Review #81 – Mikkeller Berliner Weiss 86/100
For those of you who have never tried a Berliner Weiss, I highly encourage you to do so, they are fantastically refreshing session beers, and a good example will have extremely low levels of bitterness or none at all, they will be mouth tinglingly tart but not too sour, the alcohol content will be relatively low as will the carbonation, the body will be low to medium with a mild wheat flavour.
The Berliner Weiss will have a low OG, will typically contain upwards of 50% wheat in the mash bill but no quantities are set in stone, this low OG brew usually produces a beer around 2.5-4.0ABV, the beer is then inoculated with a form of lactobacillus bacteria which produces lactic acid which imparts sourness on the beer, the wort is held for a while at a temperature which is favourable to the bacteria to allow it to produce the level of lactic acid that the brewer desires.
At one point, the Berliner Weiss was the most popular beer in Germany, with over 40 breweries producing it in Berlin alone, but like a lot of things its popularity dwindled and now I believe there are only two commercial breweries producing it in Berlin. Thanfully, the style seems to be making a comeback as more craft breweries are experimenting, this particular one from Mikkeller in Denmark I have found to be fantastic, with it’s slight sourness and low alcohol content, it is perfect for a session.
Out of the bottle and into a flute glass, the Drink ‘In Berliner pours the colour of freshly pressed apple juice, producing a very active Champagne like head which fizzes away in the blink of an eye. The beer has a slight haziness to it.
On the nose there is plenty of tangy citrus aromas – yuzu fruit, tangerine, grapefruit and lemon. There are notes of unripe fruits, with a slightly tannic aroma similar to that of crab apples or farmhouse cider. The level of lactic acid on the nose seems quit mild, not as potent as the like of Cantillon.
Straight away on the palate the beer reveals its low body, a sweet wheat backbone, no maltiness at all with a very light and effervescent mouthfeel. The lactic acid is there but it is very subdued, and compliments the beers body and its sweetness quite nicely. The dominant flavours of the beer are of sharp fruit – passionfruit, slightly unripened plums and baking apples, there is also a slight flavour of lemon sherbet. The finish is long and dry, similar to Champagne or a dry wine such as Chardonnay. There is no hop bitterness at all, although I suspect this beer has had a small amount of dry hopping which has contributed to the fruity notes that present themselves on the nose and palate. No alcohol taste at all, this is a very good session beer.