What is the difference between a sour and a Gose?

Answered by Edward Huber

When it comes to the difference between a sour and a Gose, there are a few key factors to consider. Let’s start with the basics – all Goses are sours, but not all sours are Goses.

Sours, as a broad category, encompass a wide range of beer styles that are intentionally tart or acidic. These beers can vary greatly in terms of flavor profile, ingredients, and brewing techniques. Some popular types of sours include Berliner Weisse, Flanders Red Ale, and Lambic.

Now, let’s delve into Gose specifically. Gose is a specific style of sour beer that originated in Germany. It has a long history dating back hundreds of years. What sets Gose apart from other sours is the inclusion of salt during the brewing or fermentation process. This addition of salt gives Gose its distinctive salinity, which sets it apart from other sour beers.

In addition to salt, Goses traditionally also include coriander as a flavoring agent. This herb adds a subtle spiciness and citrusy note to the beer, complementing the tartness and saltiness. However, it’s worth noting that not all modern Goses adhere strictly to the traditional recipe, and some variations may omit the coriander.

Another characteristic of Gose is its low alcohol content. Traditionally, Goses were brewed to be quite sessionable, with an ABV (alcohol by volume) usually around 4-5%. This makes Gose a refreshing and approachable style that is perfect for warm weather or casual drinking occasions.

In terms of flavor, Gose typically exhibits a balanced tartness, with the salt providing a subtle brininess that enhances the overall taste. The coriander adds complexity and a touch of herbal spiciness. Some Goses may also have fruity or citrusy notes, depending on the specific recipe and brewing techniques used.

It’s important to note that while Gose is a sour beer, not all sours will have the same characteristics as a Gose. Other sour styles may have different flavor profiles, ingredients, or brewing methods. For example, a Flanders Red Ale is typically more malt-forward with complex fruity and acidic flavors, while a Berliner Weisse is often lighter and more intensely tart.

Gose is a specific style of sour beer that stands out due to its inclusion of salt during the brewing process. While all Goses are sours, not all sours will have the same characteristics as a Gose. The addition of salt lends a unique salinity to Gose, which is complemented by the traditional use of coriander. So if you’re looking for a sour beer with a bit of brininess, Gose might be the perfect choice for you.