Sunday, October 25, 2009

Weizenbock Recipe

Fermenting WeizenbockWith a yeast cake of White Labs 300, Hefeweizen Ale Yeast, left over from my Extract Hefeweizen sitting in my fridge I wanted to brew something with it. I considered doing a Dunkleweizen (Dark German Wheat) or a Roggenbier (German Rye), but with cold winter weather approaching I decided to step it up and do to my first Weizenbock. This is a rich, generally dark, wheat ale typified by Schneider Aventinus. Rather than having the big banana character of a Hefeweizen, Weizenbock has a more complex fruit character with banana mingled with dark fruit and a firm Bock-ish Munich maltiness.

I decided to go with a pretty moderate gravity for this batch (1.075), I wanted it to be big and flavorful, but not so big that I couldn't enjoy a pint on a weeknight. In general I like beers in this middle range (6.5%-8.5% ABV) sitting between session ales and the big monster alcohol bombs.

For most of the malt I went with a pretty standard mix of dark Munich, Vienna, and wheat malt. Instead of adding pilsener malt for the rest of the base I added some Marris Otter, which will add a bit more depth of maltiness that I don't get from pils in such a rich beer. I also added some Simpsons Extra Dark Crystal which added a wonderful character to the lagered Wheat Triplebock I brewed last fall. It adds a nice combination of dark fruit with just a hint of coffee, as well as some nice color. I went a bit lighter on it than I did in the Triplebock because this is a lighter beer that I want to be easier drinking.

I kept the fermentation pretty cool (58-60 ambient) to ensure that this beer turns out pretty moderate in terms of alcohol and ester character. After fermentation finished I gave the beer some time at 45 to allow the yeast to drop out and the flavors to meld.


Recipe Specifics (All-Grain)
Batch Size (Gal): 4.00
Total Grain (Lbs): 11.63
Anticipated OG: 1.075
Anticipated SRM: 17.2
Anticipated IBU: 20.6
Brewhouse Efficiency: 70 %
Wort Boil Time: 90 Minutes

6.00 lbs. German Wheat Malt
3.00 lbs. German Dark Munich Malt
1.50 lbs. Maris Otter
0.63 lbs. German Vienna Malt
0.50 lbs. Simpsons Extra Dark Crystal (~155L)

1.75 oz. Czech Saaz (Pellet @ 3.10% AA) 45 min.

0.25 Tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 13 Min.
0.50 Whirlfloc @ 13 Min.

White Labs WLP300 Hefeweizen Ale

Water Profile
Profile: Washington DC

Mash Schedule
Sacch Rest 60 min @ 152

Yeast cake saved from extract weizen when it was racked to the keg 9/25/09

Brewed 10/03/09 By myself.

Fly sparge. Collected 6 gallons of 1.055 wort. Added 1/4 tsp of CaCl to the runoff to drop the pH and ensure a good hot break.

1 Year old hop pellets reduced from 3.5% AA.

Cooled down to ~70, put into 58 degree fridge.

Pitched after ~4 hours with 60 seconds of pure O2. Good fermentation by 8 hours.

Good hard fermentation, a bit of blowoff after 2-3 days.

10/05/09 Upped temp to 60 to help it finish.

10/14/09 Dropped temp to 45 to help clear.

10/25/09 Still pretty hazy, balanced fruit character, some caramel. Down to 1.016 (79% AA, 7.8% ABV)

10/27/09 Racked to a three gallon secondary. Took out of fridge, left at basement temp.  Extra beer racked into a growler and primed.

11/29/09 Bottled with 2 5/8 cane sugar. The growler was very tasty a few weeks back shared with a few friends, so I have high hopes for this one.

2/7/10 First tasting, turned out very well, good complex blend of flavors and aromas and solid drinkability.

4/28/10 Scored a 32.5 at the 2010 NHC.  Judges thought it was old/oxidized, a character I don't really get.


PBC said...

When you dropped the temp to 45 after approx. 13 days of fermentation, did you rack to a secondary?

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Nope, I just tried to drop it a bit clearer before racking to secondary a couple weeks later. That picture is in the way, i'll move it to make the flow easier to follow.

PBC said...

I designed / brewed a Weizenbock back on 6/12, and followed your fermentation schedule. I racked to a corny yesterday (after 15 days of primary fermentation) to condition at 45, and my SG was still a little on the high side. I plan to condition this for 4 weeks; however, I'm concerned the SG won't get down as far as I would like. Thoughts / tips / advice?

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

At 45 you won't get much activity from a Hefeweizen strain. If you want it to dry out more I would raise the temp to 65-70, and give the keg a roll to get any yeast back into suspension. Always a good idea to check the gravity before racking/cooling, although I'm guilty of skipping this check if it looked like a good healthy fermentation.

That said, depending on your recipe/yeast the beer might just be done, and next ime you'll have to make a note to lower the mash temp or use a more attenuative strain.

Good luck.

PBC said...

Appreciate it...exactly what happened to me. After kegging and putting into 45 degree fridge, I then took the gravity reading...trial and error. Thanks again

Michael said...


I just finished culturing up schneiderweisse dregs, did a 5 gallon batch of original 50/50 dark wheat and pils which is keg carbing with speise( first try ).
This has all been to nail an Aventius clone. My question is the crystal you added. What do you think it contributes and would you change it if you brewed again.
I have been struggling with my recipe as Mosher in Brewing with wheat says Aventius is wheat, pils and a bit more chocolate malt than the original! No Munich? And by chocolate does he mean carafa? Any advise from your experience would be appreciated. Thanks and love the blog.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

The extra dark crystal adds some slight coffee character that replaces what you would get from a roasted malt, along with some aged fruit character. Next time around I might cut it in half and use some CaraMunich or something in its place. Without crystal malt it will be tough to get those plum/prune notes without giving it a few months to age.

I might also replace the Maris Otter and Vienna with Pils to lower the malt character. I’d also probably go 3068, since I like its level of fruit better at those lower fermentation temperatures.

Certainly possible they don't add Munich, an agressive decoction would help replace some of those flavors.

Good luck on the close. Carafa would be a good bet, not sure if you should go Special or not though (haven’t had an Aventinus since last winter).

Michael said...

Thanks for the feedback. I will probably go with 50% Dark Wheat, 30% Bo pils, 10% Dark Munich, and the rest will have Caramunich and carafa I for flavor and color.
I decoct in a pressure cooker so I can get really aggressive with time and pressure so I may cut back the Munich and just cook my way to the maltiness.
As for yeast I have the Schneider strain now recultured and then grown up From the previous weizen batch.
I will use the feurilic rest and ferment at 62F to get that clovey goodness. I will let you know how it goes.

Dean said...

Question about using a yeast cake, as I've never done it before: Did you just leave the cake in the fermenter and pitch on top of it, or did you "wash" (not sure if that's the proper term) with boiled water, transfering to other containers, etc - removing a lot of the trub?

I'm planning on doing a Hefe soon, and a Weizenbock shortly after.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

The whole yeast cake is usually more than you need (use a pitching rate calculator to estimate the correct amount). I'd suggest pouring the yeast out, measuring, and cleaning/sanitizing the fermentor. I don't think washing is worthwhile unless you are going beyond a few repitches (or storing for an extended period).

Best of luck!

pumbapoindexter said...

You decoct in a pressure cooker????? How do you do this and why? I am very interested!