28D. Straight Sour Beer

Intended for beers fermented with Sacch and Lacto, with or without oak aging, produced using any technique (e.g., traditional co-fermentation, quick kettle souring).

Overall Impression

A pale, refreshing, sour beer with a clean lactic sourness. A gentle, pale malt flavor supports the lemony sourness with moderate fruity esters.


Very pale in color. Clarity ranges from clear to somewhat hazy. Large, dense, white head with poor retention. Effervescent.


A sharply sour character is dominant (moderately-high to high). Can have up to a moderately fruity character (often peach, apricot, lemon, or tart apple). No hop aroma. Supportive pale malt dominates, usually biscuity or crackery. Clean fermentation.


Clean lactic sourness dominates and can be quite strong. Some complementary, bready, biscuit, crackery, or grainy flavor is generally noticeable. Hop bitterness is undetectable. Never vinegary or bitingly acidic. Pale fruit character can be moderate including a citrusy-lemony or tart apple fruitiness may be detected. Finish is off-dry to dry. Balance dominated by sourness, but some malt and estery fruit flavor should be present. No hop flavor. Clean.


Light body. Moderate to high carbonation. Never hot, although higher gravity examples can have a warming alcohol character. Crisp acidity.


A stronger version of a Berliner Weisse-type beer with less restrictive grist, and no Brett. This beer style is typically are used as a base for modern beers that are heavily flavored with fruit, spices, sugars, etc. – those should be entered in 28C Wild Specialty Beer.


German brewing scientist, Otto Francke, developed what was to become known as the Francke acidification process which allowed the traditional mixed-culture Berliner Weiss methods to be sped up and more consistent; this is also known as kettle souring. Many modern commercial sour beer examples use this method for rapid production, and as an alternative to complex barrel production.

Characteristic Ingredients

Most or all of the grist is pale, Pils, or wheat malt in any combination. Lightly-kilned malts for more malt depth may be employed. Carapils-type malts can be used for body. Pale sugars can be used to increase gravity without body. No lactose or maltodextrin. May be produced by kettle souring, co-fermentation culture (yeast and LAB), or using specialty yeast that produce lactic acid. No Brett.

Style Comparison

Lower gravity examples can be very much like a Brett-free Berliner Weisse. Compared to a Lambic, is generally not as acidic and has a clean lactic sourness with restrained to below sensory threshold funk. Higher in alcohol content than both.

Vital Statistics


3 - 8


2 - 3


1.048 - 1.065


1.006 - 1.013


4.5% - 7%

Commercial Examples

Rarely found, as this style is typically the base for other Specialty-Type Beers.

Style Attributes

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