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Pure lacto isn't souring my Berliner

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by MaxSpang, Jun 20, 2013.

  1. MaxSpang

    MaxSpang Advocate (515) Ohio Jan 28, 2011

    Four days ago, I brewed a 10 gallon batch of Berliner Weisse (6lbs pilsen, 6lbs wheat for 10 gal) and split it off into two fermenters. The first one was the Wyeast Berliner blend (shake up aeration method), and the second was pure Wyeast Lactobacillus (no aeration). No starter was made for either of them. Gravity was 1.032.

    The Wyeast Berliner blend took off like a rocket and seems to be fermenting just fine. The pure lacto doesn't appear to be doing anything. I have been tasting it every few days, and there isn't any apparent flavor other than wort and perhaps a very, very slight tartness. In fact, there's so little tartness that I wonder if I'm simply forcing tartness on the palate.

    I pitched it at around 90 degrees, and it went down to about 80 for 2 days. I thought it might have been too cold so I put a space heater up to it and let it run for about 24 hours. The carboy was very warm to the touch, but not hot. I'd guess it was around 110-115. Still no sourness.


    I've never dealt with ANYTHING sour, so I'm wondering what my options are. Is it safe to leave it without pitching any Sacc? Should I repitch some Lacto after making a starter? Should I say screw it and add some Sacc?
  2. rmalinowski4

    rmalinowski4 Savant (330) Illinois Oct 22, 2010

    Did you use hops? Lacto has a hop threshhold, use to much and it will inhibit the sourness.
  3. mylar

    mylar Aficionado (180) Pennsylvania Dec 13, 2011

    Pure lacto will not sour your berliner after only 4 days. Given there was no starter, the lacto might just be starting to work at this point. You also will need to add a sacc strain. Your best option is let it cool down to room temp then pitch a pack of us-05/1056/001 and let it ferment out. It should be tart in a couple of weeks but given no starter for the lacto don't expect this to be mouth puckering sour.
    MaxSpang and bgjohnston like this.
  4. bgjohnston

    bgjohnston Savant (350) Connecticut Jan 14, 2009

    It is my experience that lacto takes weeks to months, not days, to work sufficiently on tartness. You can add a bit of tartness by just adding straight food grade lactic acid after fermentation, if it doesn't get sour enough for you by the time you want it ready to drink.
    mylar likes this.
  5. another question:
    i made my 1st attempt at a lacto pitch. started with 2 vials of White's Lacto. didn't like the sourness it gave to my starter, which i had cooking at around 90 F (a guestimate). so i added a handful of grains. it became more tart on the nose.
    pitched it into my wort for 3 days then added brett brux trois. no sacc. let it sit for 2 months. not sure if it added any noticeable tartness
  6. barfdiggs

    barfdiggs Savant (420) California Mar 22, 2011


    So whats your actual question?
    domtronzero and bgjohnston like this.
  7. Made a Berliner with the blend and had to wait 9 months for any appreciable sourness/tartness. Keep IBUs <11
    Worth the wait though.
  8. VikeMan

    VikeMan Advocate (740) Pennsylvania Jul 12, 2009

    "Everything! You know ... just EVERYTHING!"
    barfdiggs likes this.
  9. I don't know if you are kegging (and pardon me if this is exactly what you're doing...), but have you tried this method: Brew a normal Berliner wiesse, then on the side while the berliner is mashing, boiling, chilling-whatever... (same day), take a corny keg and add some regular two row directly into the keg and some warm water (80-90F) on top of that, then add your lactic culture. Seal the keg up, and set in a warm place for a while (above 80f and below 110f I think is the correct temps...). You will have to bleed off the pressure every once in a while (2-3 times a day) and in two weeks you should have a sour "beer" that you can blend with your Berliner weisse to make it more sour. Then all you do after that is blend and force carbonate and you're good to go, you may want to fine with gelatin as well.

    Appearantly, two row malt has a ton of lactic bacteria on it, and this is why this works so well. My buddy brewed a Berliner using this method and it came out REALLY nice. Does anyone else have any more info on this method, I was just kinda wingining it there...
  10. MaxSpang

    MaxSpang Advocate (515) Ohio Jan 28, 2011

    I put an ounce of Hallertau in the mash and brought the wort up to barely a simmer before chilling it. No boil.


    What about if I pitched normal yeast tonight, and then made a Lacto starter and pitched it in a week or so? Would the Lacto have anything to work with at that point?


    Crap. I WANT TO DRINK IT NAOW
  11. jbakajust1

    jbakajust1 Moderator (500) Oregon Aug 25, 2009 Staff Member

    I just did an extract (4# Wheat DME) Berliner, 15 min boil @ 1 gallon, 1oz Liberty, cooled and added to tap water in the Better Bottle for 5.25 gals, dropped to 78*F, pitched a 7oz cup of Greek Yogurt in there, started @ 1.030, down to 1.009 in 2 weeks @ ambient garage temps. Lactic twang is increasing. DMS was strong after 3 days, seems to be dying off some now, will hit it with CO2 before bottling to scrub the DMS out. I love how WY and WLP sell (at outrageous prices) such sissy Lacto strains when for $1 you can get enough Lacto to rip a Berliner out in only a few weeks. Had I made a starter on it first it, I would be drinking it by now. Will pitch Brett B from Elysian Mortis at bottling in 2 more weeks. No Sacc.
  12. MaxSpang

    MaxSpang Advocate (515) Ohio Jan 28, 2011

    Another question - should I aerate before pitching the Sacc?
  13. pweis909

    pweis909 Advocate (695) Wisconsin Aug 13, 2005

    I could be mistaken, but I believe Old Sock has voiced dissatisfaction with the degree of sourness imparted w/ WL lacto. In any event, I used WY with my Berliner weisse and it got plenty sour over a weeks to months time frame.
  14. all i was able to get was White labs. that's why i added grains
  15. i have to stop posting when at work.
    um....the question....
    why wasn't it sour?
  16. barfdiggs

    barfdiggs Savant (420) California Mar 22, 2011

    White Labs Lacto. I did one with it as well, almost no tartness like a funky wheat lager (I pitched Brett at Bottling). Acid production stoichiometry is less with a heterofermentative (White Labs) strain (1 mol ethanol and 1 mol lactate per mol glucose) versus homofermentative (2 mol lactate per mol glucose); this may be part of the reason for the discrepancy of the two strains.

    Will be testing a matrix of berliner weisse fermentation conditions in a couple weeks with both white labs and wyeast, as well as brett and yogurt, as I love berliners ans was pissed off about how non-sour my first attempt turned out (http://ingenuitybrew.blogspot.com/2013/06/berliner-weisse-test.html ).
  17. mylar

    mylar Aficionado (180) Pennsylvania Dec 13, 2011


    Yes pitching a sacc strain will leave plenty for the lacto to work with. It may just take longer, I typically pitch the lacto first to give it a head start because it is such a slow worker....and no, by no means aerate it. I hop you did not aerate before pitching rhe lacto, lacto does not like o2 and your sacc strain will ferment that low gravity wort just fine. No need for o2
  18. barfdiggs

    barfdiggs Savant (420) California Mar 22, 2011

    Any recommendation on manufacturer for the yogurt? (other than non-fat). Figured I'd add this as a condition on my test, as the prices for Wyeast ($15 a pack) are astronomical.
  19. pweis909

    pweis909 Advocate (695) Wisconsin Aug 13, 2005

    I once put some wort in my yogurt maker and inoculated it with the lacto I've been using for making yogurt. I just poured off some of the liquid phase of the yogurt into the wort. I typically use Dannon products to start my yogurt as they are cheapest in my market, but not always, and I couldn't say with certainty which strains I used here. However, one taste after one week of incubation at ~90 F has discouraged me from further experiments. Blech!
  20. MaxSpang

    MaxSpang Advocate (515) Ohio Jan 28, 2011

    I didn't aerate it at all. I have some US-05 that I'll toss in there tonight.

    I think I'm going to have to just be patient :wipes tear:
    mylar likes this.
  21. jbakajust1

    jbakajust1 Moderator (500) Oregon Aug 25, 2009 Staff Member


    For this one I pitched Fage Greek Yogurt Low-Fat (couldn't get the fat free stuff at Target). I've used the Fat Free Zoi before. Be careful with the temps tho, I did 1 gallon of sugar water with the Zoi once at 90+ and it turned to rocket fuel. The yogurt has 3 Lacto strains and 2 other souring strains, and something in that mix produces CO2 and a light ale fruitiness.
    barfdiggs likes this.
  22. mylar

    mylar Aficionado (180) Pennsylvania Dec 13, 2011

    That's what you have to do when using bugs.
    MaxSpang likes this.
  23. Threadjack: I'm still trying to figure out why my Berlinerveiz, sic, is overcarbonated/foamy from my tap, but spot-on out of a bottle from the Tap??? Temp is the same. Time to clean/replace my lines? (this is the only beer I'm having this problem with)
  24. MaxSpang

    MaxSpang Advocate (515) Ohio Jan 28, 2011

    Update: Just pitched some rehydrated US05. The wort tasted ever-so-slightly more tart than earlier, so all hope is not lost. We'll see how she goes!

    In the meantime, I'm sipping on some New Glarus Berliner Weiss.
  25. FATC1TY

    FATC1TY Moderator (620) Georgia Feb 12, 2012 Staff Member


    Probably over carbed. It's losing carbonation when you bottle it.
  26. Keyes88

    Keyes88 Savant (290) New Jersey Jul 19, 2011

    You can get a sour Berliner in days as brewers do it in hours with a sour mash! It's still primarily Lacto. but other bugs can get in there. I have a Berliner I made that has a pH of less then 3.4 done in under two weeks, and I didn't sour mash. I just applied the theory of sour mashing to my fermentation schedule with a WL lacto vial and kept a very hot one week primary at over 90 degrees. I then dropped in some clean german yeast , brought it down to low 60s and gave it a week to have the FG settle to 1.003. It's now aging on some quince to gain a unique fruity acidicness.

    This beer will continue to sour but it already has a strong tart quality to it. You can do a surprising grain to glass on these.
  27. MaxSpang

    MaxSpang Advocate (515) Ohio Jan 28, 2011

    Another update: The beer is taking off like CRAZY! Very active fermentation going on. In fact, I almost need a blow off tube.

    The good news is that it smells like a berliner! It's still fermenting obviously, so it smells like yeast and CO2, but there is a nice refreshing tart lemon aroma coming out of the bubbler!
    rmalinowski4 likes this.

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