Saturday, August 13, 2011

First Berliner Weisse, pt. 1 - Sour starter

The next brew in the works is a Berliner Weisse. This will be my first sour beer so I wanted to start off with something easy. The first step is to make a starter for the Lactobacillus delbrueckii. Pure strains are available from Wyeast and White Labs, but malted base grains are lousy with Lacto (among other things). Since my LHBS is an hour away and doesn't have any bacteria anyway, and it would cost too much to buy a culture online and ship it, I chose the grain route.

Here's the recipe I used:

Into 4L water
Add 400g dextrose
Heat to 110* to dissolve sugar
Divide into 3 growlers
Into each growler goes 1 cup of base malt

One growler got wheat malt, one got pils malt, and one got pale malt. PH of the sugar/water solution was 7.1. I placed the growlers in the shed and wrapped them with a brewbelt heater. Target temperature is 110-120* to maximize Lacto growth.

I wanted to do three separate starters to increase the chance of success. When I harvested wild yeast in the past, half of them took off with good bugs/yeast, and half of them got really rank and nasty. So this way, hopefully at least one will come out alright.

The camera ran out of batteries today, but the next update should have some pics.

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