Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Gose Tasting

Gose, almost clear after 5 weeks in the bottle.Audrey and I brewed a Gose when she came down to DC over Columbus Day last fall, and we bottled it when she was here over her Christmas break.  I tend to make a lot of aggressively sour beers, so it was a nice break to brew something with a bit more restraint (and a quicker turn around).  Sadly I violated my own rule and added 10 IBUs of hops; even with a head start the Lactobacillus didn't produce much sourness (too many IBUs and Lacto can't do its job).

The result is actually pretty close to the only German version I've tried, but it isn't as sour as the Summer Gose that caught our attention at Raccoon Lodge while we were out in Portland last summer.

What Gose Round

Appearance – Nearly clear, honeyed-yellow with just a bit of haze. The simple white head initially pours one inch thick, but quickly falls to a ¼ inch.

Smell – Fruity coriander in the nose with some fresh yeasty bread. It doesn't smell sour per se, but it does have that faintly-off Lacto nose (not sure how else to describe it any better).  I think it may just need another month or two to smooth out, the bottles still have tiny oily pellicles.

Taste – Fresh, clean flavor with wheaty malt and some coriander. The spice is at the right level for me, present, but not enough to obscure the other flavors. The sourness isn't as forceful as we wanted, but it has a slight tartness. The finish is ever so slightly briney, pretty close to what I experience from the Bahnhof version (the sourness is comparable as well).

Mouthfeel – Solid medium body with bubbly carbonation. The CO2 is about halfway between a regular American ale and a German wheat beer.

Drinkability & Notes – Turned out well even though it isn't exactly what we were aiming for. I'm still hoping the sourness might increase a bit as it sits warm in the bottle, but after more than four months since brewing it seems unlikely.  This is a sour that would sell very well in the summertime.  If you want to taste the salt I would probably double the addition.


  1. I've been emailing Jess Caudill @ Wyeast about souring my berliner weisse, and he's actually recommended letting the lactobacillus run for a week before pitching yeast to get the optimal sour level with lacto.

  2. I've actually never had an issue with my Berliners pitching the yeast and Lacto at the same time. Those are no-boil though and have pretty close to 0 IBUs. The issue I have with pitching the Lacto too far in advance is that the pH can drop below the optimal range for the primary yeast which can cause severe off-flavors.

  3. I had a similar issue with my Gose. I'm pretty sure I brewed it around the same time as yours. It's still sitting in the secondary though. I was hoping for more sourness. (Mine was 11 IBUs.)

    I went with numbers out of the Brewing with Wheat book for salt and coriander. The coriander addition was much smaller and the salt much larger. I should've gone closer to your salt addition though. I did 62g for 5 gallons and it is pretty noticeably salty. It'd probably be ok if the sourness was there.

    Better luck to us both next time I guess!

  4. So I just figured I should comment here rather than finding an older more appropriate post, so here we go...

    I love sours; at least those that I've had. I love the gooseberry-esque flavors of the ones I've tried, and their fruity (not too much so), yet little pucker face inducing notes. Sour is my favorite flavor with my childhood memories being full of food science experiment kits involving citric acid and me just consuming the vial of citric acid powder, or seeing how many Warheads I could take at once, etc.

    I know I've had and enjoyed Flemish Reds and Sour Lambics (I think this is right, unfortunately I'm not too familiar with the classifications as the bars don't know much about what they're serving and my friends' assessments mostly being "here have this it's sour."). I've been homebrewing about a year and a half with plenty of batches under my belt and most of them being all-grain, usually in the 6.5 gallon batch size.

    My question does one brew a sour? It's not too documented around the web from what I've seen/come up with, with spatterings of "it has to be 'infected' and sit for 18 months" and the like. I figured you seem like the person to go to and seem like pretty much the master of sour beer brewing. Where do I start, what do I do, how long do these take? I just get a bit overwhelmed looking at all of your entries. Anyway...THANK YOU SO MUCH for just reading (and hopefully responding to this)!! If you prefer, feel free to respond to me by e-mail at [email protected]

    Thanks again!

  5. I did a summary post a bout a year ago with my general thoughts on all of the aspects of brewing sour beer:

    In terms of the styles, with sour beers they are a bit loose, but you might read through the BJCP sour guidelines for a general idea:

    Hope that helps, good luck.

  6. This is the first time I have left a comment on your blog but I have been following it for some time now. I've read your post on sour beers and was curious about your comment that lactobacillus do not do well in beers above 8 IBU. I recently reused a yeast cake that had California V,Brett B., and a the Sour Belgian Mix I all from White Labs. Anyway, without thinking of the lactobacillus I made a 61 IBU beer and put it on the yeast cake. After reading this post I was worried that my beer wouldn't sour at all so I called White Labs. They told me that the lab did not have any data on the effect of IBU on Lactobacillus. Where did you get your information concerning the >8 IBU rule?

  7. The 8 IBU rule is based both on a suggestion in Wild Brews and personal experience. It certainly isn't a hard and fast rule, just a general suggestion.

    In your case the sour mix has Pedio which is IBU tolerant, so your beer shouldn't have an issue souring. That said, I also just don't like the combination of bitter and sour, so its rare that I push a sour beer over 25 IBUs.