On the 9th of May, we were fortunate enough to have Cal Noble and Mike Harrison-Wood join us from By the Mashtun.
For those that don’t know, By the Mashtun is a fortnightly podcast “by a couple of guys who like to make some beer, talk about beer, and drink some beer”. You can find their podcast on most podcast services and also on their host site, Kaiju FM.
We opened the meet up with a talk from Cal and Mike about Gose. They had, a little earlier in the year, made an episode on the style and had also at that time teamed up with The Malt Miller. This pairing means you can find their recipes from episode 20 (The Gose) onwards here.
During the talk, Cal informed the group a bit about the style and about how they made the beer. Gose originated in Goslar Germany. It is renowned for having both a sour and salty flavour profile which is usually found by fermenting with lactobacillus and the naturally salty waters of the Gose River in Goslar, which is also where the styles name comes from. However, the style grew in popularity in Leipzig, east Germany which ended up becoming the “Gose capital”. Although the style briefly disappeared shortly after WWII, it regained popularity and continues to be brewed in Leipzig to this day.
As the water in Leipzig (or anywhere else now making Gose) isn’t as saline as the Goslar they add the salt directly, usually using rock or sea salts to do so. Traditionally in Germany, the citrus flavour wasn’t from the addition of any fruit but instead crushed coriander seeds which give a lemony, citrusy aroma and flavour. In more recent examples of the style however, people use a variety of different fruits.
The Gose that Cal and Mike had made was a Margarita Gose. Aiming for the saltiness you would get from around the rim of the glass and using a tequila and lime tincture to add the citrusy sourness and the bite you would expect from a Margherita.
The malt bill was fairly standard for a Gose, 50% wheat malt, some pilsner malt and because they didn’t wish to use live bacteria (Lactobacillus) they used acidulated malt instead.
Acidulated malt is malt that has been subjected to a lactic acid fermentation after kilning and a second finishing drying cycle. The lactic-acid bacteria reside naturally in the malt. The use of acidulated malt is usually to reduce the pH of the mash (usually if you have hard water and don’t do treatment or add lactic acid) but in this case, it is to reduce the pH of the wort itself. To do this they mashed in the wheat and pilsner malts for 60 minutes and then added the acidulated malt and mashed for a further 60 minutes. If the acidulated malt is added too early then it can reduce the pH of the mash below the range which amylase enzymes like to work in so you won’t produce as many fermentable sugars and end up with a poor yield.
Cal explained that to get the lime flavour into the beer he used a tincture of 100ml of gold tequila and the zests of two limes. The term tincture in brewing is a slight twist on its origin meaning “a medicine made by dissolving a drug in alcohol”. In brewing, it is an ingredient that we soak in alcohol to get it to impart its flavourings.
The tincture was left for 3 weeks at room temperature. At the end of the 3 weeks, it had a very potent “limey” flavour and aroma and so he dosed the wort with this just a bit at a time at the time of bottling to taste.
The first beer we tried during the talk was one of Daren’s creations. A delicious passion fruit and mango Gose. Slightly lively on the tongue but full of flavour and the right mix of salt and sour.
We were able to try some of the Gose that Kal and Mike had brewed and also tried some commercial examples of the style too during the course of the meetup. In more modern versions of the style, brewers have been known to use all sorts of fruits from passion fruit & mango to lychees & limes.
First up was Ruben’s Brews Gose. The only example Daren could track down that didn’t have fruit in it. It was a decent example with good balance all round.
Then we had Mothership’s Watermelon Gose with foraged Sea Salt. The watermelon was strong on the nose but less so on the palate.
Next up was Red Jungle Foul by Double Barreled Brewery. This is the first beer I’ve ever come across using beetroot powder. Strangely it didn’t seem to have too much beetroot flavour in but the raspberries came through.
Our final commercial Gose was the Collective Arts Brewing’s Guava Gose. We all fessed up to never actually eating guava so weren’t sure what we were meant to find on that point, however, there was no sourness to it at all so I didn’t rate highly for the style but was pleasant to drink nonetheless.
After the talk, we tried two homebrews. One of which was my Rye IPA which got some very positive feedback and admittedly I need to ensure I cold crash on the new system (being the first brew on my new kit it had slipped my mind trying to ensure it was packaged correctly, etc) so it wasn’t quite as clear as it could be (for the style that is).
The last beer of the night and another homebrew from a newcomer called Matt. He brewed an Imperial Porter with Hazelnut. And my oh my was it a delight. Excellent mouthfeel and flavour.