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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.

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.

Belgian IPA Recipe

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.

Belgian Wit Recipe

It has been super hot here for that past few days and I have been itching to brew something. The combination of heat and the perceived need to brew something light and refreshing lead me to try my had at a Belgian Wit. I haven’t tired to brew a Belgian beer in almost two years, and I’ve never brewed a Belgian Wit.

My recipes are generally a combination of research and simplicity. I find that many homebrewers often like to add 300 specialty grains because the grains add “something special” to their beers. I’m more of the mindset of, “breweries probably don’t add too many grain to their beers as they would cost to much to make, so I shouldn’t either.” I’ve been known to go crazy from time to time, but in general I like the KISS approach to brewing. For this beer, I kept the grain bill simple, but I added some ingredients that I have never worked with before to the mix. You can see my recipe below:

  • 5 lbs. Pilsner
  • 4 lbs Wheat Malt
  • .5 lb Oats
  • 1 oz Hallertau (3.0% AA) @ 60 min
  • 1 oz Saaz (2.6% AA) @15 min
  • .5 oz Bitter dried orange peel @ 5 min
  • .5 oz Coriander @5 min
  • Yeast: WLP410

I only went with three types of grain on this one with a slight edge to the Pilsner malt as I wanted to keep this beer out of a 50/50 ratio with the wheat. The wheat malt is still over 40% of the grain bill but I also wanted to try out oats as I’ve never had a chance to brew with them before. I’m hoping that they help give this beer a more silky character. The hops are pretty traditional European hops with low alpha acids and serve to help keep the beer in balance but are not intended to add any significant flavor or smell contribution.

The end of the recipe is where I was most excited. I’ve tried dried orange peel before but it has been almost four years and I thought this would be an excellent recipe to try it in again. The coriander is there to help the Wit be a bit more assertive in the spices that the yeast give off. WLP410 is on of White Labs seasonal releases that is only out there for May and June. It is rumored that it is the house Brewery Ommegang strain. It apparently has less phenolics then a typical Wit yeast strain and gives off more esters. It also doesn’t ferment as fully but I figure that the Coriander and esters will help give the beer a drying feeling at the end instead of leaving it overly sweet. The projected stats for this beer can be seen below:

  • Expected OG: 1.046
  • Expected FG: 1.011
  • Expected ABV: 4.5%
  • Expected IBUs: 14.5

I brewed this beer prior to posting this recipe and I did pretty well getting an OG of 1.042. I did make a mistake with the orange peel and coriander as I added them with my last hop addition instead of at the 5 minute mark.

Summer Blonde Ale Recipe

It has been some time since I posted a homebrew recipe on this site. As I mentioned previously , I haven’t brewed in about three months but I brewed a fair amount before my dormant period. I will make sure to get the recipes for my other beers up on here at some point soon.

If you have been following this blog for any period of time you will know that I love a beer with a bready finishing note. My wife likes the bready finish more than I do so when it came time to plan out my next beer recipe, I made sure to make something that was a bit more malt forward. While being more malt focused than normal, I didn’t want anything super sweet, and certainly not caramel flavors. I also wanted to make something that could be used to drink for the remainder of the summer.

I started by deciding to make an American Blonde Ale. This style very light in flavor and hopping, but also allows for some variety in both hops and malt. Using the American Blonde Ale style as my guide, with the following considerations:

  • Original Gravity: 1.035-1.050
  • Color: 3-6 SRM
  • Alcohol: 4%-5.5%
  • Bitterness: 15-25 IBUs

After reading a few more things about the style I found a few things about the flavor profile that I wanted to change. Jamil Zainasheff says “Blonde ale should always be a smooth, easy to drink beer with a clean fermentation profile and just a touch of malt character.” I wanted to add a level of yeast character to this beer with some fruity notes. For this reason I decided to use an English Ale style yeast that will help the beer hold some sweetness and also give it some nice fruity esters. I also decided to use about 10% wheat malt to give a bit a different malt character than a typical American Blonde Ale.

Below is the recipe that I decided on:

  • 7 lbs Pilsner Malt
  • 1 lbs Munich Malt
  • 1 lbs Torrified Wheat Malt
  • 1 oz Saaz hops at 60 mins.
  • 1 oz Saaz hops at 5 mins.
  • Wyeast 1318 London Ale III

I am hoping that this combination of ingredients will produce a beer that has a slightly richer body than an American Blonde Ale and that has a medium amount of fruity esters. If all goes right, my Summer Blonde Ale will have the following stats:

  • 5.25 SRM
  • 4.5% ABV
  • 22.5 IBUs

I’m looking forward to brewing this beer. There isn’t a lot of room for mistakes with this flavor profile so any mistakes will be very noticeable.