Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Bavarian Hefeweizen

I'm trying to build up a stock of homebrew that will, hopefully, last me a couple months. The next few months are gonna be extremely busy with work, business trips, travel, and a new house, so I'm not going to have much time for brewing. In the off chance that I do have time I really want to get in a few more sours/brett beers going. So, I really need to brew up some tasty summer beers that will go down easy on hot days, that being said I plan on brewing up an ESB, a hefe, and I have a smoked beer in the primary already (tasty with BBQ)

This week I'm getting in the hefe, extra hands always make a decoction easier :) I haven't made a weizen in quite awhile so this will be a nice beer to have around. Most homebrewers go to hefeweizen yeast, is wyeast 3068, but I far prefer 3638. Both are supposedly from Weihenstephaner, just different strains. 3638 produces a far fruitier beer than 3068 with all the clove and banana goodness the latter. Because if makes a fruitier beer I tend to add some honey to dry it out a bit to compensate. At any rate I highly suggest anyone who loves 3068 to at least give 3638 one shot, I think you'll start to prefer it as well.

Bavarian Hefeweizen

5.5gal: IBU 13: OG 1046: 77% Eff

4.0 lbs Pilsner
4.0 lbs Wheat Malt
0.5 lbs Honey

0.25 oz Sorachi Ace (14%) 60min

Bavarian Hefe - Wyeast 3638

Mash - Double Decoction

10min @ 105F - Infusion
40min @ 152F - Decoction
20min @ 168F - Decoction

Notes: Honey was added at flame out: Decoction rest temps are a bit weird, if your used to doing decoctions your probably asking wheres the 120-130F temp rest, well Ive found with the highly modified malts that are available you really have to watch how long you rest in that temp range, as it can really screw with the body of the beer, and when doing a decoction its very hard to only have a short rest in that range, so I skip it, Try skipping it I guarantee you'll notice an improvement in the body of your beer: 2.5L starter was built on a stir plate for this beer: My efficiency has dropped a bit the past two beer, this is what happens when you used the LHBS's crush!

Bread made with Hefe Yeast

Bavarian Hefeweizen Review 4/22/09
Thursday, April 16, 2009

Witbier - First Tasting

Appearance - Very light gold, nice and hazy, one and a half finger head that slowly dissipates leaving moderate lacing

Aroma - Slightly spicy, subdued orange aroma

Taste - Nice and spicy, has the perfect phenolics for a wit, although they are all a bit subtle, would be nice if they were stronger, hints of orange and coriander in the finish, with a slight CO2 bite

Mouthfeel - Perfect, high carbonation, good thick body from the oats and unmalted wheat, yet still feels light because of the carbonation

Drinkability - Very easy to drink 3 or 4, not much alcohol here either so its a very refreshing brew on a hot day, which is exactly what I was hoping for!

Notes/Thoughts - the phenolics from the yeast were a bit subdued for my liking, next time I would ferment a lot warmer than I did (63F), I think I'll let this one get up in the low 70's, as that's where the starter was fermented and it was perfect, Body is great, maybe slightly thicker than I prefer but that's what you get from using 11% oats! I used a very light touch with the orange peel and coriander, I think you could easily double or triple both and have a very tasty beer, I may give it a shot next time, but I usually prefer to have spices confined to the background. This one might get brewed again this summer because its going so quick!

Brewday 3/5/09 - Recipe & Notes

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Smoked Ale

Summer is upon us now and BBQ season is about to be in full swing soon. If you ask me there's nothing better with a nice grilled steak/burger than a smoked beer. The two are made for one another. If you haven't tried a smoked beer I suggest going out and getting one to try with a grilled burger, Stones' smoked porter is a good place to start out. Word of caution though, your about to have a food experience that you wont forget!

For this beer I wanted something smokey, but still a bit malt oriented and fairly light - I want it to sneak up on the unsuspecting! So I did a grain bill with mostly 2-row, and a little bit of light chocolate for some depth. Hopefully it will be smokey enough with 1/4# peated, if not I may do a mini-mash later on to add some more smoke flavors. I used peated here instead of rauchmalt becasue the stuff my LHBS had mustve been pretty old because when I tasted the grain there was zero smokiness to it at all, when they opened the peated, it instantly smelled like a peat fire. Next time I will use the rauchmalt or even the smoked malt from Briess that is smoked with cherry wood.

Smoked Ale - A BBQ Beer

5.25gal: OG 1048
IBU 18: Eff 83%

8.00 lb 2-Row
0.25 lb Pale Chocolate
0.25 lb 60L
0.25 lb Peated Malt

0.35 oz Sorachi Ace (14%) 60min


152F - 45min
168F - 25min (vorlauf)

First Tasting - 5/16/2009

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Mead with Ale Yeast - Update

Well in only 11 days the US05 ripped through the honey like it was nothing. The yeast dropped and it has been sparkling clear now for ~3days. I would have racked sooner, but I swirled the yeast back into suspension to make sure it was really done, and it dropped back out, so I checked gravity...... 0.990

I tasted a bit and it's slightly fruity, with a very slight sourness, very dry with hints of honey in the aroma. The body is very very light, but I believe this will work well with champagne-like carbonation. I'm really looking forward to this one.

As you can see I split this one up into 3 small carboys. I plan on adding freshly picked orange blossoms to one, dried peppermint to another and bottling one plain to taste the contributions of each of the spices.

Brewday 3/24/09 - Notes & Recipe

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Blonde Ale III

So way back when, my very first all grain brew was a blonde ale. It's funny most people would suggest against a first timer doing something so light, I mean there's nothing for off flavors or bad techniques to hide behind in a blonde ale the flavor is just too light and subtle. As it turns out though, it was my best beer I had made at the time, and has come back in nearly the same form each year since.

Now somethings have changed here and there, different yeasts each time, slightly more vienna, but the recipe is essentially the same it was when I made it 3yrs ago for the first time. My efficiency has gone up considerably since then so the beers character has changed mostly as a response to that (65% eff my first time, now sitting at ~92%)

This recipe makes a very easy drinking beer, that's easy to find yourself putting back 3, 4 or more of on a hot Arizona day, and you'll never feel it. Its very crisp, light, has a very bready grainy taste, with just a hint of hops. I made kind of a weird batch size for this one (7.5gal) but I am trying to build up a stock of beer so that I can have some variety later in the summer. If you try making it yourself Id suggest only adjusting the pils/vienna to get to the target OG based on your efficiency. Right now though the same malt bill will make a 5.5gal, 1046 beer with 70% eff

Blonde Ale III

OG 1044: IBU 16: 7.5gal: 91% eff

5.5 lbs German Pilsner
3.0 lbs Vienna Malt
1.0 lbs Carapils/Dextrine Malt
0.5 lbs Honey Malt

0.75 oz Sterling (8.7%) 60min
0.50 oz Sterling (8.7%) KO


150F - 60min
168F - 26min (vorlauf)

Notes: This years version included 1# carapils instead of 0.5# wheat - it was added to help with body/head retention after my efficiency jump 20% since the last time I made the beer: Yeast is different again this year, so far US04 and Nottingham have been used, and I far prefer the US04 to Notty: Sterling a hop I haven't used before is being showcased, the beers not very hoppy but I should be able to see what this hop has to offer: Vorlaufed for 20min, chilled to ~65F and pitched US05 directly into wort: Wort turned out a bit darker than I was expecting, I hope the new guy working at my LHBS didn't mess up my malt bill

First Tasting - 5/6/09

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