Red Sonja Gose
Let me tell you about our first ever Gose! (pronounced Go-Za) It’s a sour and salty Gose, an ancient German style of beer, brewed with pale and wheat malt, fermented with lactobacillus and kolsh yeast, and spiced with hibiscus flowers and coriander. This is refreshing enough to quench the thirst of a she-devil with a sword. It’s bright red/dark pink, and so named in honor of the she-devil with a red mullet, who was Conan the Barbarian’s sometimes lady friend. With an alcohol content of 4.5%, a tart flavor profile and high carbonation level, it is sessionable and refreshing!
Krissy (our marketing and events guru), Lindsay (a loyal mug club drinker), and I (a brewer and QA/QC person) brewed this beer for International Women’s Collaboration Brew Day, which is an event put on by the Pink Boots Society. They are a super cool organization that supports women in the brewing industry by offering scholarships for brewing education and a place to network and connect.
I had wanted to brew a Gose ever since I first tasted one. They are bright, sour, saline, refreshing, and so tasty! I also love historical beer styles- they’re interesting and provide a window into the past.
Gose is a 1,000 year old style that hails from Leipzig, Germany. It is named after the river Gose, which ran near the town of Leipzig. The water in that area was naturally saline and mineral rich. The traditional Gose was brewed with this saline water, giving the final product a slightly salty taste. Modern day Gose’s are brewed with intentionally salty water to imitate the famous Leipzig water.
This was our first kettle soured beer! Everything was normal up until the brewkettle. Instead of immediately boiling for 2 hours, we cooled the wort down to ~120 degrees and added ~5 gallons of lactobacillus. (We propagated a small amount of lactobacillus with non-hopped wort and let it grow in a 5 gallon carboy for ~48 hours.) We sealed the brewkettle, added a blanket of CO2, and left the lactobacillus to work for ~24 hours. After that time, the pH dropped significantly. (Lactobacillus is one of the main bugs responsible for souring beer… it produces only lactic acid, so souring a beer with only lactobacillus results in a ‘clean’ sour without any of the other funky notes… it’s slightly less complex than a barrel aged sour that has multiple bugs at work.) Then we boiled the wort to kill the bacteria and to add hops and spices- hibiscus and coriander in this case. We pitched Kolsh yeast into the wort to finish the fermentation.
It turned out better than expected! It is delightful, bright, refreshing, and so drinkable! I don’t know if we will do another kettle soured beer, but I for one, am very happy with the results. Come try one before we run out! And then let me know what you think about it.