Sour and salty, gose is a unique style of beer. The unconventional flavor profile comes together for an ultra refreshing and satiating experience.
Homebrewing gose is a fun and creative process. Kettle souring, then flavoring with hops, coriander, and salt leaves tons of room for your own twists. Add fruits, spices, or herbs to develop your own unique flavored gose. Let your inspiration and creativity guide you.
We’ll take you through all you need to know to brew your first gose. Follow our tips and tricks to get started exploring this exciting German ale.
Gose is a sour wheat beer brewed with coriander seed and salt. Usually between 4-5% ABV, very pale in color, and highly carbonated, this style is brewed to be extremely refreshing. Large quantities of wheat make up the grist for a soft body with a cloudy appearance. The dry finish and salinity help balance the light lactic acidity.
The style originated in the 10th century in Goslar, Germany. The high salt content in the local water supply added a natural salinity to the region’s beer. Open fermented, natural lactobacillus soured the beer, creating a pleasant lemony tartness. To accentuate this lactic citrus note, coriander seed was added to the boil, giving a herbal touch and roundness.
Similar to Berliner weisse, but a bit less sour, the salinity and citrusy coriander seed set gose distinctly apart. A slightly higher alcohol content and bitterness further distinguish gose as a unique style.
These days, brewers add salt during the boil to replicate the traditional saltiness. On top of that, the majority of commercial gose is kettle soured. This process gives gose its required acidity while being easy for brewers to control.
Modern interpretations of the style range from traditional to eccentric. Since gose is a unique flavor profile to begin with, creative brewers play around with it, adding fruits and flavorings to set their beers apart.
Check out our selection of the best gose beer to get inspired and discover some of the world’s tastiest interpretations of the style.
Brewing a great tasting gose is straightforward, but does require a few extra steps compared to a typical ale. Kettle souring demands some specific attention to detail and adds a day or two to the brewing process.
Kettle souring allows for a quick turn-around and eliminates the concern for cross contamination. Most homebrewers use this technique for brewing gose as it’s fast, simple, and consistent.
The traditional souring method is to co-ferment with lactobacillus and yeast to make a more expressive flavor profile. This takes longer and requires dedicated sour beer fermenters. On top of that, since gose has a lot of added flavor from the salt and coriander, most of the yeast expression gets hidden. For this reason, we recommend sticking to a kettle sour when homebrewing gose.
Follow our general guide on kettle souring for further details on the souring process. For gose, here are the steps you need to know.
- Mash for 60 minutes at 150F. Sparge the full volume into your kettle.
- Boil the wort for 10-15 minutes to pasteurize.
- Chill the wort to 90F.
- Pre-acidify the wort to a pH of 4.2 with lactic acid to help with the souring process and with head retention.
- Pitch the lactobacillus.
- Purge the kettle’s headspace with CO2, if you can. Seal the kettle with plastic wrap and cover with the lid.
- Insulate the kettle and hold at 90F for 12 to 36 hours.
- Check the pH after 12 hours of souring. Repeat until a final pH of 3.5 is reached.
- Bring the wort to boil.
- Add boil hops for an IBU of 10 to 15.
- Add crushed coriander seed and salt with 10 minutes left in the boil.
- Chill to 68F.
- Transfer to the fermenter.
- Pitch the yeast.
- Ferment at 68F for 1 to 2 weeks or until FG is stable.
- Carbonate in a keg or bottle condition to 2.6 to 3.0 volumes of CO2.
Salt is added at the end of the boil, with about 10 minutes left. There are many different types of salts available. Sea salt is the most common salt used for gose brewing. Depending on where you live, the variety of sea salt available can be large. If it tastes good on food, it should work well in gose.
Himalayan salt is also a very common choice among brewers. The pink color, due to mineral impurities, does not impart a color change in beer. The flavor is nice, though, and perfect for gose.
Avoid table salts with added iodine or anti-caking agents as they contribute to a harsher salinity and chemical flavor.
Whichever salt you choose, add it to the last 10 minutes of the boil at about ¼ to ½ oz per 5 gallons of wort.
Coriander seed is the seed or fruit of the coriander plant. Not to be confused with coriander leaf – the green leafy herb used in Mexican and Asian cuisine – coriander seed is a spice used in a variety of foods. The spice has a sweet and aromatic taste with a hint of lemony citrus.
Brewers use coriander seed to compliment yeast expression in gose and Belgian witbier. Sweet and fruity, the flavor contribution harmonizes with the lemony and bright character of wheat beers.
We recommend using Indian coriander seed. It has an oblong shape compared to typical coriander seed. WIth a brighter and cleaner lemony profile, it blends exceptionally well with the gose style. Normal coriander with a spherical shape is a good alternative in case you can’t source Indian coriander.
Gently crush the seed in a mortar and pestle or inside a ziplock back with a rolling pin. It doesn’t need to be pulverised. Simply cracking the shell is enough to extract the flavor in the boil.
Crushed coriander seed should be added to the last 10 minutes of the boil at a rate of ¼ to ½ oz per 5 gallons of wort.
Gose is always brewed with wheat. A ratio of 50/50 wheat to pilsner malt is a great target. The wheat contributes a subtle grainy flavor and is protein rich, adding body and a hazy appearance. The pilsner malt keeps the color very pale and adds a refreshing crispness. The resulting color should be pale, bright, and slightly hazy.
Keep the mashing schedule simple. A single infusion rest at 150F will produce a highly fermentable wort but with enough residual sugars to add a bit of body and balance. Aim for an original gravity of 1.040 to 1.045. The beer should finish with a final gravity of 1.008 to 1.010.
Extract brewers should choose wheat malt extract. Dextrin malt, like CaraPils, can be steeped to help boost mouthfeel and add some fresh malt flavor.
Gose has a subtle bitterness from boil hop additions of Noble-type varietals. Stick to hops like Saaz or Hallertau Mittelfrüh for a traditional take. But since there are no late hop additions, you can get away with using any lower alpha acid hop. Aim for 10 to 15 IBUs using hops with less than 6% alpha acid.
Souring gose is done by lactobacillus. Typical strains are lactobacillus delbrueckii and lactobacillus plantarum for their clean lactic sourness. For homebrewers looking for efficient and consistent souring, use lactobacillus plantarum. It’s relatively easy to find and it’s pain-free to use for a nice, clean sourness, batch after batch.
Probiotic drink brand GoodBelly produces amazing, fresh lactobacillus plantarum products. Use 1 or 2 GoodBelly Straight Shots per 5 gallons of wort, or about a third of one of their 32oz cartons. Don’t worry about the fruit flavoring, it’s not enough to come through in the finished beer.
Commercial yeast labs also offer great lactobacillus products like White Labs WLP677 or Wyeast 5335. These strains can be great for quick and clean gose souring.
For the brewers yeast, use a clean fermenting German ale strain. White Labs WLP029, Wyeast 1007, or Safale K97 are all great yeasts.
For both the lactobacillus and ale yeast, a starter is recommended. If you’re using GoodBelly lactobacillus, however, you can get by with pitching this directly into the wort.
Brewing water should be neutral for gose. Don’t worry about replicating the salty water of Goslar – you’ll be adding the salt component to the boil.
Chlorine, calcium, and sulfates should all be well below 100ppm. Avoid any chloramine off-flavors by making sure to use bottled or carbon filtered water. With such a light beer, you want to be sure you’re brewing with great tasting water. Any off-flavor from water will come through in the final beer.
Adding fruit to gose is always a great idea to create some interesting and funky flavors. Almost any fruit will compliment the light sourness of the beer. Traditional fruits, like apricot, raspberry, and cherries, work exceptionally well. Tropical fruits like mango, passionfruit, and guava are also great candidates.
Fruit can be added to a secondary fermenter and the fully fermented gose should be carefully racked on top. Add about 1 to 2 pounds of fruit per gallon of beer. Fruit should be mashed and pasteurized by heating to 160°F for about 15 minutes prior to using. This step avoids potential contamination in the fermenter.
Leave the beer on the fruit for at least 1 week, or until the gravity is stable.
Since gose is a very flavorful and culinary-like base beer, you can get very experimental with flavor additions. Consider the following ideas, but feel free to come up with your own unique flavor combinations.
- Hibiscus: Dried hibiscus flowers impart a tangy, berry-like sweetness to beer. On top of that, the flowers contribute to a beautiful pink color. In gose, add between 3 and 5 ounces of dried hibiscus at flameout.
- Lemon, Lime, or Grapefruit Peel: Citrus peel brings bright fruity character to beer which highlights the lemony lactic acidity of gose. You can add 1 to 2 ounces of freshly zested citrus peel to the end of the boil.
- Herbs: Basil, lemongrass, or rosemary can add a delicious herbaceous character to gose. The salty and sour base beer brightens up the herbs and brings forth some interesting flavors. Don’t be too heavy handed, however, or the beer could come out vegetal tasting. Use 1 or 2 ounces of fresh herbs at the end of the boil.
Try out this bright pink take on a classic gose. This recipe considers 70% brewhouse efficiency. Adjust as needed to suit your system. Final Volume Original Gravity Final Gravity ABV IBU SRM 5 Gallons 1.045 1.008 4.9% 10 3
For extract brewers, use 5.5 pounds of wheat dry malt extract and steep half a pound of CaraPils for some extra body.
Crushed Indian Coriander Seed
- Lactobacillus: 2 x GoodBelly Straight Shots (lactobacillus plantarum)
- Yeast: Healthy starter of WLP029, Wyeast 1007, or Safale K97
- Mash with a single infusion rest at 150F for 60 minutes. Sparge the full volume into the kettle.
- Bring the wort to a boil for 15 minutes.
- Chill to 85F.
- Lower mash pH to 4.2 using food grade lactic acid.
- Pitch the lactobacillus into the kettle.
- Purge the headspace with CO2 and seal the kettle with plastic wrap.
- Insulate the kettle and maintain a temperature of 85F.
- Kettle sour for 12 to 36 hours, until a pH of 3.5 is reached.
- Bring the wort to a boil.
- Add boil hop addition and boil for 20 minutes.
- Add sea salt and crushed coriander and boil for 10 more minutes.
- Turn off the heat and add the hibiscus. Let steep for 20 minutes.
- Chill to 68F.
- Transfer the wort to the fermenter, keeping the coriander, hops, and hibiscus in the kettle.
- Pitch yeast into oxygenated wort and ferment at 68F for 2 weeks, or until gravity is stable, around 1.008.
- Keg or bottle condition your gose to 2.6 to 3.0 volumes of CO2.
As one of the most refreshing styles, gose is always a crowd pleasing homebrew. You can keep it traditional and brew a straightforward salty-sour crusher. Or consider adding some fruit or other flavors to spice things up. Either way, you might be surprised at how quickly you’ll go through 5 gallons of gose in the summer heat!
If you’re brewing your first gose, use moderation when adding the coriander seed and, especially, the salt. Adjust to your taste as needed in future batches and you’ll hone in on the ultimate refreshing brew.
Frequently Asked Questions
Some homebrew recipes suggest making the gose sour by adding lactic acid at packaging. This method will surely make a beer sour, but with less complexity and roundness than a kettle soured version. We strongly recommend kettle souring your gose, if possible.
If you don’t have the means to kettle sour and want to try adding lactic acid, follow all the steps we’ve outlined above aside from the souring process. When fermentation is over, pull a pint-size sample of your gose and add lactic acid to taste. It won’t take much: add 1ml, taste, and adjust as needed. Once the desired level of acidity is reached, scale up the lactic acid addition to the full volume of your beer and blend it in when packaging.
Unfortunately, as with food, over-salting is nearly irreparable. If you find yourself with a very salty gose, the best you can do is to blend it with another beer. If you bottled the beer, you can blend it in the glass with a standard wheat beer. If it’s still in the fermenter or if it’s kegged, transfer a portion of the gose to a clean keg and blend to taste with another beer.