Session beers




It took me a bit longer than I had hoped to get this project (beer) going, but I finally got it brewed, and will be anxiously awaiting the results. But, before I get too ahead of myself, lets take a step back.

As in most cases, this idea sprung up after a conversation with one of the many interesting and imaginative customers we have come by the homebrew shop. This particular individual makes his own Sauerkraut and sells it at local farmer’s markets. Well, as it turns out, the same lactic acid producing bacteria (Lactobacillus) responsible for souring sauerkraut, is also used in the production of certain sour beers, particularly those of German tradition, like Gose and Berliner Weisse. Naturally, I encouraged him to bring any left over juice he might end up with after packaging his Sauerkraut, and he was nice enough to do so. I was given two jars of leftovers to play with. One jar of juice from some Red Cabbage/Ginger Sauerkraut and another jar with Caraway.

Seeing as I am a bit of purist when it comes to brewing, especially when it comes to these styles with rich historical backgrounds, I wanted to keep my Berline-Style Weisse (it’s not technically a Berliner Weisse unless its brewed in Berlin) as close to what is considered traditional as possible. The most memorable Berliner Weisse I have tasted was the 1809 Berliner Weisse, designed by Dr. Fritz Briem of Doemens Institute, so naturally I took my inspiration from this beer. 50% Pils malt, 50% Wheat malt. Mash hopped with aged hops, with a single decoction. The biggest difference in my version of the beer, is that I actually boiled the wort for 1-2 mins, while tradition calls for “no-boil.”

I guess that’s not the biggest difference … I am adding leftover juice from sauerkraut for fuck’s sake


Recipe Specifications

Batch Size (fermenter): 6.00 gal   
Estimated OG: 1.032 SG
Estimated Color: 2.3 SRM
Estimated IBU: 0.9 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 72.00 %
Boil Time: 1 Minutes

Amt                   Name                                     Type          #        %/IBU         
3 lbs 8.0 oz          Pilsen Malt 2-Row (Briess) (1.0 SRM)     Grain         1        50.0 %        
3 lbs 8.0 oz          White Wheat Malt (2.4 SRM)               Grain         2        50.0 %        
1.00 oz               Revolution [3.60 %] - Mash 10.0 min      Hop           3        0.9 IBUs      
1.0 pkg               Lactobacillus Bacteria                   Yeast         4        -             

Mash Schedule: Decoction Mash, Single
Total Grain Weight: 7 lbs
Name              Description                                Step Temperat Step Time     
Protein Rest      Add 16.00 qt of water at 102.2 F           100.0 F       20 min        
Saccharification  Decoct 8.12 qt of mash and boil it         150.0 F       45 min        

Sparge: Batch sparge with 2 steps (0.45gal, 3.41gal) of 168.0 F water

Sept 20, 2014:

Late night brew. Things went pretty smooth in that I hit my temps and volumes. Sparge 
runoff got a little sticky, and I didn't use any Rice hulls for filtering, as I usually photo (9)
don't use rice hulls. 
Six gallons total - OG-1.031 
Collected into two 3 gallon fermenters. Did not aerate as Lactobacillus is a facultative 
anaerob, and I am certain there is some Acetobacter in the mix, so I want to limit its 
progression as much as possible.
Sept 21, 2014: 
Less than 24 hours after adding Sauerkraut dregs to each carboy, visable fermentation 
taking place. The Red Cabbage/Ginger portion took off a little quicker, but the Caraway 
was not far behind.


The Gozerian

One thing about this blistering hot summer that I am grateful for is my new found love/appreciation for German, wheat-based, sour beers. I’m looking at you Berliner Weisse and Gose. I feel like these styles of sour beers are more approachable for novice sour beer drinkers, but also have a rich history that gets my goat pretty good.

I will soon have a post regarding Berliner Weisse, but for right now, that is none of your business, for today….

Gose (Goes-uh), a style of sour, wheat-based, top-fermented ale from Germany. The sour character of Gose was very similar to that of Berliner Weisse, a tart lactic sourness from lactic acid producing bacteria. The thing(s) that set Gose apart from Berliner Weisse are the additions of coriander and salt. Originally, the salty notes in the beer were likely a symptom of the brewing water used. Now, usually when I tell folks that it has a salty note to it, I can see their minds going straight to a salt lick or something. Rest assured, the saltiness is much more subdued, and plays nicely with a bit of coriander, and the lactic acidity.

When I started running ideas in my head for brewing a Gose, I wanted something that was both sour (with that slight saltiness), but also with hints of some sharper fruits. I finally landed Brettanomyces Brux Trois as a co-fermenter, as I hear this strain of brett can give some unique fruit character to a beer, and it also does well as a primary fermenter (foreshadowing…oooooh!).

My plan for this beer is a little bit of an old-school style of souring a low alcohol wheat based beer. I would brew a total of 7 gals, split it up into two 3-gallon fermenters, and one 1-gallon fermenter. In one 3-gallon caboy, Lactobacillus brevis. In the other, Brett Brux Trois. Finally, with the extra gallon of wort I am pitching a vial of Brett calussenii I have had lying around. My plan is to let each of the microbes do their thing for 1-2 months before blending all three together in secondary to age for a long ass time.

One additional note: I am, for the first time ever, performing a decoction mash because “authentic shit.”


Also, the coriander was taken from my garden. The salt was not.


Recipe Specifications

Batch Size (fermenter): 7.00 gal  
Estimated OG: 1.027 SG
Estimated Color: 1.9 SRM
Estimated IBU: 4.3 IBUs

Amt                   Name                                     Type          #        %/IBU         
4 lbs 12.8 oz         Pilsen Malt 2-Row (Briess) (1.0 SRM)     Grain         1        60.0 %        
3 lbs 3.2 oz          White Wheat Malt (2.4 SRM)               Grain         2        40.0 %        
1.00 oz               Crystal [4.20 %] - Boil 10.0 min         Hop           3        4.3 IBUs      
0.50 oz               Coriander Seed (Boil 5.0 mins)           Spice         4        -             
0.75 oz               Salt (Boil 5.0 mins)                     Water Agent   5        -             
1.0 pkg               Brettanomyces Bruxellensis Trois (White  Yeast         6        -             
1.0 pkg               Lactobacillus Brevis [50.28 ml]          Yeast         7        -             
1.0 pkg               Brettanomyces Claussenii (White Labs #WL Yeast         8        -             

Mash Schedule: Decoction Mash, Single
Total Grain Weight: 8 lbs
Name              Description                                Step Temperat Step Time     
Protein Rest      Add 13.00 qt of water at 126.7 F           122.0 F       35 min        
Saccharification  Decoct 3.44 qt of mash and boil it         142.0 F       15 min        
Mash Step         Add 2.00 qt of water at 207.8 F            150.0 F       45 min        

Sparge: Batch sparge with 3 steps (Drain mash tun , 3.41gal, 3.14gal) of 168.0 F water
Split batch three ways. 

3 Gals get Lacto Brevis
3 Gals get Brett Trois
1 Gals get Brett Claussenii

Aug 14, 2014:

Brew day! For being my first decoction, things went okay. With that being said, I did undershoot my second rest temp, and had to compensate with a couple quarts of boiling water. Michael Dawson of Brewing TV would be very disappointed with me.
Boiled for only 15 minutes, and cooled wort to ~90F. Pitched a 1L Starter of Lacto brevis into one fermenter.  1 Vial of Brett Brux Trois into the second fermenter, and a vial of Brett Claussenii into the thrid.

O.G. – 1.030



Aug 15,  2014:

All three were very active the next morning, approx 18 hours after brew day. Even the two fermenters with Brett, which did not utilize starters. Ambient temperature is approx 80F.



Sept 13, 2014:

Blended the Lactobacillus brevis and Brettanomyces trois portions together into a 5 gallon carboy. Guess I overestimated my volumes a bit, as there was no room to add the Brett claussenii portion. I will have to think of something I can do with one gallon of claussenii beer. Maybe I’ll dry hop it and bottle as is.


I’ll admit it, I am a bit of a sucker for older, out of style, usually no longer brewed styles of beer. There is just something about hearing of a beer that was brewed in the 1600’s or whenever, and is no longer brewed anywhere, commercially, that makes me want to brew it. Especially if its a smoked beer.

One such style comes from the land of Poland. Grodziskie, as it is called,  was last brewed commercially in 1993, but had been a popular style throughout Poland for hundreds of years before this. I first heard of this particular style on the Beer Smith Podcast here . This beer was relatively small, not much more than 3.5 – 4.0% ABV, and  was made with 100% wheat, which was smoked with oak wood. It was light, dry, smokey, with a moderate hopping rate in proportion with its size. Pretty much all things up my alley. Grodziskie was originally named after a town in Western Poland, Grodzisk Wielkopolski, and has seen a bit of a resurgence amongst homebrewers.

During WWII, after the Germans had occupied Poland, they actually changed the name of  Grodzisk to Grätz, thus changing the name of the beer produced there to Grätzer. Eventually,Grätz was changed back to Grodzisk after the war, and all was right with the world once again.  Now, Grodziskie can go by either name, Grodziskie and/or Gratzer, but I don’t want to support any kind of force-able invasion for ultimate, world-wide power. Grodziskie it is.

For my Grodziskie recipe, I decided to use… you guessed it… Oak-Smoked Wheat. However, I decided to add some malted Spelt in there for a little something “extra”, while still sticking with a wheat-type malt. Spelt is an ancient ancestor of modern wheat. I used Saaz hops, which would have been traditional for the region. German Hallertau, Tettanger, or Polish Lublin hops would also work well if Saaz is not immediately available. For yeast, I had to get a little “interpretive” with things, as I have no way of getting my hands on some Polish Yeast. I decided to go with a Saison strain, which would help dry the beer out, and will hopefully leave some spicy/tart notes in there. This may or may not compliment the smokiness from the malt, we’ll see. Specifically, Wyeast 3711 French Saison.

Recipe Specifications
Batch Size (fermenter): 3.50 gal   
Estimated OG: 1.037 SG
Estimated Color: 3.0 SRM
Estimated IBU: 25.3 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 70.00 %

Amt                   Name                                     Type          #        %/IBU         
4 lbs                 Oak-Smoked Wheat (2.0 SRM)               Grain         1        80.0 %        
1 lbs                 Spelt (3.0 SRM)                          Grain         2        20.0 %        
0.67 oz               Saaz [3.75 %] - First Wort 60.0 min      Hop           3        15.6 IBUs     
0.67 oz               Saaz [3.75 %] - Boil 20.0 min            Hop           4        8.6 IBUs      
0.67 oz               Saaz [3.75 %] - Boil 2.0 min             Hop           5        1.2 IBUs      
1.0 pkg               French Saison (Wyeast Labs #3711) [50.28 Yeast         6        -             

Mash Schedule: Double Infusion, Full Body
Total Grain Weight: 5 lbs
Name              Description                                Step Temperat Step Time     
Acid Rest         Add 5.50 qt of water at 104.6 F            100.0 F       15 min        
Protein Rest      Add 2.73 qt of water at 170.4 F            121.0 F       20 min        
Sacch I           Add 3.00 qt of water at 201.9 F            141.0 F       30 min        
Sacch II          Add 3.00 qt of water at 206.6 F            154.0 F       30 min

Created with BeerSmith 2 –

Brewed: March 15, 2014:

Original Gravity: 1.035
Brew day went suspiciously smooth, and relatively quick. Not sure what the hell happened.
The wort smelled very interesting with the smoke very noticeable, but not overpowering.

March 22, 2014:
Gravity down to 1.008.
Very pale yellow in color, moderate turbidity.
Taste of sample was pleasantly smooth. Having never tasted an oak-smoked beer before, not entirely sure what to be honing in on, but the smoke is light, not overpowering, and more on the back end. I was expecting a little more smokey character, but this is tasty nonetheless. Cannot wait to try this once it has been carbonated and bottle conditioned for a bit.

April 12, 2014: 

Gravity holding steady at 1.008

Bottled with 2.5 oz dextrose for 3.0 vol co2