Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Berlin crossed with Louisville?

I started something the other day that I haven't done before -- I started a sour mash. I put two pounds of milled Pilsner malt and a half ounce of Spalter hops with about three quarts of water in a stainless steel pot, heated it up to around 120 deg. F. and let it sit in oven for about 36 hours. It was good and stinky (like sour milk) when I uncovered the pot this morning, so I knew I had some lactic bacteria working. I took this mash and dumped it into a very large strainer that fits over my brewpot and sparged with about gallon or so of 175 deg. F. water, simply ladling the sparge water over the grain. I added four pounds of Alexander's Wheat LME and boiled the mixture for about 15 minutes (mostly to integrate the LME into solution), but also felt like I wanted to kill the bacteria before introducing cooling the wort and pitching a Wyeast Activator pouch of 1007 German Ale Ale.
If you haven't already figured it out, I'm trying for something like a Berliner Weisse. I realize that a German brewery wouldn't have boiled the wort to let the lactic bacteria keep working, but I'm an American brewer and a homebrewer at that, so I'll do what I want.

Anyhow, I miss being able to get Berliner Kindl, but I'm predicting that the lactic (sour) mash of the two pounds of pilsner malt won't add that much sourness to the beer, so I've purchased a bottle of some 88 percent lactic acid solution that I figure I can dose the beer with at bottling time if necessary. Who knows maybe I'll omit the lactic acid and have myself more of a Berliner Weisse crossed with a Kentucky Common beer?

1 comment:

Marc said...

Update as of 4/26/09 - Tasted straight with no syrup. Light amber color, jelly-like haze. Pours with a lot of foam that disspates very quickly. Smells fairly neutral, slightly lactic/sour and fruity (strawberry?) Taste is a little bit of sweet malt, a hint of caramel character (which is a bit odd) followed by an ample sour punch. Soft and full with a little tingle of carbonation and a very dry finish.