Beer Release – Smuttynose Short Batch #7, Redux: Strawberry Short Weiss
Yesterday, during the heat wave, I ventured over to the Smuttynose brewery for the release of the Strawberry Short Weiss — a light, refreshing Berliner Weisse.
I arrived at the brewery approximately at 5:45 to a full parking lot and a line outside the garage door. There was some excitement in the air, but it was nearly squashed by the oppressive heat.
Smuttynose fans were invited to the brewery between 5pm and 7pm to sample the new release and purchase bottles to take home. Bottles were priced $15 each, with a four bottle limit.
While we were waiting to purchase the bottles, we got a chance to sample the Strawberry Short Weiss. Smuttynose describes the beer as “lightly tart, refreshing and incredibly drinkable.” I fully agree! The lingering tartness was unexpected, but appreciated. Paired with fresh strawberries, it was a perfect beer for this hot afternoon.
- Starting Extract: 8 Degrees Plato
- Finishing Extract: 1 Degrees Plato
- 5 IBU 3.7% ABV
- Malts: North American 2-Row, Wheat
- Hops: Saaz (for both First Wort and Whirlpool additions)
- Yeast: WLP-300 Hefeweizen Ale
- Other Ingredients: Natural Strawberry Puree, Lactobacillus
- Batch Size: 27 barrels (30 cases of 750 ml bottles, 121 5.2 gallon kegs)
I am not sure how many bottles were purchased, but their stock seemed low when 7:00 rolled around. What was not sold yesterday will be sold today, during the brewery tour hours….. (while supplies last). If you get a chance to try it, please let us know what you think.
More about Berliner Weisse (from Smuttynose):
As the name implies, this style is indigenous to the German capitol and serves as a sharp contrast to traditional Bavarian weizen beers. Traditional Berliner Weisse are highly carbonated, served in special wide-mouthed, bowl-shaped glasses and are packaged without flavoring. The beer’s light body and tart flavors are the result of a partial lactic fermentation. The lactobacilli consume a portion of the wort sugars, creating lactic acid. This accounts for the tartness and lightness of body, since the bacteria can consume sugars that brewers yeast can’t. We’ve chosen to add strawberries to our beer as a nod to the Berliner custom of offering a shot (mit Schuss) of either raspberry or woodruff syrup to the glass of beer.
So, why are we calling this a redux?
Our first Berliner Weiss was brewed in the winter of 2008 just as the “ice storm of the century” glazed a very large portion of the Northeast. New Hampshire was hit particularly hard, with 400,000 customers losing power, including Smuttynose. Our plan for the beer was to divide the batch in two, a small lactic fermentation and a large, traditional yeast fermentation that would then be blended back together. Thanks to poor timing, we lost power right as the yeast batch was at the peak of fermentation, causing a massive temperature spike which filled the beer with headache-inducing fusel alcohols. The large yeast portion had to be dumped, leaving only seven or so barrels of bacterial ferment. Running a clever bootleg, our brewers added a healthy slug of ale yeast to complete the fermentation while bags and bags of organic strawberries followed a few weeks later. The batch was kegged off and distributed with little fanfare.
When our packaging manager asked about revisiting this for his wedding beer (Congratulations, Chris and Emily!), everyone who remembered the first batch got really excited. We hope you’ll get to try it and see why.