“Turbo Soured” Berliner Weisse

Posted: January 16, 2015 in Brew Blog

Following hot on the heels of my buddy and fellow masher over at brewrr.com, I’ve knocked out a raspberry berliner weisse.  This is actually my second attempt at a berliner, after a less-than-stellar effort I had using a different method with version 1.  It wasn’t until after I made version 1 that I found out the method I’d used (pitching a starter of lactobacillus culture after a standard mash/boil/chill regime) can take 6 months or more to truly sour the beer.  I was trying to get it up and running for a club event in about 6 weeks, so that didn’t work.  I served it at the event regardless, using a variety of syrups/flavourings (e.g. raspberry, lime, elderflower, and even mango margarita mix) just for kicks.

Anyway, for version 2 I’d found an article that talked about kettle souring, or “turbo souring” as I’ve since heard it called.  It’s a method where you use acidulated malt and/or lactic acid post-mash, in order to bring the pH of the wort down into the mid/low 4’s.  You then keep this wort at around 40C, and pitch lacto (in my case via two handfuls of un-milled pilsner malt) into the mix, then leave it for between 8-48 hours, measuring the pH occasionally.  Once the wort drops to a pH of around 3.3, you transfer it to your kettle, start the boil and add hops.  You only need a short boil, 15 minutes or so, which is just enough time to kill off any still-living bugs, and add a few IBU’s to the beer.  I haven’t worked out yet why you can get away with such a short boil on a berliner weisse, given it’s 50% wheat, 50% pils…when “expert opinion” seems to insist any beer using a lot of pilsner malt must be boiled 90 minutes to drive away DMS.  Does sour beat creamed corn??

Here’s the fermenter, after I kegged the beer.  I left the raspberries in for a total of 8 days, 5 at fermentation temps, then 3 days during crash chilling.  I probably could have left them on for less time, it just took me that long to get around to kegging the beer.


As you can see, there’s not a lot of colour left in the raspberries, and the beer has a ripping red hue.  I force carbed the beer in the keg (‘coz I’m an impatient bastard), and here’s the first pull, 6 hours later:


The taste is BIG on raspberry, and the beer is certainly tart.  Not “bracingly” sour by any means, but it’s a hell of an improvement over version 1!  I’m already looking forward to version 3, where I’ll make a few more tweaks.

  1. Keatch says:

    Looks great, what tweaks do you have planned for v3?

  2. carniebrew says:

    The most basic tweak is I’m gonna leave it longer, see if I can get the pH closer to 3. I’ve kept some of version 2 so if I overcook it, I can blend accordingly…

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