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Author Replies
12/08/05 09:30 AM  
How do you sour your Berliner?
I made my first two years ago I think, the brewshop owner I got my stuff from had no lacto baccilus. He recommended I by me a Kindlweisse and toss the dregs into the secondary. He's offered many bits of advice, most no so good. This was another one of those. I've heard the word Berliner a few times in the last few days, maybe its a more popular style to make than I thought. An easy wort, but what approaches have been taken to induce souring?
12/08/05 12:26 PM  
Re: How do you sour your Berliner?
I soured mine using a package of roselaere. About half was pitched and maintained at ~99F to encourage lacto. After 36 hours it was allowed to cool to 76F and a 1L starter of the rest of the roselaer was pitched.


1) Easy (only one starter)

2) Small amount of brett prevents oxidation but did not overwelm the flavor.

3) The other sachromyces in the mix is very complementary


1) Bret is there -- allowable but it needs to be controlled

2) Carbonation is challenging. The brett may have helped.

Tought to blend or get enough souring with only one batch made.

12/08/05 12:38 PM  
Do you have any biolab buds?
When I passed my Roselaere slurry off to AlB he streaked it and was able to grow up the various components separately. I bet he (or another so professionally able) would be able to isolate the lacto from a blend like that. If you had the choice of using a blend or a pure lacto culture which would you pick? It sounds like there are some advantages to a restrained brettanomyces presence.
12/08/05 12:41 PM  
Re: How do you sour your Berliner?
More beliner thoughts

1) I have done sour mashes - never get that sour

2) Used pure lacto mixed in batch at room temp -- again never got that sour. This sould have been ok.

3) No boil -- too funky.

4) Slow cool -- DMS bomb.

So, what will I do different in the future?

No matter what culture I use (and I am cheap so I will likely use the roselare somehow)I WILL

1) Lower the starting gravity --1.040 probably makes too much alcohol and lacto does not like alcohol.

2) No hops. None. Lacto is not hop resistant.

3) Consider a blending beer to sour most that is kept at 99F to maximize lacto. The other half may have a slighly higher grav or a touch of hops. Maybe.

4) Rack the super sour part into other half when racking to secondary to get near the deired souring and then let it age together. It will likely not get much more sour because of the alcohol-- unless pedio is working some significant magic.

Other thoughts?

12/08/05 12:43 PM  
Re: How do you sour your Berliner?
I would consider trying the all lacto route for at least the intial sour stuff or if blending but would like a very small brett in secondary.

Something (maybe the lacto will do this too) needs to protect the beer for longer maturation even though it is low grav and alcohol.

12/08/05 12:52 PM  
Re: How do you sour your Berliner?
>>2) Used pure lacto mixed in batch at room temp -- again never got that sour. This sould have been ok.<<

Wow, that's a puzzler. I wonder why this failed?

Personally I blend.

Al B
12/08/05 02:55 PM  
Re: How do you sour your Berliner?
I'll be doing an Oud Bruin very soon. I intend to use a sour mash + Lacto delbruekii + a reculture Lacto bug I isolated from De Regenboog (I think that was it). I'll incubate the sour mash with the extra bugs overnight.

Not sure how sour that will get initially, so I plan to soak oak cubes in Lacto cultures (this, hopefully will get the little buggers into the pores of the wood and perhaps protecting them alittle from hops/alcohol - sorta like a barrel inverted I guess).

Also - the recultured Lactobacillus I got from a De Regenboog bottle appears to be alcohol tolerant (abv 9%).

No idea of the species though. The Wyeast Lacto delbruekii is reported not to be hop resistant.

Al B. brewin'

12/08/05 03:25 PM  
Re: How do you sour your Berliner?
Al! Great to see you here again bud! We're looking to do a sour beer swap later in '06, May has come up. Swaps are loads of fun, I hope you keep us in mind. Steve
12/08/05 05:56 PM  
Re: How do you sour your Berliner?
I've tried a lacto bug (wyeast) pitched with the yeast - it is growing slowly more sour, but is still not where I would like it to be. I've added brett, so we'll see how that goes.

It may be heresy, but for a quick Berliner I've added acid blend (malic, citric, and tataric) along with lactic acid to taste.

12/09/05 09:21 AM  
Re: How do you sour your Berliner?
OK then - you, I and Bill have all tried adding a lacto source directly without success. I see a pattern. It sounds like the rules about growing that kind of bacteria are more involved than we realize. Can anyone shed some light on this?
12/09/05 01:14 PM  
Re: How do you sour your Berliner?
This was in last months byo. They recomended making a starter of the bacteria a couple of weeks before brewing. Since it is such a light (low alcohol) style you need it to sour quickly. I believe they said to add it in right after primary slows.
Al B
12/09/05 03:19 PM  
Re: How do you sour your Berliner?
Seems reasonable. Lactobacillus delbrueckii will be stressed under alcohol, hops, pH, and a lack of essential nutrients. Other types of Lactobacillus bugs may be tolerant to a certain degree, but stressed out as well.

I would add some yeast nutrient for a starter culture - no need to aerate (lactobacillus is microaerophilic - very little oxygen is required for growth). I'm incubating my recultured strains in a starter right now (De Regenboog, Petrus).

12/09/05 03:27 PM  
Re: How do you sour your Berliner?
Consider a search of the old lambic archives.


I can not find a searchable version right now... you have to open each archive and manually search, but there is lots of commentary on beliner weiss AND issues with lactobcillus.

The lacto used in some beers is not the standard delbruikii that is available to use right now; many strains have some/more hop and alcohol tolerance.

Once such strain was available via a "slant company" run by a craftbrewer who was last seen running a brew pub in Atlanta. I am looking for my notes ...

Al B
12/09/05 03:45 PM  
Re: How do you sour your Berliner?
Cool Bill,

I recall in the book "Wild Brews" that White Labs had a Lacto. brevis which is hop resistant - maybe its in their Belgian Sour blend?

Meanwhile, I'm going to drink more stuff this weekend and culture Lacto bugs from the dregs of everything I drink (it helps to have a microscope).

12/09/05 04:02 PM  
Re: How do you sour your Berliner?

This won't help a lot unless you can find an old BT:


Table of Contents - Vol. 4, No. 3 :Brewing with Lactic Acid Bacteria By Dr. Brian A. Nummer.

Dr. Brian Nummer was the owner of Head Start brewing and his current address

Athens Brewing Company

312 E Washington St

Athens GA 30601

(706) 549-0027

Head start made lots of very unusual slants including a VERY wide variety of souring bugs. Unfortunately, he was not interested in helping provide slants as of 2001 (the last time I tried contacting him).

If anyone has a copy of his article, I would welcome a summary.

12/10/05 09:14 AM  
Re: How do you sour your Berliner?
I made a starter for my lacto - 1/2 gallon stepped up a couple of times. Didn't use any nutrients though...

I sampled my Berliner last night, and the Brett is kicking in - aroma and flavorwise; doesn't seem to be more sour, however.

Might be falling out of style guidelines due to the brett character, but still pretty tasty, imo.

Al B
12/13/05 09:01 AM  
Re: How do you sour your Berliner?
Getting back to Berliner...........

The last BYO has another recipe pitching the Lactobacillus along with the yeast in the primary (now thats getting a jump on quickly souring it).

12/13/05 09:44 AM  
Re: How do you sour your Berliner?
That sounds like a logical step given pitching after the primary hasn't worked for anybody. Anyone ever try this?
12/17/05 12:14 AM  
Re: How do you sour your Berliner?
LactoB is not a problem in my cellar since I make cheese and innoculate w/ quite often ...

have had several unintentional sour beers .. the best being a very low hopped wheat that went through a pretty complete primary before LB moved in and now I have one fabulous sour beer (pH=3.8)

... I think the key is to get the sugar down and a lower pH before the LB will geyt going

... Brett also lives here so I am sure it will add complexity in time

12/17/05 09:11 AM  
Re: How do you sour your Berliner?
Right there with ya JollyGreen, I had an accident in my brewery 10 years ago that resulted in a permanent uninvited guest. I was placing a 6 gallon carboy, freshly innoculated with lambic bugs, on my cellar floor and I heard a "chink". I then watched in horror as the fluid level started to drop. Moments later the contents was covering my basement floor.

Despite a great clean up attempt I have had to contend with the impact of this ever since. I believe the bugs that survived the mopping ultimatly adapted to my basement environment, the sour character I get when I'm not careful is fairly unique.

Back to you comment, the pH is not something I have focused on, appreciate the suggestion. Why should the sugar level be down? That's an interesting comment. Steve

Sean Paxton
01/30/06 05:00 PM  
Re: How do you sour your Berliner?
Very interesting thread…

One question I have for everyone: What was your recipe? What was your O.G.?



01/30/06 05:07 PM  
Re: How do you sour your Berliner?
Real simple, real low. I think mine was 3-4 lbs of something pale (maybe pils malt), 3 lbs of wheat malt and a real light sprinkling of hops. I think my OG was 1038. I plan to make one within a month, its going to also act as a starter for a lager yeast.
C het
01/31/06 10:07 AM  
Re: How do you sour your Berliner?
Here's mine:

OG 1.030; FG 1.003; 3.5% abv; 8.4 IBUs; 2.4 SRM


2.5# Pils

2# Wheat

1.5# Acidulated (Sauer)


.5 oz. Hallertau


Kolsch/Alt yeast or Nottingham dried yeast (ferment at 57 - 60 degrees until yeast is done, then raise temp to 70s to encourage the bacteria).


Matt Walker (mwsf)
02/01/06 05:00 AM  
Re: How do you sour your Berliner?
I plan to brew a Berliner in the next few weeks. Based on the thoughts here and info I've read elsewhere, I plan to do a quick boil (10 min or so), chill down to 100°F, pitch a large starter of lacto, purge headspace with CO2 to discourage mold, hold close to 100°F for a couple days, cool to 65°F, pitch a couple packets of Safale US-56, ferment in the low 60's for a few days, and then depending on the acidity of the beer, add more Lacto and raise the temperature again, or just condition at fermentation temperatures. Sound reasonable?


-- Matt

Sean Paxton
02/01/06 11:48 AM  
Re: How do you sour your Berliner?
Thanks Steve and Chet for your recipes! I am planning on a gravity of about 1.030. So, I see a very similar recipe, as there isn’t a whole lotta room for too much else…

Matt, good to see you! I like your idea. When are you brewing? I have some Wyeast 4335 Lactobacillus delbrueckii and been tossing the idea of a sour mash before the brew, but I like Matt’s idea. Hmmm… So many choices. I think a short boil is in order, even though I’ve read sparging with boiling water…

Matt Walker (mwsf)
02/01/06 01:37 PM  
Re: How do you sour your Berliner?
Hey Sean!

I'm planning on brewing sometime in the next few weeks. My recipe is something pretty similar, likely 55% Pils/45% Wheat to 1.030 with a touch of Hallertau hops.

Also in a few weeks, I'm planning on brewing an English Porter and spiking it with Brett for NCHF. Should be interesting.

Some of the "info I've read elsewhere" comes from Raj's Flemish Red page (http://www2.parc.com/emdl/members/apte/flemishredale.shtml). Scroll down to "10 Sour Mashing".

-- Matt

BTW... The Berlinner that SteveG sent out in the sour swap a couple years ago was *excellent*!!

02/01/06 07:59 PM  
Re: How do you sour your Berliner?
Matt - it was Steve's excellent BWeisse from that sour swap that got me started brewing them - it's my summer standard beer now!
Rich Link
02/01/06 08:32 PM  
Re: How do you sour your Berliner?
Sorry for jumping in so late. Eric Warner suggests a 1.032 OG, 6 IBU wort, fermented with 140ml Kolsch or Alt yeast and 30ml of lactobacillus delbruckii - both added to the primary. I haven't done this, but have had samples from others in the area who have made very nice versions of this beer. Hope this helps.
02/02/06 09:30 AM  
Re: How do you sour your Berliner?
Wow Chet, thanks - that's very gratifying. The best case scenario in conducting a swap.

And Matt, hey, great to see you here. Your involvement - and of course Alans - was always a real plus to the community. Got anything sour now? Steve

02/03/06 01:43 PM  
Re: How do you sour your Berliner?
Dan and I made a Berliner a few years ago. We decided to mash the grain at 148 F til converted, then we let it cool to around 100F before putting it in an igloo cooler, sprinkled some acid malt on top, covered the top of the grain with saran wrap to keep air out. We left it in the cooler with the lid on for about 36 hours. Then we mashed out and sparged it as usual. I think we only did about a 45 minute boil with just a little hallertauer or tettnang. The beer was about 3.2 to 3.5 abv and a FG around 1.008. It had some sourness, but not enough, and it also had this strange cheesy flavor. It became known as the cheese beer in our homebrew club. Like Chet we added lactic acid to the finished beer to bring the sourness up. Not a bad effort, but not perfect because of the cheesy off flavor. The next time we're probably going to use the same grain bill (pils & some wheat malt) and just sour it with lactic acid after fermentation.


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