Thursday, August 25, 2016

India Pale Hefeweizen Recipe

Banana Islands India Pale Hefeweizen.There are a surprising number of beer nerds who avoid “wheat beers.” In general it isn’t the wheat itself that is objectionable (plenty of these same people have no issues eating bread or pasta), but rather the banana and clove notes produced by the hefeweizen strains often associated with wheat beer. I have to admit, even though they are best fresh, I shy away from an average brew pub hefeweizen. Ferment too warm, and the subtle ripe banana aroma turns into banana runts or Now-and-Later: artificial, overpowering, and moving towards bubblegum.

My solution, borrowed from Eric Warner (now brewing  Karbach in Houston Texas) via his Classic Styles: German Wheat Beer, is to ferment cooler than most ale yeasts (he suggests pitching at 60°F and fermenting at 59°F). Jamil Zainasheff advocated this approach as well (62°F fermentation) in Brewing Classic Styles. I usually start fermentation around 58°F ambient, allowing the temperature to rise into the low 60s°F as the yeast slow. Despite the lore that a cold fermentation promotes clove-phenols, I've never seen research to support this. Rather, cooler fermentation reduces ester production allowing the clove to be more apparent. The amount of 4-vinylguaiacol (clove) is the result of the ferulic acid from the malt, and the yeast strain selected. The problem with this batch was that I underestimated the amount of ice needed for my recirculating immersion pump and only was able to bring the wort down to 75°F; I gave the beer six hours at 58°F in the fermentation fridge before pitching to compensate.

While I love a well-made traditional hefeweizen, I’m also a fan of introducing citrusy and tropical hop aromatics! My first attempt was based on New Glarus Crack’d Wheat, with Cascade and Amarillo, and my second was hopped with nearly-impossible-to-source Riwaka. For this batch I opted for the Modern Times Fortunate Islands combo of Citra and Amarillo. The Amarillo helps to temper the aggressiveness that can be a single-hopped Citra beer. The malt bill is reminiscent of Fortunate Islands as well, with Simpsons Golden Naked Oats in place of the CaraVienna. I couldn’t help but get a glass of the original on Monday at the Modern Times event at ChurchKey (and I'll likely have another Tuesday 9/30 at Meridian Pint).

Penthesilia on the left and Hippolyta on the right.I’m a fan of Commonwealth Brewing Co. Taonga (their New Zealand-hopped imperial hefeweizen) as well. Convenient, as I’ll be down there Labor Day weekend for the release of our collaborative oud bruins (brew day notes)! We re-fermented half the batch on cherries and dates (Penthesilia), and the rest on blackberries and figs (Hippolyta). Richer fruits to stand up to the darker malts. There is a Sour Beer Dinner on Friday 9/2 in their barrel room, and I'll also be at their first anniversary party the following day when bottles will be available!  Can't wait to try the finished beers!

Banana Islands 

Smell – The banana and tropical hop punch have both settled down after some early clashes. The banana is still a little more assertive than in my ideal balance though. I wanted 1a-1b in favor of the Amarillo/Citra, this has it reversed. The hop combo works nicely, providing the fruitiness that a hefeweizen needs without any dankness or pine.

Banana Islands India Pale Hefeweizen, five minutes later.Appearance – Hard to make any argument against that being textbook hefeweizen! Hazy gold body, translucent as it should be. Big, dense, white head, still sitting two fingers high nearly five minutes after pouring. Sticky rings of lace.

Taste – Banana leads with the orange and melon of the hops surging in and then disappearing, leaving a lightly citrusy hefeweizen in the finish with hints of clove. Bitterness is moderate, more than a traditional hefeweizen, but not approaching current American pale ale. Even a hint of vanilla as it warms.

Mouthfeel – The head adds a luscious creamy texture with each sip (reminds me of the substantive foam on cocktails shaken with egg whites). Once that dies down the beer itself is light, but the oats and chloride prevent it from tasting as light as it is.

Drinkability & Notes – If the banana was dialed back 20% it would be a real crusher. As is it is nice, but the hops aren't as showy as I want, and the banana is tiresome by the end of the glass.

Changes for Next Time – Back to my usual method of buying a few bags of ice at the store rather than trying to rely on ice packs...

Banana Islands Recipe

Recipe Specifics
Batch Size (Gal): 6.00
Total Grain (Lbs): 10.25
Anticipated OG: 1.049
Anticipated SRM: 4.9
Anticipated IBU: 31.0
Brewhouse Efficiency: 73%
Wort Boil Time: 65 Minutes

43.9% - 4.50 lbs. Rahr Brewers Malt
43.9% - 4.50 lbs. Briess Red Wheat Malt
7.3% - 0.75 lbs. Simpsons Golden Naked Oats
2.4% - 0.25 lbs. Gold Medal All Purpose Flour
2.4% - 0.25 lbs. Weyermann Acidualted Malt

0.63 oz. Columbus (Pellet, 12.60% AA) @ 60 min.
2.00 oz. Citra (Pellet, 11.00% AA) @ 20 minute Whirlpool
2.00 oz. Amarillo (Pellet, 9.00% AA) @ 20 minute Whirlpool
2.00 oz. Citra (Pellet, 11.00% AA) @ Dry Hop
2.00 oz. Amarillo (Pellet, 9.00% AA) @ Dry Hop
1.00 oz. Citra (Pellet, 11.00% AA) @ Keg Hop
1.00 oz. Amarillo  (Pellet, 9.00% AA) @ Keg Hop

Wyeast WY3068 Weihenstephan Weizen

Water Profile
Profile: Washington DC, Hoppy

Mash Schedule
Sacch Rest - 30 min @ 154°F

0.50 Whirlfloc @ 5 min.
0.50 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 5 min.

Split batch: hoppy hefeweizen with WY3068 and Citra/Amarillo, plus a Nelson/Mosaic NE-ish APA with Sacch Trois 644! The grains and hops listed are for this batch alone.

6/30/16 2 L stir-plate starter of 3068.

7/3/16 Minimal sparge with 50% dilution with distilled water 6 g each CaCl and gypsum, plus 2 tsp of phosphoric acid.

Chilled to 75°F with ice-water recirculation. Chilled to 75°F, left at 58°F to cool for 6 hours before pitching mostly decanted starter. Up to 60°F after 48 hours.

7/6/16 Dry hopped with 2014 Citra and Amarillo pellets. Upped temperature to 62°F, then 2°F every other day.

7/14/16 Kegged (with bagged/weighted hops) and put on gas in the kegerator.

I get a commission if you click the links to MoreBeer/Amazon and buy something!


nr-cole said...

I'm not sure I understand why this came out too banana-forward. From the sounds of things you didn't pitch until it was at 58, but the post seems to imply that the banana came on strong because it sat at 75 after the immersion chill?

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

I didn't take a temperature reading before pitching. I'm guessing that six hours at 58F wasn't long enough to drop the wort all the way from 75F. I really need to install thermowells in my fermentors...

Deviant said...

Some people under pitch hefes in order to bring out more banana ester. I'm interested to know if you made a starter for the wyeast3068 ?

General theory is a 75% pitch to recommended ale cell counts will bring the 'nana. I usually always make a starter for liquid yeasts. But not for hefe which I generally just pitch the vial/packet, which gets me a nice balanced banana note. I'm like you and sometimes find the banana way over the top and cloying. no-starter pitch seems to work well..

disclaimer: I use WLP300, different strains YMMV.

Anonymous said...

Banana is so strain dependent as well. We use a hefe strain from BSI and can't get too much banana. We even restrict o2 drastically to get more but clove dominates.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Starter details are down in the notes, 2 L on a stir-plate. If anything I was likely overpitching. I had issues with WLP300 fermented cool IIRC.

It's tricky because I want some banana, but it is a narrow window!

Unknown said...

Mike, please, the final temp was 68 or 70 by 7/14? How was the clove? Thanks, another interesting post! Cheers, sa├║de!

danielucf said...

How different do you think it might have turned out with 3638? I've been using that yeast in most of my wheat beers, and one cider to good effect. I think I get more apple crisp and vanilla flavors normally with a simple grain bill of 5 pounds pilsner, and 5 pounds of white wheat. Everyone loves the beers, especially when fermented around that 60-63F range. I'm about to keg a batch that I did a small whirlpool addition of Amarillo and Mosaic and the hydrometer sample tasted great.

Unknown said...

I'm curious as to how you avoided a lot of clove flavor. Whenever I've used 3068, I get plenty of clove. I would imagine that would have popped up in your tasting notes

Brewer said...

Hi Mike. Your grain bill seems off. It only adds to 10.25#, but recipe says 10.75#. Also, you have diff % for your base & wheat, but they are the same 4.5#. Excited to try making this as Weizen Bam by JP is one of my favorite sours I've had.

Lior said...

Maybe if you'll use WLP320 you will get less banana?

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

It topped out at about 68F. Clove is mild behind all of the banana and hop aromatics. Certainly could be personal flavor perception, but I don't detect big phenols.

I haven't used WY3638, so I won't hazard a guess, but I think it'd certainly make a good beer!

Thanks for the comment, fixed the grain bill. I had through I had misplaced the original recipe file, but located it on my old laptop and made some adjustments to the weights without fixing the percentages/totals!

Unknown said...

Maybe a ferulic acid rest at 113F would help balance it out?

MSkillstad said...

Is the flour in the mash?

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

I don't want more clove, just less banana (although a few people who have tried it disagree, so maybe I'm just sensitive?!)

Yes, flour mixed in with the rest of the crushed grain before dough in. Nice recipe for a few handfuls of rice hulls!

Tbone said...

This looks interesting. Hefe is a style I have yet to brew, because I never drink them. Actually ordered one for the first time in probably 10 years the other day, and quickly realized what I've been missing! Might have to give this one a shot.

Unknown said...

If you're planning on bottling this beer, when / how would you substitute the keg hop?

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Cheers, Tbone! You can certainly jump to this one, but not a bad idea to dial in the fermentation with a more classic recipe first if you enjoyed a less hoppy version.

Drew, you can just add them to the standard dry hop. The other option is to add them after fermentation ends. Neither is a perfect substitute, but the beer will be delicious any of those ways!

Unknown said...

sorry if you've already answered this a hundred times, but do you use RO water and build your water profile from that?

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

If you look in the notes I always include water treatment details. For pale/hoppy beers I usually dilute my tap water 50% to reduce carbonate.

EscapeArtist said...

Question about the "keg hops" so you dry hop them at kegging time you put 2 more ounces and let them in till the beer is gone ? What your technique about that ?

Thank you!

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Exactly. I bag the hops in a new nylon knee-high and weight them with sanitized (steamed) glass marbles. I hook them over a hose clamp attached to the dip tube. Then I purge and fill the keg. That way they are submerged at first, but gradually are hanging as the beer level drops. I've also done just tossing them in (bagged/weighted) without issue.

Unknown said...

I just recently did something similar. I wish I would have caught this post earlier.

I was concerned that the hops and yeast esters would run over each other, but it was sort of a "I wouldn't normally do this, but *IF* I did, this how it'd go". Basically a 60/40 split of wheat malt/pilsner. A tiny FWH Magnum charge, and 1lb/bbl Citra Whirl, 1lb/bbl Citra Dry Hopped. That at least was the ballpark. My brewsheet isn't currently accessible.

The big difference with my attempt was I chose WY3638 Bavarian Wheat. I find it to be an interesting Weiss alternative because the banana clove is a bit more restrained. Additionally it throws quite a bit of pear/plum. Quite unusual for the style, but I rather like it. It turned out lovely, and if I ever had a chance to revisit it I probably would have tweaked our water source a bit.