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The beers of Schneeeule—and other Berlin-based revivalists such as Berliner Berg and Lemke—are not simple kettle sours. These are the complex creations of mixed fermentation, which must include Brettanomyces. They tend to be softly tart rather than sharply sour—and thus they tend to be quite drinkable, perfect for warm summer days. This is Ulrike Genz's interpretation of a traditional Berliner weisse, a product of her historical research and personal preference for how she likes to drink it.
Batch size: 5 gallons (19 liters)
Brewhouse efficiency: 72%
3 lb (1.4 kg) German pilsner malt
3 lb (1.4 kg) German wheat malt
0.7 oz (20 g) Hallertauer Mittelfrüh at 45 minutes
Wyeast 3638 Bavarian Wheat and 5223-PC Lactobacillus brevis, or similar strains; Wyeast 5151-BC Brettanomyces clausenii, or similar strain (after primary)
The day before brewing, make a yeast starter by combining the wheat beer yeast and Lactobacillus; or, more traditionally, re-pitch mixed-yeast slurry from a previous batch. Mill grains and mash at the following steps:
- 113°F (45°C), for 15 minutes
- 131°F (55°C), for 15 minutes
- 144°F (62°C), for 30 minutes
- 162°F (72°C), for 30 minutes
- then 172°F (78 °C) for mashout
Then vorlauf and run off into the kettle. Boil 60 minutes, adding hops according to the schedule. Chill to 72°F (22°C) and pitch the starter. Ferment for 1 week, then add Brettanomyces. When the beer reaches FG, package in sturdy bottles with enough priming sugar to achieve 3.5 volumes of carbonation.
If possible, source relatively less-modified malts (such as Briess Synergy Select) better suited for the multistep mash. Berlin water is pretty hard, and most breweries didn’t treat it before brewing. If treating your water to mimic the profile, go for about 100 ppm sulfate and chloride, with sodium around 50 ppm.