X4. Catharina Sour

Overall Impression

A light and refreshing wheat beer with a clean lactic sourness balanced by a fresh fruit addition. The low bitterness, light body, moderate alcohol content, and moderately high carbonation allow the flavor and aroma of the fruit to be the primary focus of the beer. The fruit is often, but not always, tropical in nature.

Aroma

The fruit character should be immediately noticeable and recognizable at a medium to high level. A clean lactic sourness should be detectable at a low to medium level, in support of the fruit. Malt is typically neutral, but can be present at a low level as a supportive grainy or bready character. Clean fermentation character required. No wild or funky yeast notes, no hop character, no sharp alcohol. Spices, Herbs, and Vegetables are allowable, but optional, but should support the fruit.

Appearance

The color can vary based on the fruit used, but is often fairly pale (straw to gold). Clarity can vary from quite clear to hazy, depending on the age and the type of fruit used. Effervescent. The head is medium to high with good retention, and varies from white to shades of color depending on the fruit used.

Flavor

Fresh fruit flavor dominates, from a medium to high level, with a supporting clean lactic sourness (low to medium-high, but always noticeable). The fruit should have a fresh character and not seem cooked, jam-like, or artificial. The malt flavor is often absent, but can provide a low grainy or bready flavor. However, the malt should never compete with the fruit or sourness. Hop bitterness is very low, below sensory threshold. Dry finish with a clean, tart, and fruity aftertaste. Should not have any hop flavor, acetic notes, or diacetyl. Funky Brettanomyces flavors are inappropriate. Spices, Herbs, and Vegetables are allowable, but optional, in support of the fruit.

Mouthfeel

Low to medium-low body. Medium to high carbonation. Alcohol warmth is inappropriate. Acidity is low to medium-high, without being aggressive or astringent.

Comments

If a Berliner Weisse type beer was made with fruit, it should be entered as a Fruit Beer. This beer is stronger and typically features fresh fruit. The kettle souring method allows for fast production of the beer, so this is typically a present-use style. It may be bottled or canned, but it should be consumed while fresh. If any herbs and spices are used, their character should be supportive of, complementary to, and enhance the fruit profile.

History

Originating in the Brazilian state of Santa Catarina in 2015 as a collaboration between craft brewers and homebrewers to create a beer featuring local ingredients that was well-suited to the warm climate. The style has spread to other states within Brazil and elsewhere, and is a popular style both commercially and in homebrew competitions in South America.

Characteristic Ingredients

The grist is typically Pilsner malt and wheat (malted or unmalted), frequently in equal percentages. Kettle souring is the most common technique of production using some strain of Lacto, followed by a neutral ale yeast. Fruit additions post-fermentation are most common, as a fresh and uncooked fruit character is desirable. One or two fruits are most commonly used, and are often tropical types, but any fresh fruit can be used. Spices, Herbs, and Vegetables are allowable, but optional, and shouldn’t overshadow the fruit.

Style Comparison

Like a stronger Berliner Weisse, but with fresh fruit and no Brettanomyces. Less sour than Lambic and Gueuze, and without Brettanomyces character. After 2021, allowable in the Wild Specialty Beer style.

Vital Statistics

IBU

2 – 8

SRM

2 – 6

OG

1.039 – 1.048

FG

1.002 – 1.008

ABV

4.0% – 5.5%

Commercial Examples

Itajahy Catharina Araca Sour, Blumenau Catharina Sour Pêssego, Istepo Goiabêra, Liffey Coroa Real, UNIKA Tangerina Clemenules, Armada Daenerys

Style Attributes