Why are American homebrewers so obsessed with brewing to style? Who cares that a schwarzbier shouldn't be too roasty? That milds have to be low in alcohol? Or that hefeweizens are brewed with almost no hops? The only question that should matter when you are formulating a beer recipe is "Will I enjoy drinking this?"
American homebrewers sparked the most substantial change the brewing landscape in the last 150 years, since lager brewing generally and Pilsners specifically altered the way beer was brewed and consumed. The revolution homebrewers started 35 years ago has lead not only to the creation of a thriving American craft brewing industry but also similarly booming craft beer production in areas as disparate as Japan, Sweden, and Italy. The rise of homebrewing has also created better educated consumers that have been able to sustain some of the more esoteric breweries in countries like Belgium that wouldn't stay in business without lucrative exports to American beer nerds.
American craft brewers certainly deserve some of the credit (although most of them are former, or even current, homebrewers), but there is little they have popularized that a homebrewer didn't try first (the first bourbon barrel aged beer was made by Chicago area homebrewers according to Radical Brewing). American homebrewers should still be pushing the creative envelope, not ceding creative control of brewing to the professionals.
So I say don't waste your time brewing to style, or copying someone else's recipes (take inspiration and go in your own direction). Try combining flavors and techniques that you think will work to see what happens.
Hopefully you've enjoyed this anti-style post and the previous pro-style one, like many homebrewers I feel the tug both to create/innovate and to refine my attempts at styles that have been slowly built and refined by brewers around the world. I'd certainly love to see more homebrewers experimenting (and I'm not just talking just dumping weird ingredients into your beer), but without having the foundation of classic styles the beer world would be a much blander place.
Hoppy German-American Wheat
Batch Size (Gal): 4.50
Total Grain (Lbs): 8.88
Anticipated OG: 1.056
Anticipated SRM: 4.6
Anticipated IBU: 39.0
Brewhouse Efficiency: 73%
Wort Boil Time: 90 Minutes
47.9% - 4.25 lbs. French Pilsener
47.9% - 4.25 lbs. German Wheat Malt
4.2% - 0.38 lbs. CaraVienne (steeped)
1.25 oz. Perle (Whole, 7.00% AA) @ 60 min.
0.50 oz. Amarillo (Whole, 9.40% AA) @ 5 min.
0.50 oz. Cascade (Whole, 3.50% AA) @ 5 min.
0.50 oz. Amarillo (Whole, 9.40% AA) @ 0 min.
0.50 oz. Cascade (Whole, 3.50% AA) @ 0 min.
1.00 oz. Amarillo (Whole, 9.40% AA) @ Dry Hop
1.00 oz. Cascade (Whole, 3.50% AA) @ Dry Hop
0.40 Tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 12 min.
WYeast 3068 Weihenstephan Weizen
Profile: Carbon Filtered Washington DC
Clove 15 min @ 114 (Infuse)
Protein 10 min @ 125 (Direct)
Sacch I 40 min @ 144 (Direct)
Sacch II 20 min @ 161 (Decoction)
Brewed 7/18/10 by myself
The remainder of the no-sparge runnings from the Hefeweizen mash, plus a gallon of the first runnings transferred over since I didn't leave enough for this half. Added 4 g of gypsum to the wort for the hops. Steeped the CaraVienna in the wort for 30 minutes, then sieved out. Started heating to a boil inside while the hefe finished.
Added aroma hops as I started the chill. Racked onto the extra ~1/2 gallon of wort from the hefeweizen half of the batch.
Chilled to ~85, moved to fridge set to 55. Added 1 cup of wort to the starter and put it in the fridge so it would be the same temp at pitching.
6 hours later I pitched 2 cups of the starter and gave 45 seconds of pure oxygen, returned to the fridge @ 55 degrees.
Good fermentation after 18 hours.
7/22/10 Upped temp to 62 to help fermentation finish out.
7/29/10 Fermentation seems to be complete, krausen has fallen almost completely.
8/1/10 Dropped temp to 34 to drop excess yeast/protein out of solution.
8/12/10 Put into keg, added dry hops, and put into the kegerator to carb.
9/8/10 Turned out very nicely, perfect combo of hops and yeast. I'll have to get my hands on a bottle of Crack'd Wheat to see how mine stacks up.