Category Archives: Lacto Sources 2

Berliner Weisse Experiment 2 (Lacto Sources)

This is a continuation of my first experiment.  The same lab setup as experiment 1  and the things I changed are the lacto sources and the yeast I used.  The lacto sources this time were:
1> White Labs 672 Brevis
2>White Labs 677 Delbrueckii [FROZEN]
3> Wyeast 5335 Delbrueckii [FROZEN]
and since the German Ale didn’t handle super low pH (<3.2) well I decided to try a white wine yeast since wine must has a pH of 3.0-3.5 so it is accustomed to low pH.  I used Lavlin EC-1118 since it is easy to get and cheap.
So, there was one big problem.  I got the 672 from a friend and it was in good shape.  The 677 and 5335 I ordered from Northern Brewer and they both showed up frozen solid.  In the name of science, I decided to run the experiment anyway to see what would happen but I plan on rerunning the part of the experiment for obvious reasons.  Side note: Northern Brewer was very nice to work with and did replace the Wyeast 5335 since it never soured and even sent me DME for free since I made a starter.
15 min boil of Muntons Wheat DME
cooled to 115F
split across 3 x 1 gallon jugs
set in cooler with lizard lamp and controller set to 95F
1/9/15 @ 4pm
OG – 1.031
pH – 5.95
tastes like wheat malt extract 🙂

1/10/15 Day 1
1> pH – 3.71 lightly sour.  mostly lactic with a hint of maltiness.  clean.  big kreasen w/ a little blowoff
2> pH – 5.45 malty sweet.  clean.  no kreusen.
3> pH – 5.47 malty sweet.  clean. no kreusen
1/11/15 Day 2
1> pH – 3.38 moderately sour.  probably getting into range for a berliner weisse.  5/10 on sour scale.  clean.  low sweet malt character.  effervescent.  kreusen dropped.
2> pH – 4.65 sweet, worty.  not sour.
3> pH – 5.13 sweet, worty.  not sour.
1/12/15 Day 3
1> pH – 3.25 smells and tastes quite tart.  8/10 on sour scale.  clean.  not much malt flavor.  tangy.
2> pH – 3.89 still smells and tastes malty but bit of sourness.  2/10 on sourness scale.
3> pH – 4.55 sweet and malty.  clean.
1/13/15 Day 4
1> pH – 3.20 similar to yesterday.  quite tart.  clean.  8/10
2> pH – 3.5 sweet nose.  starting to getting a bit of tartness in flavor.  4/10.
3> pH – 4.32 sweet and malty.  clean 0/10
1/14/15 Day 5
1> pH – 3.17 similar to yesterday.  sour.  clean.  low malt.  8/10.
2> pH – 3.3.5 has started to bubble!  weird.  a little bit of kreusen / foam.  maybe a brevis contamination?  med-low malty sweet.  nice sourness but not TART.  a little effervescent.  6/10
3> pH – 4.21 sweet, malty.  0/10
1/15/15 Day 6
Work – Boooooo!!!!
1/16/15 Day 7
1> pH – 3.13 similar to last time.  8/10.  hazy and about 2mm of trub has formed on bottom.
2> pH – 3.16 similar to 1> but a bit maltier / sweeter.  also has about 2mm of trub.
3> pH – 4.04 clear.  sweet and malty with a very low level of acidity finally showing.  1/10.  about 3mm of trub.
1/17/15 Day 8
1> pH – 3.10 similar to yesterday but has nudged into the throat consticting level of sour 🙂 9/10
2> pH – 3.12 similar to 1> but a bit of malty sweetness in the background
3> pH – 3.98 a bit of foam and bubbling but clear.  same as yesterday. 
1/19/15 Day 10
1> gravity 1.012 pH 3.09 very sour.  clean.  dry.  9/10 on sour scale.
2> gravity 1.016 pH 3.10 some malty sweetness in nose.  not much in flavor.  very sour.  clean.  9/10 on sour scale.
3> pH 3.91.  since it has stopped souring i dumped it.
For 1 & 2 I rehydrated and pitched Lavlin EC-1118 w/out boiling the wort since they had significant gravity drops and I don’t want to just boil off the alcohol.  I used 2.5 grams of yeast for each gallon.  i set the temp to 68F but the wort was at 95F when I took it out.  It was probably in the low 80s F when I pitched the yeast.
pitched @ Noon 1/19/15
1/20/15 @ 8am no activity
@ 8pm no bubbling but 2> is showing a bit of foam?
1/25/15 i never saw visible activity outside of a bit of foam on 2> and a few bubbles in the blow off jar.
1> gravity 1.012 pH 3.09.  tastes similar but a bit yeasty.
2> graity 1.015 pH 3.04.  similar to 1.
I bottled both.  I had 1 gallon in the bottling bucket for each so I used 1.3 oz of table sugar that I boiled for 10 mins in 1/2 cup of filtered water in each bottling session (i obviously bottled them seperately).  Targe was ~3.5 volumes of CO2.  I easily got 6 bottles of each with a bit of beer left over.
I let them sit at room temp for 2 weeks and then refrigerated.
2/12/15 side by side tasting
BW2-1 (experiment 2 , lacto 1 AKA WL672 Brevis)
aroma – sour/lactic w/ faint crackery malt.  no off aroma.
appearance – straw.  hazy.  lots of visible carbonation.  nice big fluffly white head that dissipated fairly quickly but lingered.
flavor – sour lactic tang dominates.  faint crackery malt.  clean.  no off flavors.
mouthfeel.  very effervescent.
overall impression – a nice berliner.  very sour.  a bit boring but better than most berliners i’ve tried.
BW2-2 (AKA WL677 Delbrueckii)
aroma – sour / lactic with a hint of crackery malt.  similar to 2-1.
appearance – similar to 2-1 but a shade darker
flavor – sour / lactic dominates but seems a shade less sour than 2-1.  picking hairs.  a faint oxidized / extract note?
mouthfeel – very effervescent
overall impression – very similar to 2-1 and would be hard to tell apart.  maybe a faint extract twang?
Lessons learned:
1> don’t freeze your lactobacillus but if you do try making a starter.  my frozen wyeast never got going but the frozen white labs took a couple days to get going but once it did it got solidly sour.
2> white labs 677 delbrueckii may not be homo fermentative or may have other stuff in there.  needs further testing.  delbrueckii should not ferment down and generate alcohol but in this test it did.  so either it got contaminated (hard to believe – i have very good sanitization practices – but of course possible) or white labs strain is not pure delbrueckii.
3> white wine yeast (lavlin ec-1118) will ferment at low pH levels no problem and bottle conditions nicely.   it doesn’t seem to impact the flavor much at all but i’d like to test it with a full ferment to verify since this test was really just bottle conditioning.
4> both WL672 and 677 get super sour.  a lot of talk about how brevis sours super fast but it seems to be similar to other strains from test 1 and 677 from this test once it got started after it frozen nap.  brevis did ferment down well and really no yeast was needed except to bottle condition and maybe that wasn’t even necessary.  another experiment 🙂
5> i can see where fruit or brett or some other part to the process would be good since these are nice refreshing beers but a bit one dimensional and boring.
I entered 1> White Labs 672 Brevis in a 400+ beer competition and got 3rd in the Sour Category with a 40.5.  The main complaint was too much hop aroma.  Interesting since there were zero hops 🙂  But it seemed to be well received so maybe I’m headed in the right direction.
Also, I checked with White Labs on 2> White Labs 677 Delbrueckii to see if it is hetero or homofermentative.  Here is the reply I got back
“The strain is heterofermentative, so it does produce small amounts of alcohol.”
Interesting.  It appears Wyeasts Delbruckeii strain is homofermentative and White Labs is heterofermentative which I’ve confirmed with the source as well as with my experiments.