#82 Nelson Sauvined Berliner Weisse

Eureka, it’s time for another recipe. I would like to apologize for the few posts lately. I am currently in the last months of my Master’s degree and try to get as much out of my lab and grid time before sitting down and writing up my thesis (and a publication). I hope to find more time to brew and write afterwards. Back to the recipe, another Berliner Weisse recipe. I did two (more or less traditional) Berliner Weisse before and let the mash turn sour by adding some grains in one case (#44 Berliner Weisse) and one where I used Wyeast’s 3191 Berliner Weisse blend (#61 Berliner Weisse 2) without sour mashing. Comparing the two batches, the one with the sour mash turned out way better than the second one. I even did a dark Berliner in the meantime (using a sourmash) which turned out pretty well. I will therefore never, ever skip the sour mashing step again. And adding Brettanomyces is another must have as well. This recipe is actually more or less the same in terms of grist composition and the process as my very first Berliner Weisse. The only difference here is the dry hopping step with Nelson Sauvin. A dry hopped Berliner Weisse. Lets find out how good hops actually work in sour beers.

Recipe: Nelson Sauvined Berliner Weisse
Numbers: Volume [L] 20 (5.3 gal)
Original gravity 8.5°P (1.033)
Terminal gravity 1.7°P (1.006)
Color Around 4 EBC
ABV 3.6% (v/v)
Grains: Pilsner malt (4 EBC) 1.9 kg
Wheat malt (4 EBC) 1.4 kg
Hops: Nelson Sauvin (12.3% AA) 12 g and added at mash in (mash hops)
Nelson Sauvin (12.3% AA) Twice 75 g for dry hopping
Yeast: Wyeast #1056 American Ale
Water: Burgdorf Mash: 8.5 L (2.2 gal), sparge: 18 L (4.8 gal) @78°C (172°F)
Rest: Mash in @66°C (151°F), 60 min @66°C (151°F), 15 min @ 78°C (172°F)
Boil: No boil
Fermentation: Primary Close to 1 month @20°C (68°F) in plastic fermenter
Secondary 2 weeks @20°C (68°F) in plastic fermenter
Maturation: Carbonation (CO2 vol) 2 with sugar addition
Maturation time Weeks to months at 15°C (59°F)

06/08/2013: Brew day. Crushed malts, mashed in at 66°C (151°F) and left the mash rest for one hour. Then let the mash cool down to 38°C (100°F) and left it there for 4 days. Then added the Nelson Sauvin hops and heated up to 78°C (172°F), sparged, cooled the wort down to roughly 20°C (68°F) and added an added some WY1056 and left the fermenter untouched for nearly 1 month.

07/07/2013: Racked the beer off the yeast and added the first 75 g of Nelson Sauvin hops.

07/14/2013: Added another 75 g of Nelson Sauvin hops.

07/21/2013: Bottled the beer with a sugar addition to a carbonation level of 2 vol of carbon dioxide and added EBY020 B. jurassienne I or EBY021 B. bruery I to the bottles. I store the bottles at 15°C (59°F) since.

10/27/2013: Beer now 3 months in bottle. Its time for a first official tasting.

NelsonSauvinedBerlinerWeisseVersion with B. bruery I (EBY021, glass on the right):

Aroma: Lots of white grapes and citrus character, some faint funk in the background. Very impressive aroma. Some H2S in the nose (foul eggs) as one swirls the glass.

Appearance: Straw yellow, hazy, nice bubbles rise to the top and form a two finger white head

Flavor: White grapes, citrus character, light Pilsner malt character (something between honey, corn and bread), some barnyard funk and light level of sourness in the finish. Very damn tasty!

Mouthfeel: Light body, average carbonation level (for the style), dry finish, hint of funk and sourness in the aftertaste

Overall Impression: There are a lot of the typical Berliner Weisse aroma and taste characteristics present in this beer with one exception: the sourness. It is far from what I would expect from a Berliner Weisse. I don’t know if the sourness will increase by further maturating the beer. We will see. Anyway, this is a very neat beer: light, fruity with a hint of sourness.

Version with B. jurassienne I (EBY020, glass on the left):

Aroma: Subtle fruit character compared to the EBY021 version. This one is more funky and is driven by leather, horse blanket and a hint of citrus in the back. Some H2S in the nose (foul eggs) and a hint of musty, cellar-funk in there as well. By all means not clean… In one word: funky! Gets more approachable as it warms up.

Appearance: Straw yellow, clear, nice bubbles rise to the top and form a two finger white head

Flavor: White grapes and citrus character. Very dry and not a lot of the backbone shines through. Light level of sourness in the finish however more prominent than in the EBY021 example.

Mouthfeel: Light body, average carbonation level (for the style), dry finish. This example finishes with a funk-fest in the mouth (leather, clove, barnyard and some tartness)

Overall Impression: Completely different from the EBY021 version. A very funky example where the hops kind of play in the background. Gets kind of cleaner as it warms up as all the really annoying flavors (H2S, mustiness) kind of disappear.

I actually prefer the EBY020 version because it is so refreshing, fruity and light. The EBY021 leads to a rather funky beer which makes it a bit less refreshing in my opinion. It seems to me that the EBY020 Brett strain is not as powerful as EBY021. EBY020 is more on the fruit side where EBY021 really hits you in the face with its funk. Well, EBY021 will get into my next Berliner Weisse again. And the next Weisse will be dry hopped as well. The Nelson Sauvin hops match perfectly with the profile of the Weisse. As both EBY020 and EBY021 are tested in the BBA/EBY Brettanomyces experiment, I am really looking forward how these two strains perform. I haven’t actually brewed my share of the experiment yet as I am way behind my brewing schedule already. However, I will brew the batch for the experiment before the end of the year.


#83 Grätzer/Grodziskie

Eureka, its time for another recipe publication. Not only am I fascinated about the new arising beer styles in the world but really like to look back as well. One of the rediscovered beer styles is a Polish wheat beer called Grätzer or Grodziskie named after the place where it was originally brewed. This beer style is made with oak smoked wheat malt and with a healthy dose of hops. The result is a clear, smoky and very refreshing beer. Because this beer style heavily depends on the malt and no such malt was easily available up to know, only the ones willing to smoke their own malt had the ingredients to make a real Grätzer. This all changed as soon as the German maltster Weyermann revived the oak smoked wheat malt which is now available again. With this, the most important ingredient for this kind of beer is yet again commercially available.

I came across this beer style a while ago and got really excited as I encountered Eichenrauchmalz (= oak smoked wheat malt) at my local homebrew store. I instantly ordered a small quantity of this particular malt to give this beer style a go. And below is my recipe.

Recipe: Grätzer
Numbers: Volume [L] 20 (5.3 gal)
Original gravity 7.8°P (1.030)
Terminal gravity 2.6°P (1.010)
Color Around 5 EBC
ABV 2.7% (v/v)
Grains: Smoked wheat malt (4 EBC) 3 kg (5.5 lbs)
Hops: Hallertauer (4.2% AA) 25 g and boiled for 60 min
Hallertauer (4.2% AA) 10 g and boiled for 30 min
Yeast: Wyeast 1 part WY1338 European Ale and 2 parts WY1007 German Ale
Water: Mash: 8 L (2.1 gal), sparge: 12 L (3.2 gal) @78°C (172°F)
Rest: Mash in @38°C (100°F), 30 min @38°C (100°F), 30 min @52°C (126°F), 10 min @66°C (151°F), 30 min @70°C (158°F), sparge at 78°C (172°F)
Boil: Boil for 60 min
Fermentation: Primary 8 days at 20°C (68°F)
Secondary 10 days at 20°C (68°F)
Maturation: Carbonation (CO2 vol) 3.6
Maturation time 2 weeks, cold

06/29/13: Brew day as normal. Mashed in as stated in the recipe, rested at the given temperatures and sparged as usual. I did not add any kind of rice hulls or barley to facilitate the lautering. The lautering went as smooth as ever. I am aware that a lot of people say that it is not possible to sparge a 100% wheat malt mash. Well, I kind of experienced different things in the past and don’t care about any other experiences. I use a perforated metal plate as a filter (see picture below) and this is maybe on of the best investments in my homebrewing career. Since then, the lautering is not a pain any more. However, I encounter difficulties with this plate when I sparge the soured Berliner Weisse mash. Then the mash gets very easily stuck because the entire mash is very mushy.


Fig 1:Mash kettle with perforated metal plate at bottom

After sparging and collecting the wort in my boiling kettle, I boiled the wort with the additions of the Hallertauer hops, cooled down the wort and pitched a yeast blend of two commercial yeasts (WY1008 German Ale and WY1338 European Ale). Before I cooled down the wort, I filled a 2 L growler with hot, boiled wort for the carbonation step later on. The reason for using two yeast strains is to get the WY1008 out of suspension (low flocculent) with a highly flocculent yeast strain (WY1338 in this example). This is very important because the beer has to be very clear in the end. Primary fermentation at 20°C (68°F).

07/07/13: Racked beer after 8 days to a secondary fermenter.

07/17/13: Bottled beer with addition of wort to a carbonation level of 3.6 vol of carbon dioxide. Added 2 L of unfermented wort to 18 L of green beer.

Now the most interesting part, what about the taste?

83_gratzerAroma: Smoke is dominant aroma with character of smoked bacon, bonfire. Thanks to Anna who describes this aroma in “one” word: “dried green beans”. Spot on in my opinion

Appearance: Yellow, clear, fluffy, white head with lots of bubbles rising to the top (see picture)

Flavor: Pretty much the same as in the aroma: bonfire, ash, some wood flavors as well. Nice level of bitterness and well integrated

Mouthfeel: Light body, average carbonation level, rather dry, light smoky finish. Very easy drinkable

Overall Impression: Very refreshing and surprisingly not too thin for the 2.7 vol alcohol. I am quite intrigued how this batch turned out. Even after three months in the bottles, the beer still has a very prominent smoky, ashy character. This experiment is yet another successful one.