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Low OG Berliner Weisse - How Many WLP029?

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thumbsucker

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HI - am planing a lacto kettle soured Berliner Weisse and using WLP029.

The batch size will be 45 liters, the OG will be 1035.

Since the OG is low will one WLP029 suffice or would I still be better of making a starter even with such a low OG?
 

earle

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Keep in mind that the low pH of your kettle sour makes life hard for yeast even though the OG is lower than many standard beers. For standard gravity non-sour beers I might use one pack of dry yeast either hydrated or not. A sour would struggle to get going with this - I learned this when I did my first sour. Now, for my kettle sours (23L batch) I use 2 packs of dry yeast and always hydrate. A rule of thumb could be to work out how much you think you need based on gravity and then double it?
 

hirschb

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Yes, make a starter. I pretty much always use a starter for WL or Wyeast packets in clean beers. By the time they get to Australia, they inevitably have some yeast loss/death.
The comment above is correct with respect to hydrating dry yeast before tossing in a kettle sour, however, the idea of doubling the amount of yeast needed doesn't make sense to me. Different strains of yeast have different sensitivities to low pH, and you never stated the pH at pitching, so I don't see the logic in automatically doubling the amount of yeast.
 

Droopy Brew

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US05 deals very well with low pH. Might be worth considering? I have no idea how 029 goes in that environment.
 

hirschb

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WL029 apparently does really well and helps bring down the pH even further. I'm personally a fan of WL 644 for berliners....
 

thumbsucker

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Thanks I am making a 3 litre starter. I have the Kolsch already, I know many people use US05 but I have read that it will not give you an authentic German yeast favour far to clean. Plus I plan to wash the Kolsch and repitch in a Gose and then a Kolsch proper.

I am mashing as I write this, nothing fancy single infusion mash at 65ºc using 60% Wheat + 35% Pilsner and 5% Acidulated Malt.

I will boil the wort for 20 minutes then move to fermenter pitch IBS support lacto and heat in fridge at 35º. After 24 hours you get a nice tartness. About the same as Boatrockers Miss Pinky Berliner Weisse. But I may stretch it out for two whole days just for the extra bight.

Has anyone. drunk a real German Berliner Weisse, how bracingly sour is bracingly sour? My only point of reference is Boatrockers Miss Pinky Berliner Weisse lovely drink but I think they held back the true sour potential for increased market penetration.
 
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MHB

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Pitching Wheat yeast in the lower end of the recommended Ale range (0.4-1EXP6*mL*oP) is pretty common.
Somewhere around 0.5 million cells/mL/oP would be a reasonable call, so for a 45L (45,000mL) 1.035 (8.75oP) wort.
(0.5*10^6)*(45000)*(8.75)=196875000000 Cells 1.97EXP11
A fresh Wyeast or White Labs package should have around 100 Billion cells or 1exp11.
Me I would be looking at 2 packs or a large enough starter to double the population.
Mark
 

hirschb

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Thanks I am making a 3 litre starter. I have the Kolsch already, I know many people use US05 but I have read that it will not give you an authentic German yeast favour far to clean. Plus I plan to wash the Kolsch and repitch in a Gose and then a Kolsch proper.

I am mashing as I write this, nothing fancy single infusion mash at 65ºc using 60% Wheat + 35% Pilsner and 5% Acidulated Malt.

I will boil the wort for 20 minutes then move to fermenter pitch IBS support lacto and heat in fridge at 35º. After 24 hours you get a nice tartness. About the same as Boatrockers Miss Pinky Berliner Weisse. But I may stretch it out for two whole days just for the extra bight.

Has anyone. drunk a real German Berliner Weisse, how bracingly sour is bracingly sour? My only point of reference is Boatrockers Miss Pinky Berliner Weisse lovely drink but I think they held back the true sour potential for increased market penetration.
I've had the (only?) two German Berliners that are still produced: Fritz Briem 1809 and Bayrisher Banhoff. I've had both beers several times, plus a couple dozen different berliners from American brewers. Both German beers are significantly more tart than Boatrockers. While it's really difficult to determine pH by taste (there is a big difference between actual and perceived acidity), I'd guess both German berliners were in the 3.3-3.4 range, while boatrocker appeared to be around 3.6-3.7pH. Most American berliners are a bit more tart (3.2-3.4pH is my guess).
I personally think Miss Pinky is absolute shit. It's not sufficiently tart, the fruit tastes artificial, appearance is inexplicably hazy, and I get some subtle off-flavors (at least thats my recollection, I'd have to have a pint in front of me to pick the off-flavors out in more detail). If Miss Pinky is your goal, I'd aim higher. If you can get your hands on a Bruery Hottenroth or Westbrook Gose, those are both widely respected beers (and very tasty!).
My two major suggestions are:
1) Get a pH meter, or borrow one. A good sour beer should be firmly tart, not just have a slight tang. While everyone has a different palate, Miss Pinky doesn't even come close to a "real" sour beer. You should go much more sour, but also experiment with it and dial in the pH that you find works best for your taste buds.
2) Do a full 60min. boil (either before or after souring). This is very controversial. Some people love no boil berliners, other people (like me) can't get over the doughy/DMS off-flavors. The most highly regarded berliners, as well as the German ones I've tried, have low to no doughy aromas/taste, so I posit that a full boil berliner is closer to the original than the no-boils that some American breweries are pumping out.
If you haven't read this, it should probably be the first place to look for making a berliner: http://www.milkthefunk.com/wiki/Berliner_Weissbier
 

thumbsucker

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Cheers hirschb, it was my sense that Miss Pinky is not an authentic Berliner., not tart enough by a long shot I personally love a bracingly acidity.

I do not get the no boil thing, when I have done a lacto hefeweizen brett sour I kettle soured and then boiled for 60 min to lock in the sourness level and to get full hops utilisation about 8 IBU'S. I got a very clean flavour, so I will do the same again.

I will need to go beer shopping.
 

thumbsucker

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I ended up making a 2 litre starter, fermenting for two days putting it in the fridge, decanting the beer and then I made another fresh 2 litres of wort so in the end I had a HUGE starter. I ended up doing this because the lacto souring took 5 days at 35ºc to reach about 3.5 ph, I only have strips so its not super accurate, it is certainly more tart then Miss Pinky.

Boiled for 60 minutes with 25gm Tettnanger.

The fermenter is now in the fridge with a strong fermentation sitting at 16ºc, this is below what White Labs suggest but people have made it work. I am looking for a super clean ferment with no fruit flavours.

My question is, after one / two weeks at 16ºc should I lager this beer? If yes for how long and how low?
Also after primary ferment should I move it to secondary fermenter or can I leave it on the yeast cake?
 
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hirschb

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No need to lager, but lagering will not hurt the beer. You can leave it on the yeast cake. I would bottle/keg the beer as soon as it finishes fermenting, just like most other beers.
 

thumbsucker

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Cheers hirschb, I will give it 10 days in the fridge at 16ºc then crash chill it to 4ºc for a few days and then I will bottle in champagne bottles.
 

thumbsucker

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I have now had time to drink more then a few bottles of my Berliner. I am enjoying it and my critics are impressed with its tart refreshing-ness and crystal clarity, however I am not a fan of the WLP029 Kolsch. While it is clean the Kolsch does leave a distinct German yeast flavour in the background, that while soft I think competes with the lacto tartness. When blended with syrup you cannot taste the Kolsch but straight up I get a sense of two beers a lacto blended with a lager. I am considering doing a pure traditional lacto ferment at the end of summer and then age it for six months.


A note Elderflower Syrup that you get from Coles, makes an excellent alternative to the traditional raspberry syrup.
 
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