Berliner Weisse

Glassware: Goblet
  • Germany
  • Mixed Ferm
  • ABV = 2.8 – 3.8% (Lower)^
  • IBU = 3-8
  • SRM = 2-3
A low strength, straw-coloured, wheat-based German mixed fermentation beer with a clean lactic sourness.

Compared to Gueuze, has a clean lactic sourness with restrained Brettanomyces funk, if present at all. Also lower in alcohol content.

Appearance:

  • Colour^ = Straw
  • Clarity = Clear to slightly hazy

Key Aromas & Flavours:

Aroma
  • Malt = Low; uncooked bread dough, suggestive of sourdough bread
  • Yeast + Bacteria = Moderate; lemon or tart apple / Moderate; sharp acidity
  • Hops = None
  • Other = (Optional: a restrained funky Brettanomyces character)
Flavour
  • Malt = Low; bready, doughy, grainy wheat character
  • Yeast + Bacteria = Low; lemon or tart apple / High; clean lactic sourness
  • Hops = None
  • Perceived Bitterness^ = Low
  • Other = (Optional: a restrained funky Brettanomyces character)
  • Balance = Towards acidity, but some malt flavour should be present; acidity, not bitterness, provides the balance
Aftertaste/Finish

Very dry finish

Mouthfeel:

  • Body = Light
  • Carbonation = Very high; effervescent

Characteristic Ingredients/Processes:

  • Malt = 50% wheat malt, plus Pilsner malt
  • Yeast + Bacteria = German ale yeast, Lactobacillus
  • Hops = German hop varietals, very low level
  • Other = (Optional: Brettanomyces)

Historical Development:

A regional specialty of Berlin; referred to by Napoleon’s troops in 1809 as “the Champagne of the North” due to its lively and elegant character. Often served with the addition of a shot of sugar syrup to counter the substantial sourness. Increasingly rare in Germany, but some American craft breweries now regularly produce the style.

German brewing scientists believe that Brettanomyces is essential to get the correct flavour profile, but it is not often used in modern versions.


Commercial Examples:

Berliner Kindl Weisse, Bayerischer Bahnhof Berliner Style Weisse, The Bruery Hottenroth


^Sourced from the Cicerone Certification Program’s International Certified Beer Server Syllabus.
All other information is sourced from the BJCP 2015 Style Guidelines.


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