This is a review of my first sour beer a berliner weisse made with 100% local grain. I split the batch into two versions, they are the same sour mashed wort and the same primary fermentation. The first half went from the fermentor direct to bottle. The second half went from primary to a smaller secondary, with the addition of 40oz of black berry juice. The black berries were picked here at the farm, they are wild, and just grow all over the place here. I’m only reviewing the plain version now, as I have not yet bottled the other half.
Aroma – Cheese. Parmasean cheese. A friend likened this to pepperoni beer. This just isn’t the right aroma for a beer. A master level BJCP judge noted he’d never smelled anything like it before. Unfortunately that is not a compliment.
Appearance – slight haze, very light, just off white. Not much head.
Flavor – slight acidic tang, lactic, not acetic. Refreshing. I do not taste the cheese from the aroma. W/out the aroma it’s actually a decent beer. Some funk, but otherwise good.
Mouth Feel – Light carbonation for the style. Thin, and spritzy. Needs more carbonation.
Overall Impression – this would be just what I wanted if it didn’t smell like cheese. I’ve got a bunch of this beer, and I’m pretty sure I’ll be dumping it. It’s just too strange to bother leaving it in bottles any longer. I’ve considered dumping it into a keg and trying to blow some c02 through it to get rid of the aroma. Then beer gun it into bottles. However, I don’t think I want to even consider tainting my gun or keg with a what ever got this funky.
I’m hoping the extra time and extra fermentation on black berries did wonders for the black berry version. I’m going to be very disappointed otherwise.
UPDATE: I forgot to include my plans for future versions of this style. I do like the style enough to give it another try. Next attempt will be similar recipe, but instead of sour mashing, I plan on following the mixed fermentation schedule outlined in this NHC presentation: