Small Batch Brü

Recipes, techniques and tasting notes

kettle souring my berliner

Berliner Weisse Brew Day

I’ve been looking forward to this brew day for a while. (Check out my Berliner Weisse article) After researching different souring method and recipes I finally decided on a 50/50 grain bill of German Pale Wheat and German Pilsner; kettle soured and fermented with S-05. I almost decided to ferment with a WLP565 Saison 1 since it was readily available in my fridge, but a clean ale yeast is better suited for this style. This will also be my first recipe that will have temperature control using my new Cool Brewing fermentation bag.

The more batches I brew, the quicker the brew day seems to go. This was by-far one of the quickest and easiest brew days I have had. A sour beer brew day really shouldn’t be any different than if you were brewing an ale or lager. The changes come during the fermentation, blending, storing and aging processes. The only problem I ran into was with my mash temp. BrewCipher suggested a 166-degree F strike temp that was supposed to yield a 148-degree F mash temp. I ended up with a 154-degree F mash temp. We’ll see if this affects the overall dryness of the finished beer. My pre-boil OG was right in line with the 76% efficiency that I expect out of my Brewhouse.

After the mash I collected 5.5 gallons, boiled for 5 minutes, cooled to around 100 and pitched a vial of WLP677 Lactobacillus Delbrueckii. I decided to sour outside on the balcony since the daytime temps here in Houston are around 90. The evening temps are in the 80s, but hopefully that won’t adversely affect the souring process.

Berliner Weisse

Batch Size: 5 gal
Estimated OG: 1.039
Estimated FG: 1.009
Boil Time: 60 minutes

9 gallon Bayou Classic Pot
Lowes 5 gallon cooler mash tun
Lowes 5 gallon cooler HLT

3.5 lb German Pilsner
3.5 lb German Pale Wheat malt

1.0 oz Hallertau Hersbrucker

WLP677 Lacto D.
US-05 Ale Yeast
WLP005 English Ale Yeast

Other Stuff
7 g calcium chloride


Mash Schedule
148 F for 60 minutes
(Missed the mash and hit 154 F instead)
Batch sparge with 168-degree water

Brew Journal

Brew day began around 12:30 PM after a trip to the local home brew shop. BrewCipher didn’t give me a very accurate strike temp. 166 F gave me 154 in the mash instead of the 148 I wanted. Hopefully I still have a fermentable wort that will give me the dry finish I want out of this Berliner.

First runnings – 1.092
Pre-Boil – 1.039
Efficiency – 76%

Collected 5.5 gallons of wort, boiled for 5 minutes, let cool to 100 F and pitched a vial of WLP677. Will kettle sour outside on the balcony.

9:30 PM 94 F

6:45 AM 85 F
Brought back inside and put on the stovetop. Temperature wasn’t quite high enough outside. Held on the stove at 90-110 F and checked the pH around 3:30 PM. Measures 3.5. Boiled for 60 minutes and transferred to a carboy

OG 1.041

Pitched a packet of WLP005 English Ale with no starter at 1:00 PM. MFG date on the package is 12/21/16 with a use-by date of 06/19/17 so there should be enough healthy yeast in there to make some magic happen.

No magic happening as of 6:30 AM. The bag is running a little cold. I have a mug of water with the carboy and that water is measuring 60 F so i removed one of the ice bottles. Now only have 1 1.5 liter ice water bottle. I pulled a hydrometer sample immediately after pitching the yeast so hopefully that sample didn’t pull out too much yeast.


The Berliner Weisse is in the keg and we’re enjoying the hell out of it. It has a lactic aroma with a hint of minerals. The color is a very pale straw and the carbonation is champagne-like. Flavor starts with a slight lactic bite and then the malt comes through. No hop flavor or aroma whatsoever, so Liz loves it of course. The only thing I would change about this beer so far is the water profile. This was my first time building my water and all i added to distilled was Calcium Chloride. While the BrewCipher water page said that the profile was correct for a Berliner, I’m just not digging the metallic flavor probably brought on by the alkalinity of the calcium. It’s a delicious beer in the beginning and then tastes like a rock in your mouth. Other than that flaw we are loving this beer!