make a base Berliner recipe using a sour mash, after the boil I’ll split the wort into two batches. Then add wort from cold-steeped dark grains to one batch to create the Dark Berliner, but use one of my neutral-yeast strains to finish the fermentation for both. This could be a disaster, but should be fun!

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