Sunday, 15 August 2010

Another way of brewing Berliner Weisse

Idly flicking through "Journal of the Institute of Brewing, Volume 14", I stumbled across this little nugget about Berliner Weisse.

It's a radically different way of brewing Berliner Weisse.

"Important Question for Breweries which produce Acid Beers of the Type of Berlin " Weiss" Beer. 0. Francke (Wochensch. Brau., 1907, 24, 621—624).—" Weiss" beer is prepared by fermenting wort with yeast and lactic acid bacteria. It is a very difficult matter, however, to acclimatise a mixture of lactic acid bacteria and pure yeast in constant proportions. The author recommends a process (which has been employed for two years with very satisfactory results) in which the lactic acid and yeast fermentations are carried out separately. The wort, as it runs off from the spent grains, is subjected to the action of pure culture lactic acid bacteria until the required degree of acidity is attained. The wort is then boiled, cooled, and fermented with pure culture yeast. The beer thus prepared has a pleasant acid taste, and does not require the aid of certain non-slime forming pediococci (see this Journal, 1907, 13, 626—630) to impart a pleasant flavour to it. If a mature, vinous " Weiss " beer is required, it is only necessary to treat the lactic acid-containing wort with ordinary bacteria-containing " Weiss " beer yeast. The presence of the lactic acid protects the fermenting wort against the attack of dangerous pediococci, and the beer acquires a sound, vinous taste. The beer prepared by the first method (i.e., that in which the lactic acid fermentation is followed by a pure yeast fermentation) only requires a short period of storage before it is ready for consumption. For the lactic acidification, the author employs distillery culture lactic acid bacillus Delbrucki, and for the alcoholic fermentation, top-fermentation pure yeast, Race B (high attenuating)."
"Journal of the Institute of Brewing, Volume 14", 1908, pages 196 - 197.

So, rather than going to the trouble of keeping the mixed yeast/lactic acid bacteria culture in balance, you ferment first with the bacteria, then with the yeast. It's the first mention I've seen of this method. I wonder if it was ever used much?


Anonymous said...

It seems that this method is being used by some US breweries for producing sour beers. It has the added benefit of producing a drinkable result in a shorter length of time. Not specifically in reference to Berliner Weisse.

Here's a link to how to do it in a homebrew context:

and homebrew thread:

Steve said...

Homebrew twats do this and find the acid levels reach an acceptable level much faster.

Paul! said...

That method is fairly commonplace with homebrewers. I've been told that New Glarus brewing sours alot of their beer's this way also. Definitely the way to go if your looking for consistency and a quick turnaround.

Thomas Barnes said...

As others have mentioned, both homebrewers and commercial brewers use this method to quickly get a beer with a consistent level of sourness. Taken to its extreme, you can get much the same effect by skipping the sour mash and just dumping lactic acid into your beer.

The only problem I recall (written reference eludes me at the moment) is that beer made in this fashion doesn't develop the same character as a Berlinerweisse done the traditional way.

Lactobacillus does does more than just provide sourness. Boiling the wort kills your Lacto bugs and drives off any esters or other volatile chemicals they might have produced.

Andreas Bogk said...

Berliner Kindl, the Berliner Weisse left in production (until I hopefully sell some of mine) is done this way. And between this and no brett, taste is lost.

Ron Pattinson said...

Andreas, when might you be selling some? The world needs an authentic Berliner Weisse.