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Berliner Weisse

Berliner Weisse style beers have a straw colour an ABV between 2.8% and 3.8% and a low bitterness

Berliner Weisse characteristics

Berliner Weisse is a low alcohol German wheat beer. Very pale in color, with a clean sourness—produced by the fermentation with lactobacillus—and a very high carbonation level, aromas are very sour and sometimes fruity. Flavour is sour, funk and quite strong sometimes, with a dry finish and no hop flavours at all. It is generally not as acidic and has a lower ABV than a Lambic.

History

Origins of Berliner Weisse are as hazy as this style can be. Some authors trace the origins to an older beer produced in Hamburg in the 16th century, while others trace it to the Hugenots—French protestants fleeing the French Revolution that learnt how to brew with wild yeast in their way through Flanders. The beer gained a lot of popularity through the years, being labelled by Napoleon as the champagne from the North. Even though the style also lost popularity when commercial lagers became available, the identification in the 1930s of the bacterial strain characteristic to the style Lactobacillus delbrückii was pivotal to help it stay alive.

After WWII, all remaining Berliner Weisse breweries were adquired by Kindl brewery, that from that on redefined the style as a kettle sour with added sweeteners and fruit flavoring.

In the last decade the craft beer revolution has recovered the style, but also some German brewers are trying to recover the original style recipes based in Brettanomyces and Lactobacilus, like Schneeeule, Lemke or Berliner Berg, or following the modern redefinition of the style, like BRLO.