Innovation through tradition: Tasting Berliner Weisses

Starkeller
Berliner-Weiße-Kultur e.V.

Berliner-Weiße-Kultur e.V.

Jace Marti from August Schell Brewing Company from New Ulm in Minnesota will talk about his brewery’s commitment to Berliner Weisses and will present some of his Berliner Weisses.

The Noble Star Collection is their ongoing exploration of the Berliner Weisse style of sour beer. The beers are brewed at the main brewery, using a traditional decoction mash and no boil method, the wort is transferred to the Starkeller. For fermenting and ageing sour beers, a new building separate from the brewery was established, the Starkeller, where a mixed culture of yeast, bacteria, and brettanomyces is pitched. The beers are then transferred into one of our 10, original 1936 cypress wood lagering tanks for aging. Over the course of one to two years, these beers will slowly transform over time, developing a refreshing lactic acidity and a fruity, estery bouquet. Once the beers have reached maturation, they are then either packaged or transferred onto fruit for several more months of aging. When the beer is ready, it is then hand-bottled with fresh yeast and priming sugar to bottle condition. Over the course of the next two months, the beer develops a champagne like carbonation in the bottle before it is finally ready to be released. No two sours ever take the same path and they progress at their own pace, which makes this collection of beers so unique.

Starkeller Taproom

The Starkeller is not only a place to ferment and age the mixed-culture Berliner Weisse beers, but doubles as a taproom of August Schell Brewing.

The Starkeller is overflowing with rich history from Schell’s with the focal point being the 1936 Cypress wood lagering tanks that were restored for the purpose of aging sour beer. After prohibition, the brewery purchased wood tanks because they were cheaper than steel tanks and they were in use until 1991 when the brewery made some updates. Since, they were stored away and the introduction of this line of beers presented the opportunity to bring them back to life. The vessels that once aged our Schell’s beers were the perfect solution to age sours because the wood tanks breathe a bit of oxygen whereas steel does not.

Jace Marti brings along a few outstanding examples of the art of Berliner Weisse brewing. This is the first opportunity ever to taste these beers in Germany, and another highlight of the programme accompanying the Berliner Weisse Summit.

To get in the mood for the tasting, just one quote:

“If there is a Champagne of beers, it is definitely Berliner Weisse, with its unusually pale color, sustained small head, intense sparkle and, especially, its fruity acidity… It is the most quenching and refreshing of all beers, and one of the lightest. It is feminine, teasing and complex, with no pretensions to great gravity.”

Michael Jackson: “The New World Guide to Beer” 1988.

Brewery’s description

Ulmer Weisse – an American Weisse. Our take on an obscure style of beer brewed with barley and corn in the traditional Berlin style

Framboise du Nord – a traditional Berliner Weisse style beer aged on raspberries.

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Framboise du Nord:
his beer is near perfection. Pours a brilliant red hue with a nice pink head. Aromas of seedy raspberry jam and lactic tartness. Taste is lightly tart, lightly sour with a light funk. Flavors of raspberry seeds and “fruit on the bottom” yogurt. Really fucken tight. Very dry. Light carbonation. Very tasty and incredible depth from a 3.5% brew. This is an amazing experience.

Paradox black Weiße

Brewery’s description

Lunar Interference – a contradiction a black Berliner Weisse.

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Lunar Interference:
Black and a little transparent. Smells of dark fruit acidity and some dry roasty malt. Tastes of dark fruit, bright tartness, toasty bread and malt, and a wheaty finish. Light body and very drinkable. Nothing ostentatious here, but still outstanding.

Brewery’s description

Basin of Attraction – Berliner Weisse dry hopped with Denali hops

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Basin of Attraction:
750 mL bottle. Pours orange and a little hazy with a big white head that settles quickly. Smells of a grassy hops, wheat, light acidity. Tastes much the same. Bright hops, even though it’s pretty old, light lime acidity, wheat backbone. Dries out and leaves a woody and hoppy aftertaste. Light and easy drinking. Very well-made berliner, as this series always delivers.

Brewery’s description


North Country Brunette – vintage marzen style Berliner Weisse, aged 5 years in the bottle.

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North Country Brunette:
Corked and caged bottle poured a clear reddish amber with a lasting amber head. Aromas of caramel, coffee, tart citrus, earthiness and cocoa. Palate was light bodied and crisp with a dry tart finish. Flavors of caramel, earthiness, sour citrus and coffee with a crisp dry tart lingering earthy citrus finish.

Brunette

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