I’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.
I 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.
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.
I’ve been in a bit of a hop kick recently. I know, I know, a craft beer person in the mood for hops, big shocker. I also fell back in love with Belgian beers this summer so I decided to marry the two ideas in to one. As I have mentioned before, the Belgian IPA style is still in development so you can kind of do what you want with it. I basically had two criteria when designing this beer 1). It has to be hoppy and 2.) the Belgian flavor components should be noticeable and add to the quality of the beer.
I began this recipe by taking a look at my Belgian Tripel recipe. It’s a pretty simple recipe with three malts and two types of hops. I then gave my IPA recipe a look and it also had a simple recipe with four grain and two hops. I then began to compare the malts and hops in use. Clearly the IPA hops would overpower any of the Tripel’s hops, so I ditched any of the traditional Belgian Tripel hops and went with high alpha-acid American hops. The base malts were not far apart and I only had American 2-row in hand so that won out. The rest you can see below:
- 12 lbs. 2-row
- 2 lbs. Munich
- 1 lb. German Wheat Malt
- 1 lb. White Table Sugar (added @ 15 mins)
- 1 lb. Dried Malt Extract (added @ 15 mins)
- 1 oz. Magnum @ 60 mins
- 1 oz. Columbus @ 5 mins
- A half and half mix of WLP530 and WLP500
As I said the base malt is pretty standard. I really like adding Munich malt to almost all of my beers as it adds a nice touch of bread and complexity to my beers. The wheat malt is there to enhance the body and to aid in head retention. I didn’t want to murder my base malt supply in making this beer so I added a bunch of sugar and a pound of dried malt extract to this one to supplement the base malt. The table sugar is also there to make sure the yeast get off to a quick and happy start.
The stats for this one can be seen below:
- OG: 1.094
- FG: 1.024
- ABV: 9.39%
- IBUs: 77
I love trying new things with my brewing and developing a recipe around a beer that doesn’t have a set style was both a challenge and a joy. This beer is currently kegged and I will get tasting notes up shortly.
I’ve brewed two pumpkin beers in the past. My first one was right when I first got into homebrew and it involved cutting up some cooked pumpkin pieces and steeping them in the boil kettle. The results were good but I wanted more out of the pumpkin. I also thought that the porter aspect of my beer took away from the other aspects that I wanted to showcase. About three years ago I brewed my second Pumpkin Ale. I still like the recipe idea but I got a stuck sparge and only collected 2.5 gallons of wort. The only thing that I didn’t realize was that I managed to get the majority of the sugar pulled out of the grain before it stuck, meaning that I had a 15% pumpkin beer.
For this round I wanted to make sure that I could really highlight the pumpkin flavor. I also had two secondary goals; a medium mouthfeel and a bready malt quality. On the technical end I just wanted to avoid a stuck sparge again. Below is the recipe that I decided to go with after looking through the ingredients that I had:
- 8 lbs. 2-Row
- 1 lb. Light Munich
- .5 lb. Oats
- .5 lb. Carapils
- .5 lb. Crystal 40
- .25 lb. Crystal 80
- .25 lb. Crystal 120
- 3 lbs. Pumpkin puree
- 1 lb. Rice Hulls
- 1.0 oz US Goldings @60 mins
- 1.0 oz US Goldings @10 mins
- 1 tsp. Ground nutmeg @1 min
- 1 tsp. Ground allspice @1 min
- 1 tsp. Ground cinnamon @1 min
- WLP008 East Coast Ale Yeast
Generally I like simple malt bills but I went a little more complex on this one. The 2-row is pretty standard as a base grain but the rest are all added for a specific purpose. The Munich malt helps add some breadiness as well as a depth to the malt character. The oats are there to provide a bit more mouthfeel. Carapils is there, well for what Carapils does, head retention. I used a variety of crystal malts to try and hit all ends of the caramel/toffee spectrum. The rice hull are there to help stop a stuck sparge. My pumpkin puree was made using the process I described here with the only difference being that I didn’t add any water. I added the spices at the end to make sure I could get as much flavor out of them as possible without having to add them in the secondary. I made sure to make this mash very thin, mashing 12 lbs. of grain and 3 lbs. of pumpkin puree with 6 gallons of water at 153. I sparged with 2 gallons to collect a total of six gallons of wort.
I wasn’t sure which yeast I wanted to go with on this one originally but the homebrew store only had one “standard” American ale yeast in stock so WLP008 was the choice of the day. After doing some research I think this one will do well with the style. It is described as, “Similar neutral character of WLP001, but less attenuation, less accentuation of hop bitterness, slightly less flocculation, and a little tartness. Very clean and low esters.” The beer comes out with the follow stats:
- OG: 1.049
- FG: 1.008
- ABV: 5.37%
- IBUs: 24
As of posting this the beer is sitting in the secondary and my transfer sample tasted very nice. I can’t wait to try this one out in a few weeks.