A traditional Gose recipe produces a unique beer with a sour and salty flavor profile, making it an unconventional and refreshing treat for beer enthusiasts. Originating from small towns along the Gose River in Germany, this low-ABV, wheat-heavy beer has minimal hopping and a tartness that sets it apart from other styles like Berliner Weisse.
Designing your own gose recipe is a creative process involving combining ingredients like hops, coriander, and salt, leaving ample room for experimentation and personal touches.
The history of gose dates back centuries, and its distinctive taste comes from a combination of key ingredients that give it a recognizable aroma and flavor. The aroma often consists of malt with a yeasty dough quality, similar to sourdough bread, along with a light fruitiness and a touch of coriander. On the palate, the sourness of a gose should be noticeable, but never sharp, and a subtle hint of saltiness rounds out the overall flavor.
History of Gose
The origins of the first Gose recipe can be traced back more than a thousand years ago to a small town called Goslar in northern central Germany. The beer was probably significantly different from the Gose beer you drink today. The name Gose, pronounced “GO-zuh,” derives from the river that flows through Goslar, called the Gose River.
Goset wasn’t formally recognized as a distinct style until the early 18th century, and there are suggestions that the style might have been known by another name.
In 1824, a master brewer Johann Philipp Ledermann brought the Gose recipe from Goslar to the small village Döllnitz near Halle. He began brewing Gose at Döllnitz Manor, which marked the birth of Ritterguts Gose.
Throughout its history, Gose beer has experienced periods of near extinction. There was a brief rebirth in 1949 on a much smaller scale, but the style died out again in 1966. Another resurrection owes its existence to the passionate efforts of Lothar Goldhahn, who revived the style after coming into ownership of one of Leipzig’s old Gose taverns.
Gose is a historical oddity worth preserving, and you can now enjoy this unique beer style that has survived through centuries of change.
In this section, we will cover the essential components of brewing a Gose beer. We will discuss each ingredient’s purpose and how they contribute to a Gose’s unique sour, salty, and satisfying experience.
For the base malts, you should combine white wheat malt and German Pilsner malt. You can use approximately 4.5 lbs of white wheat malt and 3 lbs of German Pilsner malt in your recipe. Wheat malt provides a light, bready flavor and a smoother mouthfeel, while the German Pilsner malt offers a crisp, clean backbone to the beer.
To achieve the characteristic acidity of a Gose, you will want to include 1.5 lbs of acidulated malt in your mash.
In a Gose, the hop bitterness is kept low, usually around 5-15 IBUs. The hops you typically want to use are Hallertau hops. Aim for about 0.5 oz of Hallertau hops (2.8% AA) added at the beginning of the 60-minute boil to provide subtle bitterness and complementary herbal notes.
The yeast selection is important in producing the desired flavors of a Gose. One option is Wyeast 1007 German Ale yeast for its clean and crisp fermentation profile. Alternatively, Safale US-05 is a reliable American ale yeast that can also create a clean and neutral fermentation.
Both yeasts can help highlight the sour and salty characteristics of the beer without adding unnecessary complexity.
Salt is an essential ingredient in a Gose, giving it its characteristic saltiness. Choose a high-quality sea salt for this purpose to ensure the best flavor. The salt should be added in moderation as to not overpower the other flavors in the beer. Typically, a Gose recipe requires around 0.5 to 1 oz of salt, added during the boil or post-fermentation to taste.
Lastly, coriander provides a spicy, lemony, and herbal flavor to the beer. Use about 1 oz of whole coriander, cracked, added with 10 minutes left in the boil. This will ensure the proper extraction of flavors while not overpowering the other important characteristics of a Gose.
Gose Brewing Process
This Gose brewing process entails four major sub-sections: Mashing, Boiling, Fermentation, and Kettle Souring.
Begin by preparing your grains, ideally with a combination of pilsner malt, wheat malt, and acid malt. Use rice hulls to prevent a stuck sparge, since brewing with wheat can lead to this issue. Heat your strike water to the desired temperature and mix it with the grains to form a grist.
Maintain a stable mash temperature, typically around 150°F (65°C), for about 60 minutes. During this time, enzymes in the malt will convert starches into fermentable sugars. Once mashing is complete, sparge the grains to collect the sweet liquid known as wort.
Bring your wort to a boil and add hops for bitterness and flavor. Goses typically don’t contain a high amount of hops, so aim for around 10-15 IBUs. Boil the wort for 60-90 minutes to concentrate its flavors and achieve the desired original gravity (OG). Keep in mind that a Gose’s OG usually falls between 1.040 and 1.046.
After the boil, quickly cool the wort down to fermentation temperature, around 65-70°F (18-21°C). Once cooled, transfer the wort to your fermentor and pitch a good quality German ale yeast, such as Wyeast Labs #1007. Monitor the fermentation process and check your final gravity (FG) after about two weeks. A Gose’s FG should be between 1.006 and 1.010, with an ABV in the range of 4.0-4.5%.
Before boiling, use a pH meter to measure the wort’s pH. To achieve the desired sourness in your Gose, introduce lactic acid-producing bacteria, like Lactobacillus, to the wort. This technique, known as kettle souring, helps lower the wort’s pH, usually between 3.2 and 3.6. After souring, proceed with the boiling and fermentation process as outlined above.
During the kettle souring step, it’s essential to keep the wort at a stable temperature of 95-100°F (35-38°C), as Lactobacillus thrives in this range. Monitor the pH levels of the wort to ensure proper sourness. Additionally, add salt and coriander near the end of the boiling process to bring out Gose’s distinct traditional flavors.
Souring techniques in brewing Gose can significantly affect the flavor profile and sourness of the final product. Here, we’ll discuss two popular methods: Lactobacillus Fermentation and Lactic Acid Addition.
Lactobacillus fermentation is a common method to create sour beers, such as Gose. This process involves co-fermenting with lactobacillus bacteria and yeast to produce lactic acidity, which gives the beer its unique sourness. To start, maintain a 1:1 ratio of Lactobacillus to regular ale yeast during fermentation. You can use strains like Wyeast 5335 or White Labs WLP677 for the lactobacillus and Wyeast 3056, WLP300 for the wheat yeast, or Wyeast 2565, WLP029 for the kölsch yeast.
During fermentation, keep the temperature at 68°F (20°C) for optimal bacterial activity. The lactobacillus will produce lactic acid, which contributes to the beer’s sour character. This method creates a more expressive and complex flavor profile compared to other souring techniques.
Lactic Acid Addition
Lactic acid addition is an alternative to lactobacillus fermentation for producing sour Gose. This approach involves adding lactic acid directly to the wort during the brewing process. You can purchase lactic acid in liquid form from a homebrew supply store.
To use this method:
1) Brew your Gose recipe as usual, omitting the lactobacillus bacteria.
2|) Before the boiling process, take a gravity reading of your wort to ensure it’s within the recipe’s guidelines.
3) Carefully add small increments of lactic acid to taste, ensuring that the sourness level is to your preference.
The advantage of lactic acid addition is that it offers a quicker and cleaner souring process than kettle souring or using lactobacillus bacteria. However, this method may not provide the same depth and complexity of flavors that lactobacillus fermentation offers.
By understanding these two souring techniques, you can choose the method that best suits your desired flavor profile and brewing preferences for your Gose.
After fermenting your gose, it’s time to carbonate the beer. The desired carbonation level for a gose is typically between 2.5 to 3.2 volumes of CO2, which helps enhance the refreshing quality of this style. There are two main methods to achieve proper carbonation: natural bottle conditioning or force carbonation in a keg.
Natural bottle conditioning: To naturally carbonate your gose in bottles, dissolve approximately 2.5 to 3.2 ounces of priming sugar (per 5 gallons of beer) in boiling water. Allow the sugar solution to cool, then gently mix it into your fermented gose in a bottling bucket. Careful not to introduce oxygen during this process, as it can lead to off-flavors.
Once the priming sugar solution is evenly mixed with your gose, it’s time to bottle. Using sanitized bottles and caps, fill each bottle using a bottle filler, leaving about 3/4 to 1 inch of headspace at the top. Seal each bottle with a sanitized cap and gently invert a few times to ensure CO2 dissolves evenly.
Store the bottles at room temperature (about 68°F to 72°F) for 2 to 3 weeks, allowing the gose to naturally carbonate. The yeast in your gose will consume the priming sugar and release CO2, resulting in a carbonated beer. After the carbonation process is complete, store the bottles in a cool, dark place until you are ready to enjoy them.
If you prefer to keg your gose, you will need to force carbonate it using CO2. Start by transferring your fermented gose from the fermenter to a sanitized keg. Connect the CO2 tank to the keg and set the pressure to around 10 to 12 psi. Allow the gose to carbonate at this pressure for 5 to 7 days at around 38°F to 42°F.
To achieve the desired carbonation level between 2.5 to 3.2 volumes of CO2, you may need to adjust the pressure during this process. You can also fine-tune the carbonation by using a carbonation calculator, which takes into account your beer’s temperature and the desired carbonation level.
Once your gose is properly carbonated, whether in bottles or a keg, it’s ready to serve and enjoy. Remember to serve this refreshing beer style at a slightly colder temperature than most ales, typically around 45°F to 50°F, to bring out its unique sour and salty flavors.
Gose Recipes and Variations
To brew a classic Gose recipe, start by mashing a combination of Pilsner malt and Wheat malt, typically using a ratio of 50:50. The wheat adds body and head retention to the brew. The addition of a small amount of Acidulated malt can help you achieve the desired tartness in your Gose.
For hops, keep the bitterness low, aiming for an International Bitterness Unit (IBU) of 10 or less. Boil the wort briefly and then add salt and crushed coriander seeds. The salt not only provides the characteristic saltiness of this style but also balances the sour and spicy aspects.
Use a neutral ale yeast, such as WLP677 Lactobacillus, for fermentation. This will let the acidity of the beer shine and create a thirst-quenching, crispy profile. Once fermentation is complete, carbonate your Gose to your desired level, which generally ranges from medium to high.
Fruited Goses take the classic recipe and add a twist by incorporating fruit. This can be done to balance the tartness and accentuate the flavors of the base beer. Common fruits used in Gose recipes include raspberries, cherries, and passion fruit.
To make a fruited Gose, follow the process for the classic Gose and add your choice of fruit during or after fermentation. Ensure that the fruit is properly sanitized to avoid infection. You can experiment with the amount of fruit added, but make sure not to overpower the other flavors in the beer.
For those looking to push the boundaries of the traditional recipe, experimental Goses can be a blank canvas. They still feature the classic base of Pilsner and Wheat malts, a low IBU, and a crisp, clean finish. But from here, you can play with flavors, acidity, and saltiness to create your own interpretation.
Some inspiration for experimental Goses can come from international beverages such as Lassi, tamarind drinks, or even cocktail-inspired variations, such as a Margarita Gose. You can also experiment with unique ingredients, like seawater for an ocean-inspired saltiness, or using different combinations of sour and bitter flavors.
Remember to stay true to the essentials of the Gose style, such as the sourness, saltiness, and unique aroma, while incorporating new ingredients and techniques. Be bold and adventurous with your brewing, but always keep taste and balance in mind. Happy brewing!
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the key ingredients in a traditional gose?
A traditional gose recipe includes Pilsner malt, wheat malt, coriander, and salt. The unique combination of these ingredients gives the beer its characteristic sour, salty, and spicy flavor profile.
How is a fruited gose recipe different from a regular one?
A fruited gose recipe is a variation of a traditional gose recipe, where fruit is added to the mix to create additional flavors and complexity. The fruit is typically added during the fermentation process, which can contribute to the beer’s overall tartness and sourness.
Which yeast strain is ideal for a gose recipe?
For brewing a gose, choose a yeast strain that tolerates acidic conditions and has low attenuation, such as Lactobacillus brevis or Lactobacillus plantarum. These strains can help create the desirable tart and sour flavor profile.
What makes a gose beer sour?
The sourness in a gose beer comes from the presence of lactic acid, which is produced by lactic acid bacteria like Lactobacillus during fermentation. To achieve the desired level of sourness, you can control the amount of lactic acid present by adjusting the fermentation temperature and time.
How can I create a lime gose?
To create a lime-flavored gose, add fresh lime juice or lime zest during the fermentation process. This can give the beer a refreshing citrus flavor that complements the sour and salty characteristics of a traditional gose.
What is the best method for brewing a gose?
The best method for brewing a gose is the kettle souring technique, where the wort is soured in the kettle prior to boiling. This process involves adding lactic acid bacteria to create the desired sourness, followed by boiling the wort to kill off the bacteria and lock in the flavor. After boiling, add hops, coriander, and salt as per the recipe, and proceed with the fermentation and finishing process as usual.
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