Thursday, 2 April 2015

No Sparge, No Hops, No Boil Berliner Ryesse ( A very short brew day)

To ferment a beer using the bacteria naturally present on the grain that you'll use to make the beer is awesome. It's self-sufficient, au naturel, and nerdilicous for a microbio geek like myself. I've wanted to brew a berliner weisse for ages, but it's been put on the back burner over and over again while I've been doing any other beer. I decided to finally just do it, but true to my style I had to make it different by substituting the wheat in the recipe for malted rye.

I've done research over and over again, I've probably read Bear-flavored's entry on brewing berliner weisse a few dozen times before trying his method out for myself. Basically it's this: make a starter with no hops, add some whole malted grain, and top it off with some soda water to purge the oxygen and make a CO2 blanket. The reason being that some aerobic bacteria can make butyric acid and other nasty compounds that taste like feces, diapers, garbage or vomit. If all goes well, it should taste grainy, lemony and refreshing though.

After one day
After two days

I did just as sensei Derek (Bear Flavored) had written, but I wrapped mine up with a heating blanket and a T-shirt to maintain a culturing temperature of 110*F. I checked the starter one day after adding the grain, and it was super turbid already meaning that something was growing. I poured a little off for a taste and added some more soda water. The starter smelt a bit like tomato soup, kind of vegetable like, which i think could be some DMS somehow. It tasted grainy and clean though, with a touch of sourness. 

There was sediment forming at the bottom of the flask, which was likely bacteria cells settling out.

There's not too much to say about brew day, I did no-sparge brewing this time which in essence means that I used the whole volume of water for both the mash and the sparge and ran it straight into the fermentor. No sparge brewing supposedly gives a more round and full malt flavor. I'm already a little nervous about the way that the wort ran into the fermentor, and I'm worried that some nasty-ass bugs will use that oxygen from the splashing to make it taste like hot garbage. I didn't use hops because most Lactobacillus spp. will roll over and die if they get a whiff of hops.

I'm hoping that the beer will taste decent, I kind of regret not doing a decoction to get some maillard reaction flavors to give the beer some more grain presence and flavor.

No-sparge is generally thought to be less efficient, but my wort ended up being a little too strong at 1.042, so I actually ended up adding some more hot water and effectively sparged it a bit more to water down the wort.

True to rye, the run-off was slow and tedious because of the high protein content of the grain. I restarted it once or twice and did a very minor vorlauf. The fermentor is now rigged up to the heating blanket and the STC-1000 so that I can maintain a temperature of about 100*F with intermittent tastings to make sure it doesn't get too ridiculous sour. The culture smelt very citric and clean when I sniffed it before pitching it. 

Here's hoping to my first berliner being a success..

"Very Nice!" Berliner-Ryesse

20 liter batch
OG: 1.036
Mashed at 152*F

4# Canadian 2-row
2# Rye Malt

Lacto bacteria starter (See above)

Fermented at 100*F for about 3 days, it was refreshingly sour but not sharp. It smelt a bit like tomato soup at this point.

Pitched a 3L starter of Bohemian Lager yeast at day 3 after cooling the beer to 60*F
Allowed to ferment for 3 days, then removed from fermentation chamber and allowed to rise to room temp. Smelt much more clean and doughy.

Dregs from a roeselare sour and cuvee rene were pitched at the same time as the lager yeast.

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