Monday, July 25, 2011

Golden American Wheat Recipe

Recirulating the wort to clear it.One the aspects of  brewing a batch of beer with someone else that I enjoy most is that it forces me to take a step back from my usual brew day habits and routine.  For my first few years of brewing this was especially true when I got to brew with another experienced homebrewer, getting to see a different process and hear someone else's take on ingredients and techniques.  Now that I'm pretty happy with my process, I like brewing with someone who isn't a homebrewer because it forces me to take a look at my processes and the choices that I take for granted.

When she is in town, my girlfriend Audrey often lends a hand with whatever I am brewing, but a couple of times a year I give her control over the recipe design and brewing process.  It gives her a chance to brew something she wants, and gets me to brew a recipe I wouldn't have otherwise.  In years past we have collaborated on a Lemon-Pepper Single, and a Belgian Amber both of which turned out well.

Audrey scooping foam to prevent a boil-over.This year she wanted to brew a non-Belgian, something sessionable, but that could still take a few months of aging (since she'll take a case back with her to grad school in the fall).  To improve the aging potential I advised against brewing a beer with a prominent American hops character (I think there are few flavors worse than oxidized citrusy hops, I'm looking at you year-old Sierra Nevada Bigfoot).  With a recently purchased sack of wheat malt to be opened she decided an American wheat beer with a bit of color would be a good direction to go in.  After the Belgian Amber ended up more brown than amber we made sure not to add too much chocolate malt to this recipe.  The rest of the specialty malt additions were comprised of biscuit (for added bready maltiness - a malt I rarely use) and C20 (for some sweetness).  She decided on the slightly earthy qualities of Willamette for hopping, a variety that I think ages gracefully compared to the C-hops.

There wasn't anything too exciting or tricky about the process for this batch, but sometimes simplicity is all that is called for.  Fermentation is already complete, but before bottling comes my favorite part of brewing with someone else... having them help de-label bottles.

Aerated and pitched wort, ready for fermentation.Audrey's Golden Wheat

Recipe Specifics
Batch Size (Gal): 4.75
Total Grain (Lbs): 9.95
Anticipated OG: 1.054
Anticipated SRM: 10.1
Anticipated IBU: 29.7
Brewhouse Efficiency: 70 %
Wort Boil Time: 75 Minutes

50.3% - 5.00 lbs. German Wheat Malt
40.2% - 4.00 lbs. American Pale "2-row" Malt
5.0% - 0.50 lbs. Biscuit Malt
3.8% - 0.38 lbs. Belgian Caramel 20
0.7% - 0.07 lbs. American Chocolate Malt

1.00 oz. - Willamette (Pellet, 4.60% AA) @ 60 min.
1.00 oz. - Willamette (Pellet, 4.60% AA) @ 15 min.

Safale US-05 Chico

Water Profile
Profile: Washington DC

Mash Schedule
Sacch Rest - 60 min @ 154 F
Mash Out - 15 min @ 168 F

7/16/11 Brewed with Audrey

Collected 6.75 gallons of 1.038 runnings with a batch sparge.

Left out the whirlfloc and yeast nutrient.

Chilled to 65 F and pitched with 1 rehydrated (85 F for 15 min) pack of US-05. Shook for 5 minutes to aerate. Left at 65 ambient to ferment.

Good fermentation after 18 hours.

7/24/11 Fermentation appears to be mostly complete.

8/7/11 Bottled, down to 1.012. Added 3.5 oz of cane sugar to the 4.38 gallons of beer we yielded. Aiming for 2.5 volumes of CO2.

9/23/11 Solid beer, but not great.  The Willamette lent a spicy hop character that I'm not enamored with, not to say it is a bad beer, just one that I don't love.


Mike said...

Delabelling bottles is a doddle. A 1% Caustic Soda solution is all it takes. (I suspect that 1/2% would work just as well.) Just soak the bottles in the solution for 15 minutes or so and the labels float away all by themselves. Plus the bottles have now been sterilised. A quick rinse in clean water and you're done.

I strongly suspect (on the basis of absolutely no evidence whatsoever! ;-) that the glues used for labels have been deliberately designed to dissolve in Caustic Soda, given how much Caustic the industrial breweries use for cleaning pretty much everything.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

I use a long soak in hot water and Oxyclean and it works pretty well, but there are usually ~25% of the labels (the ones with the plastic film over them and a few others) that put up a fight. I was under the impression that caustic was just for cleaning, not sanitizing. Doesn’t it need to be neutralized with something acidic? I assume you wear gloves and goggles when you work with it?

HokieBrewer said...

I'm interested to here how the biscuit plays with the wheat. Seems like it could be a tasty combo with the earthy hops.

Anonymous said...

Some Fermcap Foam Control would make the skimming unnecessary during the boil. Using it has been one of the largest improvements to my brewing experience in some time.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

I've mentioned this before, but I have a personal distrust/dislike of Fermcap. It is more philosophical than practical, I’d just rather not add a chemical to my beer (especially one that isn’t safe to consume) when it isn’t necessary. Apparently the FDA requires brewers who use silicone additives to filter or centrifuge their beers post-fermentation to remove it from the beer.

Here is more info that Denny posted if anyone is interested:

Mike said...

Gloves, yes, goggles, no. The solution is pretty weak at 0.5%-1%. In emergencies I've stuck my hands in there to rescue things, and it's definitely not strong enough to cause a worry - just rinse well afterwards. I haven't neutralised the caustic in bottles treated thus, just rinsed, and it has been completely trouble-free. At that, I find that Chlorine-based cleaners need 3 rinses before I'm comfortable, whereas Caustic needs only 1 or 2.

I can't find anything like Oxyclean locally. Wish I could. Perhaps I'm asking/looking for the wrong name.