Category Archives: My Beers

07-09-01

Hefewizen Recipe

07-09-01I’m usually not a big wheat beer fan as some breweries try to market them as fruit beers, but I do love Hefewizens. The first one that I ever had was by JW Dundee and it could be found in the discount/expired section of my local beer distributor in college. I’ve evolved my tastes since then and two summers ago, while in Germany on the Rhine river, I got to experience a real German Hefewizen. It was perfect. There were slight hints of clove, but the banana and bubblegum really won out along with a clean malt/wheat flavor. I would drink that beer, though I now forget its name, any day of the week.

My goals for this Hefewizen are simple, duplicate what I had in Germany. It’s a challenge but if done properly, I have have the taste of the Rhine on tap! To begin with I looked at the traditional ratios of wheat to base malt. They range a good bit so I went with a 50/50 split, which is a bit more base malt than most recipes called for. Hallertauer was an obvious hop choice for this one. My recipe is below:

  • 5 lbs. Pilsner Malt (this one happen to be Rahr)
  • 5 lbs. Red Wheat Malt (come from Briess)
  • 1 lb. Rice hulls
  • 1/2 oz. Hallertauer (4.5%) @ 45 min
  • 1/2 oz. Hallertauer (4.5%) @ 15 min
  • Yeast WLP300 Hefewizen Ale

The malt bill for this beer is pretty simple. I went a little overkill with the rice hulls as to avoid a stuck sparge but you could easily use half the amount and still be fine. WLP300 has some great reviews and seems to be really temperature dependent on the types of flavors it produces. The warmer the environment the more clove. I kept this beer back and fermented at 62-64°F to let the banana and bubblegum come out more. The expected stats for this beer are below:

  • OG: 1.048
  • FG: 1.012
  • ABV: 4.7%
  • IBUs: 12

I’ll ferment for 10 days or so and then it will go into the keg. Fresh Hefewizen is something special and I intend on taking full advantage of it. I do not plan on using a starter for this beer as I want the yeast to stress out a bit and produce off flavors (clove, banana, and bubblegum). This recipe is for 5.5 gallons.

05-16-01

Coffee Amber Ale Tasting Notes

05-16-01I brewed my Coffee Amber Ale some time ago and the keg is just about the kick, so I thought that I would share my tasting notes with you in case you were curious and wanted to try brewing it. As you can see in the picture to the left, the beer is a nice clear amber color and has a fluffy white head. The nose has coffee beans in the nose, more green than roasted. There are some slight bread and caramel notes as well but the green coffee smell really wins out.

On the first taste I was surprised at the amount of caramel that comes out in the beer. It’s a very smooth and round caramel. It then transitions to coffee flavor. The coffee is reserved and not as bold as a “typical” coffee ale, but it does come though and helps balance out the sweetness of the caramel. There are not hop notes to speak of in this one.

My overall impressions with this beer are high. I’m thrilled that I was able to make a coffee amber ale. It was a challenge that I think I succeeded at. I would like the coffee to smell less green and have more roast in the future along with some pumped up coffee notes in the flavor of the beer. I’m not sure how to accomplish this without changing the color but I’m open to suggestions. This was a super simple beer to brew and I will be making a return to my brewing schedule come the late fall/early winter. I’m not sure if the coffee malt did anything other than add some color so I might try changing it out for a chocolate malt in order to get some additional roasty flavors. I’m a happy camper and I’ll be sad to see this one go.

Barrel Aged Rye IPA Recipe

04-06-02I said that I would get a recipe up for this beer, and I finally have. The idea behind this beer is to get a Rye IPA that is high in gravity and that can take on the flavors or a used whiskey barrel in a positive way. The recipe is pretty simple until you get to the hops, I went a little crazy there.

  • 11 lbs. 2-row (I used Rahr)
  • 3.33 lbs Rye malt
  • 1 lb Crystal 40
  • 1 lb Table sugar
  • 1 oz Magnum @ 60 min (14.5% AA)
  • 1/2 oz each of Amarillo (8.5% AA), Citra (12% AA), and Simcoe (13% AA) @ 20 mins
  • 1/2 oz each of Amarillo (8.5% AA), Citra (12% AA), and Simcoe (13% AA) @ 10 mins
  • Dry hop with Chinook (13% AA) for last three days of aging

This is by far the craziest that I have ever gone with hops. Never before have I used five different hops in a beer, let along hops that have such high alpha acids. The expected stats for the beer can be seen below:

  • OG: 1.084
  • FG: 1.021
  • ABV: 8.35%
  • IBUs: 104

While I know that IBUs over 100 cannot be tasted, I hope that the power and mix of hops adds a nice complexity to the beer. I do not want the whiskey flavor or oak flaovr to be starts in this beer, but rather compliments to an already solid beer. This one is aging now and will be for a bit, but I’ll let you know when it’s ready to go.

Coffee Amber Ale Recipe

I’ve been in the mood to test my homebrewing skills a creativity a bit and I decided that a coffee flavored beer that is amber in color was an excellent challenge. Most coffee beers are stouts or porters, which makes the color addition from coffee unnoticeable. What I wanted to do is make something similar to Peak Organic’s Espresso Amber Ale. It’s an excellent beer and captures the espresso flavor and keeps the color not black.

My homebrew store recently started carrying coffee malt so I decided to give it a try. It comes in at 175 °L, which is pretty dark. After purchasing a one pound bag of it I did find that it has some coffee aroma, but not enough. My wife is a big coffee drinker and grinds her own beans. This lead me to take 4oz. of cold water and 10 whole coffee beans. I put the beans in the water and left them in the water for a week. I dumped the results before I realized that I should grab a picture, but the color addition from the whole bean was not very high. However, the aroma and taste were very noticeable. Better yet, the aroma and flavor additions happened after a day or so, and the color didn’t change until day three.

I then structured a recipe around what I wanted to the malt to taste like. I knew that I wanted a toasty, roasty flavor. I also needed some sweetness to balance out the harsh roasted flavors. I had some crystal malts on hand to give some sweetness and light color additions as well as half a pound of Carabrown to give a toasted flavor. Below is what I came up with.

  • 10 lbs. 2-row
  • 1/2 lb. Carabrown (60 °L)
  • 1/2 lb. Coffee malt
  • 1/4 lb. Crystal 80
  • 1/2 lb. Light brown sugar
  • 1/2 oz. Magnum @ 60 mins
  • 1/2 oz. Magnum @ 15 mins

The final beer is expected to have the following specs:

  • OG: 1.059
  • FG: 1.015
  • ABV: 5.83%
  • IBUs: 36.5
  • SRM: 17.37

According to Wikipedia and a number of other sources that I checked amber ales can fall in anywhere between 15-33 SRM. I went on the lighter side so that any color addition from the whole beans would still keep the beer in the proper range.

I plan on fermenting the beer in the primary for two weeks and then move it over to a secondary. Two days before kegging I will add a handful of whole coffee beans to the secondary that were sanitized by sitting in whiskey or vodka for a day. I’m really looking forward to seeing how this one turns out. It’s a very non-typical beer for me as I generally don’t like adding extras to a beer. I’ve made one coffee beer before, a stout, and it turned out wonderfully. I hoping that I will like this one just as much and that I learn some things from it. It’s always fun to test yourself and take a bit of a chance.

Belgian IPA Tasting Notes

I posted my recipe for the first version of my Belgian IPA not to long ago and I wanted to update you on how it actually tastes. The idea behind this beer was to blend an American IPA along with a Belgian Tripel. At the end of the day this beer came out to be 9% ABV and 75 IBUs.

The beer poured out of the tap a nice clear orange color. The image makes it look a bit darker than it actually is. The head is plentiful, a little too much so, and doesn’t fade until well into the drink. It leaves a nice lacing. I’m going to attribute the head to the hops and wheat malt. I did carbonate this one a bit higher than normal as well. The nose has a slight hop aroma but is overwhelmed by heat and Belgian spices.

The heat hits you quickly and then fades away. There is a decent malt body and it is very clean. I didn’t get any bready or toasty notes when drinking this ale. The Belgian spice notes are strong and a bit peppery. I think the yeast was a bit muddled and the true yeast flavor got lost. I’m going to try a different approach with the yeast next time out. This beer was built off of the yeast cake from two previous batches. I think the previous flavors and different fermenting temps gave the yeast a few characteristics that I would rather not have.

The hops were present, but they need to be there much more. I tried to cheap out a bit and go with higher alpha acid hops to get more bang for my buck and I don’t think it worked very well. The hops tasted a bit old. The next time I make this beer I want to add more bitter and aroma hops to help balance out the heat and malt.

I’m about halfway there on this beer. I like it a lot for a first run but it needs some help. In addition to the hop and yeast changes I wouldn’t add as much sugar and sub in more base malt. With a yeast cake the size of what this beer had to work with, I think the simple sugars produced a bit too much heat. I would also ferment this one a bit colder. All good things in time I suppose.