Hibiscus Berliner Weisse – Tasting Notes

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After having a good rummage about in Evernote, I found some tasting notes that I didn’t ever get around to getting out on the blog.

Remember this?  https://yeastismybitch.com/2016/10/18/inadvertent-lambic-berliner-weisse-mini-mash/

Well, it actually all ended up coming out rather well…

As you can see from the pictures, the colour of this beer was more akin to Cherryade than anything else, and due to it’s appearance probably shouldn’t be served in anything other than a dainty wine glass.  I think it looks bloody magnificent, but I would, wouldn’t I?

Let’s get this out there right now: this is about as close to a proper Berliner Weisse as you can get, in fact it’s probably one of the most “to-style” beers that I’ve ever brewed.   I’m wildly over-happy with how this one came out.

I say “as close to a Berliner as you can get…” I mean, OK, so just for a laugh I did re-hydrate some 30g of dried Hibiscus flowers in 100ml or so of boiling water and distributed that during bottling – but other than that it’s a Berliner alright…

It’s SOUR and mightily so, but the softness of the lactic acid means that it’s an enjoyable sour and not chrome-strippingly acidic.  There’s also a mild wheaty graininess to it, too.

And, well – let’s be honest about it – there’s LEMONS.  I mean loads of them – but nicely.  Somewhere there’s also faint malt-sweetness, but mostly it’s refreshingly tart…and that’s just how I wanted it.

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The carbonation is spot on and the mouthfeel is smooth and velvety…this means that there’s a lively frothy head, which – rather gratifyingly – does seem to last for a while…

The aftertaste is clean and there’s a very enjoyable dryness which fades to leave rhubarb, tart apple and sherbet echoes.

Hah.  I absolutely completely and utterly nailed this style.  Thus I rule hard; and in doing so, take my leave of you until my next post…

It kindled my flame – Berliner Kindl Weiss (from @beersofeurope)

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Rarely have I opened a bottle of beer with such trepidation.

Berliner Weisse in its native form is a rare old beast…that’s not to say that the craft brigade haven’t embraced the style as their own, in fact there’s quite a lot of Berliner Weisse tributes knocking about the place.

But I wanted the real thing…

I’ve read about, I’ve looked at recipes for it and I’ve often thought about making it…I just never had the chance to try an example of the Berliner Weisse style.

Until now.

I found that those lovely people at Beers of Europe (http://www.beersofeurope.co.uk/beers) stock a Berliner Kindl Weisse, so along with a happy batch of other bits and bobs, I received my coveted bottle of Berliner.

To make a Berliner Weisse you need the help of our old pal Lactobacillus (the bacteria responsible for the tanginess of yoghurts, etc.)  Lactobacillus drops the PH of the finished beer sufficiently to give a bracing yet refreshing tartness; this increase in acidity with a standard brewers’ yeast fermentation helps to create a unique and exciting flavour profile.

There’s obviously a lot more to the process – including the potential for a no-boil (!) wort-making step, but we’ll leave that for the day that I get around to making my own version.

So how’s it taste?  Well…

It’s a bright straw yellow, with a smallish snow-white head.  Maybe there’s a faint haziness about it, but if there is it’s unremarkable.

There’s a more-than vigorous carbonation, which certainly adds a pizazz to proceedings – small wonder that Napoleons troops called it The Champagne of the North when they first came across it.

The aroma is pretty much devoid of maltiness – OK there’s some sweetness there somewhere – but it’s mainly tart and juicy green apples with  over-ripe pear notes and a faint “sherbertiness.”

In the mouth it’s foamy and lively, coquettishly flirty and tartly refreshing.  The acidity from the lacto fermentation is proper mouth-puckeringly good and there’s an assertive lemoniness with a thin, reedy, maltiness.

There’s no escaping the acidity, and I can guarantee that you won’t have had beer like this before; the front of my tongue sang with it’s refreshing sharpness.

The Germans like to add some fruit syrup to theirs to make it more drinkable – but I didn’t bother because a) I knew it’d probably get up their noses a bit if I had it without and b) I like my Berliner Weisse sharp.

Get some today and lively up yourself (as they might say in Jamaica)

http://www.berliner-kindl.de/Produkte/Berliner-Kindl-Weisse