Berliner Weisse (Napoleon’s Champagne)

 Napoleon’s Champagne

(5 gallons/19 L, all-grain)
OG = 1.030  FG = 1.004
IBU = 9  SRM = 3  ABV = ~3.0%

4.0 lbs. (1.8 kg) Durst Pilsner malt
2.0 lbs. (0.91 kg) wheat malt
5 AAU Spalt hops (15 min) (1.0 oz./28 g of 5% alpha acids)
Wyeast 1007 (German Ale) or White Labs WLP029 (German Ale/Kölsch) yeast (1 qt./~1 L starter)
Wyeast 4335 (Lactobacillus) bacteria (1 qt./~1 L starter, not aerated)
1.2 cups corn sugar (for priming)

Step by Step
Make bacterial starter 2 weeks before brew day. Make yeast starter 2–3 days before brewday. Heat 2 gallons (7.6 L) of strike water to 161 °F (72 °C) and mash at 150 °F (66 °C) for 45 minutes. Collect about 3 gallons (11 L) of wort and add water to make about 5.33 gallons (20 L) of pre-boil wort. Boil for 15 minutes, adding hops at beginning of boil. Pitch both starters to cooled wort. Ferment at 62 °F (17 °C) for one week, then condition for a week or two at 70–80 °F (21–27 °C) in primary fermenter. Rack to secondary and bottle the beer in heavy bottles a few days later.

Issue: December 2005

The biggest challenge to making a Berliner weisse is making a light, clean base beer, then rapidly souring it with bacteria. You need to sour the beer fairly rapidly since it’s a low gravity beer and doesn’t have a lot of alcohol to act as a preservative.