Reader Andrew posted this question earlier in the week:
I was wondering if you could give me some tips on increasing mouthfeel on my lower abv brews. Is there a way to get a nice low abv beer without it being sweet due to high mash temps/ increased specialty malt?
… and I thought it was a substantial enough topic to warrant its own post.
After posting about his process in the Berliner Weisse thread, reader Scott (sschemy) was kind enough to send me some samples to try – here they be, on camera.
And here are his comments excerpted from the above thread:
A buddy and I just “brewed” a Berliner-esque beer for a wort transformation challenge from a local brewery. The brewery provided 5 gallons of wort. The base wort was a wheat beer (don’t have the recipe in front of me) around an og of 1.050. We took that wort and split into two batches, we then mashed a 50/50 pilsner/wheat to dilute the original wort down to a gravity of 1.032. No boil, and pitched the Wyeast 3191 in one carboy, and a blend of NE wild yeast with sour dregs from various commercial brews (really have no idea, except there was some dregs from Trinity). We tasted and kegged these this weekend. The brew with the straight berliner yeast is a cleaner tartness, mildly sour now, but very refreshing. The NE wild/dregs beer is slightly funkier, a little less clean, but slightly more sour. This one had a really nice pellicle on it. Currently sitting under 30 psi, and will sample tomorrow. The contest calls for 6 bottles to be submitted. We have very high hopes with this one. Will let you know how it all turns out.
“Despite increased bitterness, the tasting panel described the first wort-hopped beers as more pleasant tasting and overwhelmingly preferred them. Gas chromatographic analysis indicated the conventionally hopped beers contained a higher level of hop aroma substances … but panelists nonetheless described the first wort-hopped beers as having a very fine and rounded hop aroma and rounded hop flavor.”
Decoction is a meandering path to take to arrive at a beer; you can get a fermentable wort (not the same wort, though) into the boiler with less time and effort, but I think it’s safe to say that for most homebrewers, this whole thing we do is about the journey at least as much as it is the destination. Continue reading →
Czech pilsner: the OG single malt-single hop beer. It’s caramelly, it’s malty, it’s hoppy, it’s a lager but it’s got some yeast character; it’s demanding to brew but it’s so, so easy to drink. It’s been too long since I’ve made one. Continue reading →
Picture it, citizens: there I was, minding my business, bench-trialing and blending some more- and less-aged sour beer into a semblance of a whole, when the imp of the perverse called an audible. Continue reading →
Truth in advertising – deep down, I really only truly love a fruit beer if it’s also sour or wild or Brett-influenced, something more than just a fruit beer. That’s just the way Crom made me.
Which isn’t to say I can’t appreciate a well-made straight-ahead fruit beer, but, sour or not, I do feel that the fruit should reflect the beer’s provenance – the fruit adds another layer of reality to beer as an agrarian product and an extension of its time, people, and place.
Every great meadmaker I’ve ever met, from Ken Schramm to Curt Stock, has espoused the use of high quality, local fruit when making melomel, and that philosophy translates very well when brewing sour and wild ales.