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Is "Berliner weiss" considered a sour beer style?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by diesel59, Jun 23, 2012.

  1. diesel59

    diesel59 Savant (410) New York Jan 3, 2012

    just picked up two 22oz. bottles of Full Sail's yesterday.... I think it is very good, but it is kind of sour... would this be considered a "sour beer"... the ones i see everyone posting about.... thanks
  2. LambicKing

    LambicKing Advocate (685) Florida Apr 13, 2011

    Short answer - yes.

    Long answer - yes.
  3. UCLABrewN84

    UCLABrewN84 Poobah (1,475) California Mar 18, 2010 Verified

    It's a soured wheat beer. I believe they use lactic acid to sour it instead of microorganisms. Someone correct me if I am wrong.
  4. dbossman

    dbossman Savant (475) Nebraska Apr 27, 2009 Verified

    A Berliner Weiss is one of many styles that fall under the umbrella of "sour" beers. Other styles underneath this umbrella include American Wild, Flanders Oud Bruin, Flanders Red, Faro, Geuze, and Lambic among others.
    DevilsCups likes this.
  5. chanokokoro

    chanokokoro Advocate (600) Illinois Jan 31, 2012

    I believe you're right. Fantastic style, especially for summer drinking.
  6. It's traditionally an unboiled wort, meaning that is doesn't get cooked after the mash, and the hops are added during the mash. Then a strain of Lactobacillus is used for souring. There are other ways to do it. But that is the historical way. Try 1809, a berliner-weisse from Dr. Fritz Briem...if you can find it. Personally, my favorite berliner-weisse of all time.
  7. but yes, it is a sour beer. a sour wheat beer to be exact.
  8. FosterJM

    FosterJM Champion (890) California Nov 16, 2009 Beer Trader

    Sour is as sour tastes...

    Well unless.....(you make own sarcastic comment)

    afrokaze likes this.
  9. patto1ro

    patto1ro Advocate (620) Netherlands Apr 26, 2004

    1809 is a rubbish Berliner Weisse. This what it gets wrong:

    acidity - nowhere near sour enough
    colour - too dark
    carbonation - too little
    ABV- too high
    no brettanomyces, which according to the VLB is essential to get the authentic flavour.

    It's also totally wrong for a Berliner Weisse of 1809. At that time it was a smoked beer.

    A fail on every count really. Plus I don't think it tastes very nice.
  10. harrymel

    harrymel Advocate (650) Washington Dec 15, 2010

    Not many are familiar with VLB, how did you come to know of the VLB? My buddy just graduated in July last year.
  11. unclejazz

    unclejazz Advocate (605) New York Oct 24, 2011 Beer Trader

    Full Sail made a good effort, but I just thought their Berliner Weisse was aiight. I proclaimed this I be the summer of the Berliner Weisse. Still loving Bruery's Hottenroth. I will say the Full Sail version is a good summer beer, not great, but good.
  12. patto1ro

    patto1ro Advocate (620) Netherlands Apr 26, 2004

    Doesn't every serious beer person know what the VLB is? They're one of the best sources of information on German beer.
    BrettHead, herrburgess and Zimbo like this.
  13. szmnnl99

    szmnnl99 Champion (775) Michigan Apr 3, 2006 Beer Trader

    I must not be a serious beer person. Please speak loudly as it is hard to hear you from way down here.
    Tschnab, ZacJay, WolvAlerine and 11 others like this.
  14. patto1ro

    patto1ro Advocate (620) Netherlands Apr 26, 2004

  15. MordorMongo

    MordorMongo Champion (750) Jul 19, 2009

    You forgot anything made by Duck Rabbit lately. ;)
    JCam9981, Chaz and ASUBeer like this.
  16. mudbug

    mudbug Advocate (595) Oregon Mar 27, 2009

    NO, WHAT IS VLB??????
    Ernest_Hooper and szmnnl99 like this.
  17. beerme411

    beerme411 Savant (370) California Sep 28, 2010

    Nope, also what would be good examples of Berliner Weisse? does Telegraph Reserve wheat count? The abv of 5% is high, but it matches everything else. from their website:

    "This sour "wild ale" recalls the earliest rustic beers crafted centuries ago before brewers had an understanding of controlled fermentation. Brewed with the addition of locally grown lemon verbena herb, as well as lactobacillus and wild brettanomyces yeast, Telegraph Reserve Wheat is an all-together different beast from modern beer. Not for the faint of heart, this special brew is available in extremely limited quantities."

    It's hard to find a good example in the US. if reserve wheat and hottenroth don't count ( i don't think festina peche is good example) then I need to keep searching.
  18. joshrosborne

    joshrosborne Savant (300) Michigan Jun 14, 2010

  19. patto1ro

    patto1ro Advocate (620) Netherlands Apr 26, 2004

    Never had an American-brewed Berliner Weisse, so I can't comment on any of those beers.

    The best one I've tried was Schultheiss. The East Berlin one. Sadly long gone.
  20. patto1ro

    patto1ro Advocate (620) Netherlands Apr 26, 2004

  21. hopsbreath

    hopsbreath Savant (485) Oregon Aug 28, 2009

  22. Serious beer people speak German.....
  23. paulys55

    paulys55 Advocate (735) Pennsylvania Aug 2, 2010 Beer Trader

    Are there any European BWs that make it to America that are good examples of the style? This is a serious question as I enjoy the style but have had mostly American takes on it. Thanks.
  24. litheum94

    litheum94 Advocate (675) California Dec 29, 2008

    Cant speak for the Full Sail version, but they are historically somewhat spontaneously fermented by lactic acid producing bacteria, due to the fact the wort isn't boiled. Some breweries also pitch yeast, but Tartare, for example, is 100% spontaneously fermented. It's possible that some breweries do throw extra lactic acid in there as well.
  25. Roguer

    Roguer Poobah (1,120) Connecticut Mar 25, 2013 Beer Trader

    FIFY :)
    AngusOg likes this.
  26. patto1ro

    patto1ro Advocate (620) Netherlands Apr 26, 2004

    Unfortunately, I don't know of any. I think there are a couple of people brewing small amounts in Berlin, but it doesn't get exported.
  27. paulys55

    paulys55 Advocate (735) Pennsylvania Aug 2, 2010 Beer Trader

    Thanks for the reply. This makes me sad.
  28. The only other Berliner Weisse exported from Germany to the US (AFAIK) - by the same importer as 1809, B. United - is the one brewed by Bayrischer Bahnhof. They also brew and export a version with Brettanomyces added during the secondary fermentation. From what I've seen here in the Northeast, neither is as commonly found as the 1809, even though all are from the same US importer and distributor network.

    Perhaps not un-coincidentally, B. United was also the last US importer of Berliner Kindl Weisse, exports to the US of which ended around 2006/7 IIRC. Not sure (maybe "patto1ro" knows?), but it's my impression that these three BW's imported by B. United might be beers brews strictly for the US market, perhaps specifically at their request.
  29. kingofhop

    kingofhop Advocate (565) Oklahoma May 9, 2010

    Full Sail is not a pop star of the BA world, but the beers I've had from them are good. "Solid" comes to mind. "Solid" being faint damning praise, in the BA world. Never had a Berliner weiss. Sounds good.
  30. paulys55

    paulys55 Advocate (735) Pennsylvania Aug 2, 2010 Beer Trader

    Nice info thanks. Glad there are many US versions that I find quite tasty.
  31. Well, the VLB quite sadly witnessed the beer style of their beloved city Berlin literally die on their watch. The Kindl Brauerei and Schulteiss consolidated after reunification and somehow along the way all brewers and documents either got retired, fired, forgotten, shit canned, taken to the dump. Right around 2008-2010 Berliner Wiess ceased to be brewed in Berlin. The Kindl Brauerei produces a low gravity wheat beer that has lactic acid injected into it at bottling...

    The VLB has taken on the project of interviewing every person they can find that was involved in brewing Berliner Weiss, tracking down every document, so a record can be made of this information so it won't get lost again.
    I was in Berlin July 2012 and if you asked for a Berliner Weiss the response would be 'we only sell normal beer'.

    The only good stuff comes from Leipzig...the Bayischer Bahnhof.
  32. cavedave

    cavedave Poobah (1,070) New York Mar 12, 2009 Beer Trader

    Also Capitola, Ca.
    afrokaze likes this.
  33. thatinvisibo

    thatinvisibo Savant (345) California Sep 5, 2005 Verified

    Have you ever had Freigeist Abraxas? That's one of the ones I've had that is supposed to be more traditional, and I'm curious if it actually is
  34. djsmith1174

    djsmith1174 Advocate (540) Minnesota Aug 21, 2005 Verified

    Definitely, and it's a great sour beer when done well. Schell's recently released Star of the North Berliner is a prime example in my opinion.

    According to many posters on this forum, Peruvian Morning may now also be included under that sour classification. :p
    dbossman likes this.
  35. I had this one for the first time last night. After the first sip I was like "what?" Then after the second sip I was all "okay!"
  36. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poobah (1,035) New Jersey Jun 3, 2004 Beer Trader

    For all its faults, I still like Prof Fritz better than any Berliner Weiss that I can normally get.
  37. Immortale25

    Immortale25 Champion (865) North Carolina May 13, 2011 Beer Trader

    This makes me sad because I found 1809 to be very enjoyable :(
    TongoRad likes this.
  38. DevilsCups

    DevilsCups Savant (340) New York Mar 3, 2010

    That's all that matters in the end.
    cavedave, DanH83 and TongoRad like this.
  39. Immortale25

    Immortale25 Champion (865) North Carolina May 13, 2011 Beer Trader

    Indeed :D
    DevilsCups likes this.
  40. It's all a matter of taste my friend. Just like music.