Big Brew Day 2014 -Berliner Weisse 2014

>> Friday, May 02, 2014

The first Saturday in May is always National Homebrew Day/Big Brew Day and for the third year in a row we're hosting a brew session. This year two of my friends will be brewing as well; one an all-grain 5 gallon batch, and one an all-grain 1 gallon batch. For me, I decided to do a 10 gallon batch of a Berliner Weisse inspired beer. The Berliner I made last year was one of my favorite beers I've ever made. This year will be similar to last year's, lacto gets a head start before pitching yeast. I'm using two different yeast blends this year; half will get White Labs American Farmhouse Blend and half will get a blend I grew up from Jolly Pumpkin La Roja dregs. Both contain some sach (assuming some survived in the La Roja dregs) and brett. The La Roja likely also contains lacto and maybe some pedio.

The recipe is basically the same as last time except scaled up for 10 gallons. I did increase the amount of grain a bit to increase the gravity. Process is more or less the same as well. I'll be using a short-boil (15 min) method and the following process:

  1. I'll be using 1/2 carbon filtered tap water and 1/2 RO water. This should help prevent any weird mineral/lactic acid flavors.
  2. Seven days prior to brew day, add one packet of Wyeast 5335 Lactobacillus to 1L of 1.020 starter wort. Do not aerate! No stir plate! In fact, if possible, purge your starter container with CO2. Keep warm, preferably between 80-90F for a week.
  3. On brew day after cooling wort, pitch  the 5335 starter and allow it to ferment for one week at 68F. Again, do not aerate!
  4. After one week, add White Labs WLP670 to half and La Roja blend to the other half. Continue to ferment at 68F until finished.
Recipe

8.0 # Belgian Pilsner Malt
7.0 # Weyermann Pale Wheat Malt
1.0 # Rice Hulls 
2.0 oz Aged Debittered Hops (Mash hops, 0.0 IBU's)
1 package Wyeast 5335 Lactobacillus
1 package WLP670 American Farmhouse
1 La Roja dregs culture

Mash at 150F for 90 minutes. Mashout at 168F. 
Collect 10.5 gallons and boil for 15 min. Chill to 68F and pitch 5335. Ferment at 68F for 7 days before pitching WLP670/La Roja dregs

Update 5/12/2014
My wife and I were out of town for the weekend so I pitched the yeast blends a couple of days early on 5/8/2014. I think that was still plenty of time to get some good tartness.

Update 5/28/2014
Both beers are progressing nicely. The American Farmhouse version has a smallish pellicle while the JP version has a pretty mean and nasty looking one. Both have a noticeable acidic aroma. Both have also dropped pretty clear. I'll probably pull some samples this weekend and see where we're at.

Update 6/2/2014
I ran out of time and didn't get either version kegged this weekend. I'm going to give it a try sometime thes week.  

Update 6/24/2014
I got the JP version bottled last night. The  American Farmhouse version was bottled over a week ago. I had originally planned on kegging these but I didn't have any kegs available and I needed to free up the fermenters.

Update 7/7/2014
We cracked open a bottle of each of these for our Independence Day gathering. I'm really happy with the way both of these have turned out. The Farmhouse Blend version is more of a lemony tartness while the JP version is more of a cherry tartness. The JP version also has a bit more brett character, at least right now. 

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