I imagine most brewers have the same problem we do. You have multiple taps and the refreshing easy drinking stuff always seems to go too quickly. We are always seeking out quick turns and short cuts to fill our taps. In March the shop hosted an event with Omega Yeast Labs to talk about their new strains and to showcase beers fermented with a variety of Omega Yeast. It was during that event that Michael heard of their 5 day Berliner Weisse experiment and that is how this brew day was conceived.

Now, I should preface this experiment with we never do anything exactly as recommended. Sometimes we have good reasons and sometimes we want to test out a few things in one batch. We are also realistic about how our lives work with downtime in regard to brewing, transferring, carbing, etc., and we decided that a 7-day Berliner was probably more realistic for us. However, I absolutely believe you can turn this around in 5 days as Omega suggests.

Passionfruit Berliner Weisse Recipe:

4# Ireks Wheat Malt

3# Ireks Pilsner Malt

12 oz. Ireks Munich Malt

0.50 oz Callista Hops (10 min addition during 20 min post-souring boil)

1 pkg Omega HotHead Ale (OYL-057)

2 pkgs Omega Lactobacillus (OYL-605)

4 oz Amoretti Passionfruit Fruit Puree

Process and Methods

There are a few things we did differently since we were introducing bacteria into our beer. Bacteria is the “gift” that can keep on giving if you don’t take proper precautions. Anything plastic that comes in contact with an infected batch will continue infecting batches. If you ferment in plastic go ahead and label it sour and only use it for sour batches. Same goes for auto siphons and tubing. Luckily, there are ways to avoid this and those are parts of the recipe where we changed some things up a bit.

We mashed our grain at 148F for 75 mins then brought the temperature up to 180F to kill off any wild bacteria that might be in our wort environment. We then cooled the batch to about 90F and transferred it into our Anvil stainless fermenter. We pitched two packages of Omega Lactobacillus and put the Anvil into our fermentation chamber. We also have the ability to heat and cool our chamber--or we do when we remember to plug the heater in (oops).

We allowed the Lacto to ride for 18 hours as suggested by the Omega recipe and then tasted it using a sanitized pipette. Had we plugged our heater in the batch would have been kept at 90F like we planned. However, because it was unplugged it cooled to and stayed at about 75F for the duration of souring. This may have had an effect on how quickly it soured our wort.

At this time the Omega recipe had you adding the Hothead Yeast but again we made a change. Since we were adding fruit puree, we wanted a little more tartness from the Lacto, so we allowed it to ride an 32 hours and then cold crashed it while at work. That night we transferred back into the kettle and brought it up to a boil for 20 minutes to kill the Lacto. We added our half ounce hop addition at 10 and also added yeast nutrient and whirlfloc. At this point after the boil the batch is no longer infected and can be treated like any other clean beer you brew.

We cooled the wort to about 90F and pitched HotHead Yeast. We allowed the yeast to do its thing and it finished in about three days. When the yeast was finished, we added 4 oz of Amoretti Passionfruit puree and let it ferment for approximately 12 hours before we cranked down the temperature of our fermentation chamber to cold crash and let it sit for another 12 hours. On day 7 we transferred to keg and passed it through our Blichmann Quick Carb System for carbonation. Because the only way to actually turn around a beer in so few days is by kegging and force carbonating a chilled finished beer.

End Results

The resulting beer came out as a light refreshing Berliner Weisse. It has a crisp tartness with a nice bready dough malt backbone and a low to moderate fruitiness from the passionfruit and Hothead. Overall, we are extremely pleased with the easy quick brew day and quick turn around of the experiment. In fact, this will be a beer we can keep on tap all summer. The Berliner base makes it easy to change out the fruit puree added and have a different beer each time it is brewed or we could keep it plain and spike it with fruit syrups like a true German Berliner Wiesse.

--Sandra DiPretore
Cicerone Certified Beer Server, Homebrewer, and Tireless Recipe Researcher