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Homebrewing

Berliner Weisse (For Intermediate Homebrewers)

Berliner Weisse (For Intermediate Homebrewers)

This Berliner Weisse recipe was used by Serious Eats contributor Jonathan Moxey to win first place in the sours category at the Homebrew Alley 6 competition. It's a modified version of Kristen England's no-boil recipe that can be found in Brewing With Wheat by Stan Hieronymus. This is a brew-in-a-bag style recipe that can be made by anyone with a few successful brew-in-a-bag experiences. It should be noted that while the no-boil Berliner Weisse method presented is easy to do, but it is inherently more susceptible to infection than a standard recipe. I only recommend this recipe for homebrewers who look for a sense of adventure and experimentation.

This recipe also makes use of a brewing method called decoction: a portion of the mash is removed prior to sparging, and it is boiled separately. After boiling, the decoction is added back into the mash.

Berliner Weisse (For Intermediate Homebrewers)

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About This Recipe

Yield:makes 5 gallons
Active time:3 hours
Total time:2 to 6 months
Special equipment:7.5 gallon kettle (or bigger), large mesh grain bag, additional pot to heat decoction, and the basic homebrewing equipment setup
This recipe appears in: Homebrewing: Berliner Weisse

Ingredients

  • 3.25 pounds German Pilsner Malt
  • 3.25 pounds German wheat malt
  • 0.5 pounds rice hulls
  • 0.75 ounces Hallertauer hops (added to mash)
  • 1 package Safale US-05
  • 2 packages Lactobacillus (Wyeast 5535 or Whte Labs WLP677)

Procedures

  1. 1

    Line the 7.5 gallon kettle with mesh grain bag, fill with 2.1 gallons tap water and bring to 159°F. Remove from heat.

  2. 2

    Mash-in by slowly adding Pilsner and wheat malt into the bag. Stir for 2 minutes to prevent grain from clumping together. The temperature should equalize to about 149°F

  3. 3

    Remove 3 quarts of the mash for the decoction, including a good mixture of both the grain and liquid. Add the Hallertauer hops to mixture and boil in a separate pot for 15 minutes. Stir frequently, and as foam rises to the top, skim and discard.

  4. 4

    Add the entire decoction back into the mash. In a separate container, heat 3.7 gallons of water to 185°F.

  5. 5

    After about 60 total minutes of mashing, mash-out by carefully pouring the 185°F water into the mash, stirring to equalize temperature to about 170°F.

  6. 6

    Slowly raise grain bag out of the liquid, allowing wort to drain from the grain. Hold grain bag above the kettle for 5 to 10 minutes as the wort drains.

  7. 7

    DO NOT BOIL. Cool the wort to under 80°F and transfer to a sanitized fermentation vessel.

  8. 8

    Use a sanitized auto-siphon racking cane to remove enough wort to take a gravity reading with your hydrometer. Make a note of this number, since you will be using it to calculate the actual alcohol content when it's done fermenting. The reading should be around 1.035. Cover fermentor with a sanitized stopper and airlock.

  9. 9

    Add 1 package of Safale US-05 and 2 packages of Lactobacillus. Ferment for 3 to 5 days at a temperature around 75°F.

  10. 10

    Condition by allowing the beer to rest for at least a month. Taste samples weekly to determine sour flavor development.

  11. 11

    Bottle when desired level of sourness and flavor have developed, up to 6 months, using enough priming sugar for a high level of carbonation.

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