Sunday, September 29, 2013

Wolaver's/ Zero Gravity Collaboration Berliner Weisse

Berliner Weisse is a a sour wheat beer traditionally brewed in Northern Germany. In Germany, they would let the mash sit, sometimes for days, to allow bacteria to work on the grains causing it to sour. This is what derives in a light-bodied beer with a distinct tartness almost champaign-like due to its lower pH. I sampled it at the Vermont Brewer's Festival last weekend. Samples were offered with either raspberry or woodruff syrup additions. Destiny suggested the woodruff as a better option if I were to have syrup, so that's what I went with. (This is not uncommon for Germans to add woodruff syrup in their Berliner Weisse)

Alcohol Content: 3.0%
IBU: ?
Malts: ?
Hops: ?

Price: 1 tasting ticket
Medium: 5oz pilsner-like sample glass (see right)

Aroma: Woodruff adds an herbal and floral sweetness that is otherwise absent in the beer. Also commonly noted as perfumey but this was not the case. I was fortunate enough to sample it twice, the first time getting a bit more fruitiness (from fermentation?). Fruity notes can be described as pear or raspberry-like and quite pleasant. Interestingly, raspberry esters are in the beer naturally which makes sense to add raspberry syrup to bring out more of that aroma.  I found no malt aroma, masked by the acidic character. Some lemongrass notes, perhaps from woodruff. No hop aroma, diacetyl, nor DMS.
Appearance: Hazy, especially for such a small, slender glass which usually shows beers as brighter and more clear than they may actually be. Golden yellow or straw in color. Poured for a small head, but otherwise a large white head with poor retention is expected. Carbonation looked moderately high at first and came out of solution after a few minutes.
Flavor: Lactic sourness from lactobacillus is strong with fruity esters in the background. Pear and raspberry notes from fermentation combine with woodruff sweetness. Grainy notes are soft and pleasant. Bitterness is very low and does not add any flavor. Tart flavors linger into the aftertaste. Woodruff syrup falls to the bottom, with the last sip giving off a nice balance between sweet and sour.
Mouthfeel: Light-bodied with no signs of alcohol present. Carbonation is moderately high with a dry finish. Sourness coats the mouth leaving a slight puckering effect.
Overall Impression: Lactobacillus was used to sour the mash for three days in the boil kettle, of which was then driven off by the boil. Kolsch yeast was then used to ferment out, resulting in a low alcohol session beer. The low pH and natural acidity makes this Berliner Weisse a versatile food pairing (Wine has a low pH which is why many believe it to be a better food pairing than beer). Great as a session beer on a hot sunny day.

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