Thirsty Thursday–Berliner Weisse

Mongrel Brewing Company’s Berliner Weisse

Always looking to explore new ground, I took on the Berliner Weisse Project this summer. Following contemplation and smarter-people-than-me brain picking, I settled in on a plan.

There was a point during fermentation that I seriously considered adding lactobacillus to secondary, but I talked myself out of it, in favor of eyeing the results of a sour mash. After all, how would my granny have known that the rum-soaked raisin remedy would help her arthritus if she hadn’t dropped the medication out of her daily regime?

Continued reading scaled back my expectations for the level sourness I might achieve by relying on my long hassle of a mash schedule. As I now sip a sample, I’m satisfied with the beer. It is not as sour as I’d originally sought, but it’s been a fun learning experience outside the realm of my everyday brewing.

The aroma is pleasing: a blend of lactic sourness and pineapple-led fruity esters. The flavor is similar, though the sourness doesn’t carry an intense impact and any fruitiness is restrained. Wheat and pils come forward, and the finish dries quite nicely. With a final gravity that hit 1.002, this is very refreshing summer beer. More sourness and prickly mouthfeel would be great, but what really makes me happy is that with this beer being so light and restrained in many ways, it would have been clear if I’d been a  dirty or negligent brewer. No place for faults to hide in this little brew.

In addition to having curiousity surrounding the sourness level, I was also interested to learn how my approach to hops worked out. Since this beer is not traditionally boiled, what’s a brewer to do? Hops in the mash or my strategy: I boiled them in the sparge water. This seems to have worked well. I don’t think I’ve read that anyone’s tried this method, though I’m sure someone has. In any case, I’d say it’s worthy.

As many of my readers know, I am primarily a dark beer whore. But I do dabble in the lighter stuff from time to time. At some point in the future, I’m sure I’ll give this a style another go-around. I won’t be as intimidated as I was this time, and I’ll definitely add the lacto–I do want a tongue-rippingly sour Berliner on my next attempt.

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