Berliner Weisse (For Intermediate Homebrewers)

Berliner Weisse (For Intermediate Homebrewers)
  • Yield:makes 5 gallons
  • Active time:3 hours
  • Total time:2 to 6 months

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.


  • 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)


  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.