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How does a real Berliner Weisse taste like?

I found this interesting article yesterday, which explain why this list is a total non-sense.

“The second wave of American craft brewers came to Berlin, and they wanted to experience Berliner weisse,” Martin says. “Some of them came to Berlin. They came here, and Berliner weisse was a style that was known. But there was no real Berliner weisse left. The only weisse that was left was the Kindl sour. And everybody thought this kettle sour with the artificial flavors was the real thing, and it’s not. Everybody thinks Berliner weisse is a kettle sour with some fruity shit in it, and this is totally not true.”

The beers of Schneeeule, and other local revivalists such as Berliner Berg and Lemke, are not simple kettle sours. These are the complex creations of mixed fermentation, which must include Brettanomyces, and tend to be softly tart rather than sharply sour—and thus they tend to be quite drinkable.

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Why would it make sense? We aren’t rating to style here.

At least none of the Other Half Granola Crunchees are on this list! Or anything by 450 North… we ain’t even allowed to rate the Joos series from The Answer.

Germans. If they knew how to brew those styles wouldn’t need saving.

Actually list explains why that article is total BS.

Authentic. Now there is a heavy word. What does it mean in this context?

Marketing. Maybe some other things, but definitely marketing.

Well, living in Berlin and having access to those beers I can tell you it’s not marketing and no BS. I had the chance to try a BW from 1978 ( long before the craft beer revolution started) and had nothing to do with the beers we consider BW today.

We are free to enjoy a kettle sour with papaya peach and mango if we want to, but it’s worth knowing that actually, traditional Berliner Weisse from Berlin are something else.

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I’ve been to Lemke an tasting handfull of their beers I have reservations towards their beer quality. Also have tried BB bweisse and It’s average at best. And that brewery does make a lot of fruited bweisses.

Now lets move to the list. I’ll just copy several descriptions and you can tell me if that sounds like Berliner Kindl

Berliner Messe is spontaneously fermented pale wheat beer inspired by the Berliner Weisse of Germany, the meertsbier of Belgium, the choral works of Arvo Part, and early aeronautics. Turbid mashed, coolship cooled, brewed with aged hops and a high proportion of raw wheat, then spontaneously fermented and aged for months in oak barrels.

This Berliner Weisse inspired Wheat beer was aged in 1700 gal French Oak horizontal foeders for 8 months.

Our Berliner Style Weisse is brewed using a traditional 3 part decoction using the thin part of the mash in each decoction. The hops are added and boiled during the decoction process. Unboiled, the beer then sits in the coolship overnight. The next day it is transferred to the tank and pitched with some house yeast making this a semi spontaneously fermented ale.

The second version of the beer, which was released starting in Feb 2015 (draught) and July 2015 (bottles) was partially acidified then primary fermented with multiple strains of brett before being transferred to tequila barrels containing brett and lactic acid bacteria for 9-12 months of aging.

I definitely support what @rauchbierlover is saying and fully support Schneeeules efforts on what a real Berliner Weisse is.

Yet beer evolved a lot in general over the last 100years as well. An IPA nowadays is different then it was back in old England. Most beers had a subtle smoke note because of drying the malt over fire. And more…

This case is yet more specific as the style didnt evolve over time it was technically „forced“ by Kindl with buying up all the remaining traditional breweries that survived WW2 and then transforming the style in to a more mass product capable way. The term Berliner Weisse is not protected like Kölsch for example so it’s actually okay to call these beers Berliner Weisse as that’s what american craft brewers identififed as the style. Yet what a few number of people are trying to educate on is that the proper style is totally different. No one is saying these beers are worse or wrong or anything. It is just a way of perception and acknowledging the history of a product.
Take Lambic and American Wild Ale for an example as it is an example on how to differentiate on the historic way and the more modern way. To Lambic a similiar progress happened as to Berliner Weisse. It was nearly extinguished in the 80s and the market flooded by artificial fruited versions of it. Yet they achieved sort of a reincarnation and nowadays true Lambic is recognized as one of the most hyped niche-styles. A similiar progress that should happen to true Berliner Weisse as well.

I differentiate 4 styles of Berliner Weisse:

  1. as true to the original as possible including Brettanomyces

  2. the Kindl style, mass produced, sugary sweet, artificially colored

  3. the kettle sour recreation close to the original without brett (take Berlin based BRLOs variant as an example)

  4. the modern Berliner Weisse. Kettle soured and with all kind of additions from fruit puree to lactose.

I support the initiatives of rerecognizing the true Berliner Weisse including Brettanomyces. Not only from a technical brewing pov but also from taste they are totally different than most of the modern interpretations.
If you read the article you should at least get a feeling for it and not ignore the historic facts behind it.

I can really recommend the podcast from Milk The Funk with German Berliner Weisse researcher Benedikt Koch aka Wilder Wald:

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@Iznogud

with your answer you are implying that rauchbierlover says Kindl is the right BW (it’s not)? Or how do i need to understand you comparing the descriptions to Kindl?

Listen to the podcast i linked in my answer before to understand why it’s been difficult to recreate the historic recipes of traditional BW. Then you might understand that Lemkes or Berliner Bergs Weisse are good recreations of the true historic style. You are saying they are average at best, what are you comparing them with?
And to the fruited versions of BB: yes but they use natural fruit not artificial stuff like Kindl. And they do it with their Berliner Weisse with Brettanomyces. So this is a modern Interpretation of a historic style in my eyes.

Your linked descriptions partially state „inspired by“ and that’s exactly defining the craft beer world today. With our possibilities we are way beyond style categories and blend and mix them up a lot. A factor we all love.
The quintessence of this discussion is in my eyes that people and breweries at least should understand and recognize what the style Berliner Weisse historically is and clearly differentiate their modern products. But still way to less people know about this history at all.

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I would say Schneeeule is modern as well - I don’t think any brewery historically used habaneros and ginger in Berlin. But then again, historically Lambic breweries did not use bilberries and cloudberries either :slight_smile:

I would also take most of their stuff over any of the “crafty” Berliners any day to drink full pints of. And as anyone who knows me knows, I love my papaya guava maracuja lemonades, so this is not a statement I make easily.

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Of course they do that as well (but based on the historic approach of a BW base). For the general debate I was referring to the base style. For Schneeeule that would be the Marlene.

I’m saying article is saying berliners other than Lemke & co are shitty Kindl style.

Rauchbierlover says that’s why RB list is BS.

I’m saying beers on RB list are way more serious, complex and simply better than Kindl (and better than OG if you ask me, but I understand that’s debatable). They may not be the perfect recreation of the original style, but who would want to live in a world where every beer is just that?

There is also the problem that historical ales are seen by modern drinkers (those who discovered craft beer 3 years ago) as old fashioned, not ‘craft’ and therefore inferior to modern beer. They are eschewed in favour of buzz breweries, whose interpretations of key styles like berliner weisse are seen as gospel. And old versions tasteless and insipid.

That was just irony. My bad it was not seen as such.

I said indeed

And tbh, I do not like that much Schneeeule, but I love Lemke and Berliner Berg

Ah didn’t get it, sorry.





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