Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Traditional Hefeweizen

Here is a recipe and tasting of a pretty low gravity hefeweizen I brewed a month ago. It is one of the fasted beer styles from mash tun to glass so I thought it was a good one to brew near the start of the brewing season (even though it isn't exactly a classic cold weather beer because it is so light and drinkable).

I decided to taste it very young because hefeweizens are supposed to be best as fresh as possible (because of the low alcohol and hopping). After tasting it I think it may still be a bit too young, but I will revisit it again sooner than I would for most of my big/funky beers.

The recipe is very simple just two malts (wheat and pilsener) and one hop (spalt). The main character of the beer, classically a combination of banana and clove, comes from the yeast. For this beer I lowered the fermentation temperature to 62, this is below what many people suggest, but I wanted to make sure the isoamyl acetate (an ester that not only smells like banana, but is actually found in bananas) didn't get out of control. I also added a short mash rest at 113 to free more ferulic acid which the yeast then turns into clove flavor/aroma (4-vinyl guaiacol).

The grain bill and mash were very similar to the no-boil Berliner Weiss I did about a year ago, but you can see how much darker this one is as a result of the boil. The massive flavor differences are a result of the yeast (and bacteria) selection.

Tasting 11/18/08

Appearance – Beautiful stark-white meringue head, great retention, and nice lacing. The beer itself is golden and appropriately cloudy. The higher than average level of carbonation is visible. It certainly looks the part of a German hefeweizen.

Smell – Big spicy clove aroma with a hint of overripe banana. Relatively clean with just a hint of sulfur. There are also some fresh bready background notes.

Taste – Yeasty rising bread is the first thing that comes to mind. The clove is certainly there, as is the banana, but neither is assertive as I expected. Almost no bitterness or really any hop contribution, as expected. This has only been in the bottle for 10 days, so the yeast may just need a bit more time to fully clean up.

Mouthfeel – Light spritzy body. Not much else to say except that the thick head helps trick my tongue into thinking the beer is fuller/creamier than it is.

Drinkability & Notes – Very balanced and easy to drink. I think the banana is a bit too subdued at this point though, a slightly higher fermentation temperature would not be a bad idea, but only a touch.


Recipe Specifics (All-Grain)
Batch Size (Gal): 4.50
Total Grain (Lbs): 7.00
Anticipated OG: 1.043
Anticipated SRM: 2.9
Anticipated IBU: 12.7
Brewhouse Efficiency: 71 %
Wort Boil Time: 115 Minutes

3.50 lbs. Germany Wheat Malt
3.50 lbs. Germany Pilsener

1.75 oz. Spalter Spalt @ 65 min.

0.25 Tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 20 Min.

WYeast 3068 Weihenstephan Weizen

Water Profile
Profile: Washington DC
Profile known for: Where I live

Calcium(Ca): 45.6 ppm
Magnesium(Mg): 9.9 ppm
Sodium(Na): 16.0 ppm
Sulfate(SO4): 54.0 ppm
Chloride(Cl): 32.0 ppm
biCarbonate(HCO3): 89.9 ppm

Mash Schedule
4 vinyl guaiacol 15 min @ 113 (Infusion)
Protein 10 min @ 126 (Direct)
Sacch Rest 1 40 min @ 144 (Direct)
Sacch Rest 2 40 min @ 161 (Decoction boiled for 20 minutes)

10/19/08 Brewed by myself

Based loosely on Live Oak Hefeweizen.

Direct heated to Sacch II rest, decoted about a gallon, transferred the rest of the mash from the pot to the cooler, by the time the decoction was added back the main mash had lost enough heat to keep the temp near 160.

2.5 gallons of first runnings. Batch sparged. Collected 6.25 gallons of 1.033 wort. Diluted down to 7 gallons because efficiency was better than expected.

Started a 1 pint starter the night before brewing.

Hops adjusted down from 2% AA because they are a year old.

Chilled down to 71, strained out hops, put into chest freezer at 55 at 4:30 PM. Added some of the wort from the beer to the starter to help the yeast.

At 9:00 PM I pitched the now very happy/active quart of starter.

Full krausen after 20 hours.

Very active fermentation for 72 hours.

10/23/08 Raised ambient temp to 62 to help it finish up.

10/26/08 Down to ~1.012 (hard to read through foam). Slight sulfur aroma, and overall a bit subdued.

10/31/08 Dropped temp to 45, then 38 to get it to clear up a bit.

11/07/08 Bottled with 4 oz of cane sugar aiming for 3.2 volumes of CO2.


Jake said...

Interesting, have you had any experience with the dry yeasts, WB-06 or Danster Munich Wheat in regards to flavour profiles?

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

This was the first wheat beer I have made, so this is all the experience I've got making them. I've had pretty good experiences with the “clean” dried ale yeasts, but I have yet to try any of the more characterful strains.

If you give one of them a try let me know how it turns out.

Unknown said...

How do you overcome them from 113-126 to 144 and 161? Make up your mash in a cooler igloo? You start with a ratio lower mashing, like 2.2L / Kg? By increasing the temperature by adding water, the ratio increases?

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

As is noted next to each step, I used a combination of direct heat (mashing in a kettle) and a decoction to raise the temperature for the steps. Only the first step was reached with an infusion. Once the mash was complete I poured it into the mash tun for vorlauf and sparging.

You could try to do it with infusions (starting with a drier mash ratio is a good idea), but each step would become more dilute, this requiring ever more water to raise the temperature.