309. Smuttynose Strawberry Short Weisse

This was the beer release that brought me to the Portsmouth area a few weeks back. While I was there I visited a couple of other breweries; Blue Lobster and Throwback as well as The Thirsty Moose so it was certainly a trip worth taking. This was a limited release beer and I am sure it sold out the evening of the release. I grabbed 4 bottles and shared 3 with others here in Maine. This may be the first Berliner Weissbier that I have reviewed (I cannot think of another). Certainly an interesting style of beer known for its low alcohol content and tart fruit flavor.

As usual Smuttynose did a great job with the style of beer keeping the ABV below 4% and the Strawberries certainly give this one a nice tart finish. Color is pale orange with a slight white head. Aroma seemed more earthy than strawberry, I was expecting something very sweet but it was not there. This beer is a lot more complex than I expected it to be, crisp refreshing start with a tart almost sour finish but still very drinkable.

Smuttynose almost never disappoints and if you can get yourself a bottle of this Short Batch Series I am sure you will enjoy it. 
Pros:
Refreshing and different
Cons: Very limited release
Alcohol Content: 3.7% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): 5
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Brewers Website: Smuttynose
Brewers Description: Smuttynose Strawberry Short Weiss, our take on a Berliner Weisse, is lightly tart, refreshing and incredibly drinkable.  It’s also one of our staff’s most beloved beers.
We’ll be releasing bottles exclusively at Smuttynose on Thursday, August 9 between 5pm and 7pm in our tour nook.  Bottles are $15 each and we’ve chosen a four bottle limit to try and spread the beer around a little better.  Kegs begin shipping on August 20.

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.

Strawberry Short Weiss Vital Stats

Starting Extract: 8˚ Plato
Finishing Extract: 1˚ 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)

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