Sunday, October 9, 2011

Sauerkraut Gose - First Batch Review

So I've finally gotten around to opening and reviewing my experimental Gose. Tasting this beer I don't think anyone would even come close to guessing it was fermented with a yeast/bacteria culture from sauerkraut!

Appearance - Hazy golden yellow, very clear pour for the first half of the bottle, all of the haziness came from the bottom half (left lees in bottle though). Next to no head formation though there is light amounts of lacing.

Aroma - Sour nose mostly lactic, though there is a small hint of acetic acid. Maybe slightly lemony, but overall not too strong/complex of an aroma.

Taste - Very wheaty, berliner weisse-esque. Nearly perfect amount of lactic sourness, salt is present and maybe slightly stronger than would be ideal, but it fits the overall taste well. Nice lemony finish.

Mouthfeel - Very slick and luxurious mouthfeel, I'm guessing this has to be bacteria/yeast derived as my berliners never have this mouthfeel and while salt may help Ive never experienced it doing so in this way. Carbonation is moderate and while at first I was worried about it, now I'm quite pleased with the CO2 level. In my b-weiss beers I always feel that the prickliness and Co2 bite take away from the light flavors.

Drinkability - Very high, salt level does knock it down a notch, but that's easy enough to fix in a future batch, and actually when I did the full batch trial I did just that, although maybe not as much as I should have?

Overall - I'm very pleased with this beer! Without a doubt this is going to MY GO TO METHOD for light sour beers like gosebier or b-weiss. The flavor is great, nicely tart and otherwise very clean, honestly its not something I expected and I'll get to see if it will be repeatable with the pickle dregs I used in the full batch.


Jeremy and Marjorie said...

What was the FG on this? Did you get any better AA than the 1 gal? Also, how big of a pitch did you make of the dregs?

This recipe has got me running to the store tomorrow to get some cabbage. Thanks!

Ryan said...

Jeremy - I forgot to take a FG, but Ill pop a bottle when I get home tomorrow and get a reading. This review actually is for the 1gal batch, the full 5gal batch is still in the carboy (moving too slow on things lately) that batch though I'm planning on kegging

As far as grabbing sauerkraut off the shelf, if anything I would suggest getting Bubbies pickles and using the yeast from there, I augmented another small trial batch with that and it worked like a million bucks as well

Jeremy said...

Whoops...I should have seen from the title that this was not the 5 gal batch.

I just finished making 5 lbs of kraut tonight, but I'll look into Bubbies as well.

Any idea where the 5 gal batch is sitting attenuation-wise? I'm just curious what I might expect time-wise. Very, very cool experiment.

Ryan said...

Jeremy - I generally tend to be slow with my beers, this isnt generally for any real reason for it. I will say though that with these two gosebiers I was slightly worried about under-attenuation producing bottle bombs so Ive been a bit slower than usual.

With most sours I like them to go through at least one summer and sit through higher temps before I bottle. My reasoning is that the warmer temps should help the yeast/bacteria culture to really chew through everything it can.

The last reason Ive been a bit slow with the 5gal batch is that it initially developed a thin pellicle, so I decided to let it ride. I will pull a sample this weekend and let you know how its coming.

Ryan said...

Jeremy - I would also suggest using the yeast/bacteria cake from a jar of kraut that never developed the white scum layer on top

Jeremy said...

I'm with you on taking the sours slow. Bottle bombs might be the most depressing thing I have experienced as a brewer.

Thanks for really don't have to, I'm only curious.

Would the reason for avoiding a jar with the white scum be out of fear that bad bacteria are present in the jar? I guess the layer could not be pellicle formation, but what bacteria that forms white mold would you be afraid of?

Last question, hope I'm not annoying. When you put your kraut in jars are you packing them tight and then topping the jar off with the leftover brine or just using the residual brine from the kraut that is in the jar?

Ryan said...

So I avoid the scum layer as in my experience it produces kraut/pickles that dont taste as good. Theres a very distinctive flavor profile from it and I dont want that in my beer.

For the kraut, Im packing it in and topping off with brine. You dont want any kraut near the surface at all or you'll eventually get some sort of mold on top.

Hunington said...

I produce Kraut annually, and still have jars left over from last year's batch, but they have all been heat-processed, so I'm wondering if any culture is still alive. Did you ferment from a heat-processed jar of kraut, or newly jarred unprocessed?

Ryan said...

Hunington - I did not use heat-processed kraut

the heat is there to kill the culture and stop further fermenation

can I ask why you heat them? kraut that is fully fermented out should, in theory, be relatively stable

Cliveroonie said...

Does one need to use separate equipment with lactic fermentation like one does for Brett beers or does the lactic femn/yeast wash out easily?

Ryan said...

Cloveroonie - I do not use any separate equipment for any of my beers, wild, lacto, brett, etc. It all goes into the same fermentors, and through the same racking cane and tubing. As long as you properly clean and sanitize you have nothing to worry about.

Everything around you is currently covered in bacteria/yeast/etc, yet you are still making "clean" beers, and thats due to good sanitization processes

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