Thursday, April 4, 2013

Delbruck, Berliner Weisse Take #2

Last spring I made my first Berliner Weiss after having a Hottenroth taste at the Bruery in Orange County.  We don't get many commercial examples of this historic style in San Diego so brewing a batch of Berliner Weiss became my top priority.  I have a lot of information on my Delbruck Berliner Weisse post from last year, if you are interested in brewing your first batch of this style.

After researching I came up with an appropriate name, Delbruck, after the researcher who discovered Lactobacillus yeast.  I also settled on a process that I am comfortable with.  (I go into detail on the original post

In keeping with tradition, I'm brewing this beer again this weekend with some minor changes.

  • The starting gravity on last years batch was to low.  I was shooting for 1.030 but over sparged, ending at 1.020 OG
  • I split the batch to many ways.  A gallon with no Sac yeast, one with tart cherries, one bottle conditioned.  It left for a small amount of finished product.
  • I only brewed 4 gallons, over sparged and ended with 5 gallons.  (See above)
  • I left the original lactobacillus yeast on the wort for only 2.5 days.  Moving that up to 4 days this time
  • I over complicated the starter last time.

I am still going to brew the Berliner Weisse without doing a sour mash, using a commercial yeast and a big starter.  I really do not have any desire to do a sour mash inside my garage anytime in the near future, so a commercial starter may have a smaller tart/sour flavor footprint but that's fine by me.

Changes to this years recipe were to balance out the Wheat and Pilsner malts to about a 50/50 ratio.  Also bumping up the OG to 1.034-36 range. I am going to repeat the same mashing technique that I used last year.  A Protein rest at 122, Sac rest at 156 and a Mash out at 168+.  Then transfer into my boil kettle and bring to a boil and turning on the chiller.  Bringing the hot wort down to about 100.  Once in the carboy I will add the Lacto starter and let it go for 4 days.  On the night of the 4th I will place it in the chamber and chill.  Adding an actively fermenting WLP001 Yeast into the beer.

Delbrück #2
Berliner Weisse
Type: All Grain Date: 4/6/2013
Batch Size (fermenter): 5.50 gal Brewer: Chris Lewis
Boil Size: 6.34 gal Asst Brewer: Aydan Lewis
Boil Time: Raise to 215, flame off Equipment: My Equipment
End of Boil Volume 5.72 gal Brewhouse Efficiency: 72.00 %
Final Bottling Volume: 5.50 gal Est Mash Efficiency 72.0 %
Fermentation: Lacto / Sour Taste Rating(out of 50): TBA
Taste Notes: There are no "Tasting Notes" created for this recipe yet
Amt Name Type # %/IBU
3 lbs Pilsner (2 Row) Ger (2.0 SRM) Grain 1 42.9 %
3 lbs White Wheat Malt (2.4 SRM) Grain 2 42.9 %
1 lbs Acid Malt (3.0 SRM) Grain 3 14.3 %
1.00 oz Williamette [5.50 %] - Mash 60.0 min Hop 4 4.6 IBUs
7.20 oz Malto-Dextrine (Boil 5.0 mins) Other 5 -
1.0 pkg California Ale (White Labs #WLP001) [Secondary day 5] Yeast 6 -
1.0 pkg Lactobacillus Bacteria (White Labs #WLP677) [50.28 ml] [Primary] Yeast 7 -
Beer Profile
Est Original Gravity: 1.034 SG Measured Original Gravity: 1.033 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.009 SG Measured Final Gravity: TBA SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 3.3 % Actual Alcohol by Vol: TBA %
Bitterness: 4.6 IBUs Calories: TBA kcal/12oz
Est Color: 3.1 SRM
Mash Profile
Mash Name: Double Infusion, Full Body Total Grain Weight: 7 lbs
Sparge Water: 3.15 gal Grain Temperature: 72.0 F
Sparge Temperature: 168.0 F Tun Temperature: 72.0 F
Adjust Temp for Equipment: FALSE Mash PH: 5.20
Mash Steps
Name Description Step Temperature Step Time
Protein Rest Add 6.30 qt of water at 132.1 F 122.0 F 30 min
Saccharification Add 5.60 qt of water at 202.0 F 156.0 F 30 min
Mash Out Add 4.20 qt of water at 205.6 F 168.0 F 10 min
Sparge Step: Batch sparge with 2 steps (0.43gal, 2.73gal) of 168.0 F water
Carbonation and Storage
Carbonation Type: Keg Volumes of CO2: 2.4
Pressure/Weight: 13.72 PSI Carbonation Used: Keg with 13.72 PSI
Keg/Bottling Temperature: 45.0 F Age for: 45.00 days
Fermentation: My Aging Profile Storage Temperature: 70.0 F
 Fermentation Notes
Primary Fermentation:  Pitched the Lacto and grain starter at 90ish degrees.  I will let this go with ambient temp for 4 days.  The night of day 4, I will place it in my temp controlled chamber at 68
Secondary Fermentation:  Pitch a big starter of WLP001 on day 5

When I was writing this post I saw Jeff updated his blog with his Berliner Weisse brew day post, his mash process is very similar to mine.  Another Jeff then updated his blog with a Berliner Weisse side by side experiment he is doing.  One sour mash and one commerical lacto.

Then I saw an interesting Twitter conversation with a couple of Homebrewers about the possibility of Lactro and other bugs living through a no boil mash

Dmitri over at BKYeast blog stated that hes found lots of bugs inside wort that's gone through a no boil, like most homebrewers would in a traditional Berliner Weisse.  In my personal experience with the one batch I did last year (Bringing the wort to a simmer and cutting the flame) I didn't notice any indigestion problems while drinking the main batch of Berliner Weisse.  However I did notice a upset stomach after drinking my Berliner Weisse from the same mash that I did not add Saccharomyces yeast to. 

This is very interesting for me, I've done multiple one gallon dreg batches that are no boil, but they all contained a mixture of yeasts, including Brett, Pedio, Sac and Lacto.  The Berliner Weisse one gallon side project is the only beer I've done with a single yeast strain of Lacto.  With only one test batch brewed this way it could hardly be considered a experiment, but it is something to consider in the future.  (Even though, I do not plan to do a solid Lacto batch again)

This Twitter conversation slowly turned into a Berliner Weisse tasting into a bracket/comp of sorts.  I'll let Jeff, who is spearheading this go into more detail later but with so many homebrewers brewing this style it will be fun to compare the different beers down the road.

 Brew Day 4-7-13:

I feel like I know my brewing system's quirks very well, but any time I change up my brewing process I'm always a little nervous.  Doing a step mash is not a complicated process on my brew rig, but it's not something I do very often.  Having a long night before and starting the hot water at 6AM added to this concern.

Bringing the water up to temperature was a quick process, with a protein rest for 30 mins.  Getting the march pump and hoses ready for the temperature jump was a little time consuming.  The way I have my march pump is hooked directly into my counter flow chiller.  So I know the output temperature on a gauge that's going back into the mash.  

The total step time (after the 122 degree protein rest) was 25 mins getting to 151.  I let it rest for another 45 mins, because the 1st beer in the bottom tier was still boiling. 

I didn't run into any real issues while brewing.  All the gravities were spot on.


  1. So are you using whitelab's lacto and a starter made from grain?

    1. Yes, same as I did before. Getting a big starter and once its going adding some grain for a little "Wild" factor in the starter. I pitched the starter into the beer yesterday at 95 degrees. I had active fermentation within 2 hours. This morning it rocking.

  2. So I tried doing a lacto starte with some cherry juice and I wasn't getting much response from the lacto. So I said "what the hell?" And threw so grain in there to get things roaring. Now after about 5 Days there are splotchy lumps on the surface and hairy white looking mold with black dots floating on top. Any advice?

  3. I would dump it. Start with wort or apple juice. Once its going I would add some grain if you feel its needed.

    Also if your using the Wyeast Lacto, it might not work as described above. There seems to be some differences in the fermentability between the White Labs strain and the Wyeast's.

  4. Thanks for the feedback. I am planning on dumping it, but I'm curious, why is apple juice okay and not cherry?


Thanks for Commenting, Prost!