I’ve been homebrewing for a little over 2 years now and I figured it was finally time to attempt my first sour beer! After searching the web for a good recipe I ended up just taking what I thought made sense from a few different ones and putting together my own.
|Beer Name:||Berliner Weisse Sour|
|Beer Style:||Berliner Weisse|
|Recipe Type:||All Grain|
|Pre-Boil Volume:||6 gallons / 27.3 litres|
|Batch Size:||5 gallons / 22.7 litres|
|A small amount||Citric Acid to pre-acidify the wort|
|0.5 tsps||Calcium Chloride|
|1||Escarpment Labs Lactobacillus Blend 2.0|
|14 days||Bottle Conditioning|
|Mash Temperature:||150°F / 65.5°C|
|Mash Time:||60 min|
|Boil Duration:||60 min|
This recipe was designed as a kettle (or “quick”) sour and so the first step was to mash like normal.
I then did a very quick 10 min boil to kill any bugs in the wort, including the naturally occurring lactobacillus that lives on the grain husk. I did this because I wanted to control exactly what strain of bugs soured my beer rather than leave it up to chance.
After cooling the wort down I pitched my blend of lactobacillus right in the kettle. I also placed some Star San sprayed plastic wrap around the top of the kettle, put the lid on it and wrapped that in as well. Finally I placed the whole kettle in a warm part of the house and wrapped it in blankets and left it to do its thing.
Unfortunately the ph strips that I had weren’t accurate enough to actually be useful and so I had to take small samples and taste to see how sour things got. I first started noticing it getting sour within about 10 hours or so and then it steadily increased every few hours after that. After almost 48 hours I felt it had gotten ‘sour enough’ and decided to proceed with the next boiling step.
I know people swear by non-hopped sour beers but I decided for this one I was going to treat it like a ‘normal beer’ and throw in a standard 1oz charge of Saaz at 60 minutes. Perhaps I’ll be more adventurous with my sours in the future 🙂
After cooling it down I took an Original Gravity (OG) reading and ended up with 1.038 which isn’t right on target but was close enough for me. Finally I pitched some K-97 I had left over and allowed it to ferment over a month.
After fermentation was complete I took my Final Gravity (FG) reading and got 1.007 for an estimated ABV of 4.07% which is a bit higher than my target. Maybe K-97 really likes sour beers?
When bottling I decided to actually split the batch and bottled some as is and some with Brewer’s best Natural Strawberry/Kiwi extract for flavouring.
|Smell||The aroma of the non-flavoured beer is actually quite sour. I’ve also found that this seems to have increased as I’ve allowed the beer to continue to bottle condition.|
By contrast the beer flavoured with the extract doesn’t have nearly as much of a sour smell to it. It also doesn’t have much of a strawberry or kiwi smell either… instead it’s almost like a subtle indistinct sweetness.
|Appearance||Very nice bright colour and a surprisingly prominent and resilient head on top. One thing I had wondered about was what kind of head retention the beer would have but so far I’ve been pleasantly surprised.|
|Taste||The beer without any extra flavouring is actually quite good. It’s definitely sour, more so than I would have thought from when I stopped letting it sour, but not undrinkable. This is the kind of outcome that I had hoped for when making the beer.|
The beer that was flavoured with the strawberry/kiwi extract is like a night and day different beer. While it has hints of being sour the extract has actually almost completely wiped out any true sourness. I wouldn’t even consider the beer tart at this stage, rather the taste is something more like what you would get from an apple juice or cider. That said it’s not a bad beer but if the goal was to create a good sour beer I think this may have missed the mark a bit.
|Yield||This brew cost $32.78 in ingredients to make and yielded 32x355ml bottles ($1.02/bottle)|