Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Riwaka Hefe Weizen Tasting

A glass of Riwaka hopped Hefe Weizen.Wheat beers are supposed to be best fresh, hoppy beers too, right? For some reason the Riwaka Hefe Weizen that I brewed in early August just keeps getting better. Young the beer tasted strongly phenolic and yeasty, but it has cleaned up beautifully in the 6 weeks it has been on tap. That is one of the advantages of kegging, the beer has just been cold conditioning and continuing to pick up hop aromatics from the hops in the keg.

This is the second in my series of Southern Hemisphere hopped beers, the final (Galaxy Double IPA) will be ready for its tasting next week.

Riwaka HoppyWeizen

Appearance – Perfect, almost immobile, sticky, dense, white head. The body would be ugly for any beer other than a hefe weizen (ruddy orange-gold).

Smell – The nose suits the color with a potent citrus character (particularly fresh orange peel) and plenty of banana aroma. The combination of citrus and banana is complementary (smells like a fruit smoothie).

Taste – The aromatics from the nose come through in the flavor as well, but they are joined by a fresh caramel malt and bread. There is some light clove-spice (and maybe some cinnamon), but I think the hops are covering it up a bit. The bitterness is more assertive than a hefe weizen usually is, close to a hoppy pale ale. Rising bread yeasty finish.

Mouthfeel – Medium-light body with prickly carbonation. Right for a fall beer, but it might have been a bit thicker than I wanted if this was a summertime beer.

Drinkability & Notes – It took a few weeks on gas for this one to come together, but I'm really happy with where it is now. Riwaka seems like a good hop for anything you'd usually use Cascade or Centennial anything you want fresh orange aromatics. I didn't miss the decoction that I did for my previous batch of Hoppy Hefe, the hops covering any subtleties gained.


Ryan said...

You say that its gotten better. Ive began to wonder about the combination of something like a hefe/wit yeast and lots of hops. In my experiences with this combo, albeit limited, is that when young the yeast/hop combo just doesnt mesh well. With age it seems to smooth out a lot.

Ive been trying to rationalize this but most of the reasons I come up with have gaping holes, care to weigh in on why you think this happend in your beer?

Nick said...

Long time reader, first time commenting. I noticed you've used 10 lbs wheat an 5 lbs two row for this beer. Ever had any sparge issues? Any rice hulls in the mix? Just curious as I've been nervous to use that much without rice hulls.


The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Both yeast and hop aromatics fade with time, so that may be all that is happening. At first the issue was that I was taking small pours every few days that sucked up the slow flocculating yeast.

With a few ounces of rice hulls I didn't have a problem with the sparge. Just don't run off the wort too quickly. Cutting the surface of the grain bed can also help if the runoff slows.

SeƱor Brew™ said...

I want to try some of these New Zealand hops in upcoming brews. The only problem is that I don't have time to brew much anymore, and I'm all stocked up on traditional hops. Maybe I'll split a batch and dry hop half with a couple of ounces of one of the varieties you have highlighted recently.

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