Gose

Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine - - The Mash: Make Your Best -

Gose can be a fan­tas­tic beer. There is, how­ever, a dis­tinct chal­lenge in brew­ing it: salt. Over- or un­der-spic­ing of any beer can present prob­lems, but work­ing with salt in­tro­duces higher stakes. Aim too high, and you end up with an un­drink­able salt bomb. Aim too low, and you can’t regis­ter the salt at all. This recipe will get you right in the ball­park, right out of the gate. Style: If you want a jump­ing-off point for Gose, start with Ber­liner Weisse. Both are low-abv wheat-heavy beers with min­i­mal hop­ping and tart­ness. Gose is a dis­tinct an­i­mal, though. It has its own lengthy his­tory, orig­i­nat­ing in small towns along the Gose River. Some say that the salti­ness was a re­sult of slightly brack­ish well wa­ter, oth­ers that it was added for fla­vor, but in any case, it’s a defin­ing fea­ture of the style. Many Gose brew­eries in and around Leipzig don’t add co­rian­der, though I rec­om­mend it. Where the Leipzigers and I part ways with Amer­i­can in­ter­pre­ta­tions of the style is that theirs are far too sour. A large chunk of Amer­i­can Goses are just spiced Ber­liner Weisse. I think that sharp acid­ity dis­tracts might­ily from the sub­tler fla­vors that should be present in Gose. Sub­tle tart­ness en­hances the fla­vors; blar­ing sour­ness over­shad­ows them. Recipe: The trick in this recipe is in bal­anc­ing the salt, co­rian­der, and acid­ity—but more on that in a minute! Equal amounts of Pil­sner malt and wheat malt will do for the sim­ple grist. I’ll oc­ca­sion­ally bump up the ABV about 0.5 per­cent by adding more wheat, which I spec­u­late can make it eas­ier to smooth out the spe­cialty-in­gre­di­ent fla­vors, but I don’t have proof of it. Hop­ping is all at the top of the boil: add enough Haller­tau to yield 15 IBUS.

Also into the boil will go your salt and your cracked co­rian­der. I find that pink Hi­malayan salt and mor­tar-and-pes­tle cracked co­rian­der do the job very well. I find the coarse-cracked co­rian­der im­parts a softer, more eas­ily con­trolled fla­vor.

In terms of yeast/fer­ment­ing agents, you have two op­tions. First, you can fer­ment it out with Wyeast 1007 (Ger­man Ale) yeast and then ad­just acid­ity with a straight ad­di­tion of lac­tic acid, post-fer­men­ta­tion and prepack­ag­ing. Sec­ond, you can pitch the Ger­man Ale yeast and a com­mer­cial Lac­to­bacil­lus pitch at the same time at the start of fer­men­ta­tion, which should give you a touch of funk in the nose and some light acid­ity, but nowhere near what you’d find in a Ber­liner Weisse. The ad­van­tage of the sec­ond method is that it’s un­likely to go too far with its acid­ity, so you can still ad­just it up­ward with the lac­tic-acid ad­di­tion. The ad­van­tage of the first method is that it’s cheaper and sim­pler, and prob­a­bly more repli­ca­ble. Your call! For what it’s worth, I do ei­ther, de­pend­ing on how much time I have on my hands and whether I hap­pen to have any Lacto in the fridge. Re­sults don’t seem to vary that much (though I’m sure tra­di­tion­al­ists are scream­ing right now that I’m cheat­ing). Process: Mash as usual, per­haps with some rice hulls to pre­vent stick­ing, and run off into the ket­tle. Bring to a short boil—15 min­utes, to­tal. Add your hops at the top of the boil, then the salt and co­rian­der with 10 min­utes to go. Af­ter the boil, chill and pitch, fer­ment­ing at 67°F (19°C) un­til the com­ple­tion of fer­men­ta­tion. At that point, taste and ad­just with food-grade lac­tic acid. Pack­age it up and car­bon­ate to 2.75 vol­umes of Co2—much like the Ber­liner, this should be a highly car­bon­ated, “spritzy” beer!

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