Weissbier 2013

I’m outta homebrew now after the Crawfish Boil, and with the success of the beer at that party, I think we should expand last year’s Oktoberfest celebration (where we drank the flat Backyard Hefe-Weizen). Cellar temperature dictates top fermenting yeast or I would do another Oktoberfest.

Grinding the grains

Grinding the grains

I’ve been brewing this recipe for years, but I’m tweaking it to compare yeast strains and theoretically to make it even more palatable for my Bud-drinking friends. Instead of the 3638 Bavarian Wheat or the 3068 Weihenstephan Weizen that I’ve used before, we’ll use the 3056 Bavarian Wheat Blend. This is a milder version with a neutral yeast strain added to “soften” and “balance” the stronger Bavarian yeast. We’ll cut back a little on the grain, reducing both the wheat and Pilsner malts by a pound. This will lower the gravity a bit, and with the clean yeast, produce a nice session Weissbier that should go over well at a party.

Andouille sausage for lunch

Andouille sausage for lunch

I am considering brewing back-to back days in order to save a few bucks on yeast and to have a beer to drink at the next brew session. However, that would be an exhausting weekend if I tried it. (Weissbier #2)

Weissbier #1- White

The brew store had 5 pound bags of wheat, both in “white” and “red”. This will be the White Wheat Beer.

Grain Bill-

  • 5 pounds Pilsner malt
  • 5 pounds wheat malt, white
  • 8 oz crystal malt 10 L
  • 8 oz dextrin malt (CaraPils)

Hops- 1.5 oz Hallertau 4.1%, 60 minutes

Yeast-

  • Wyeast 3056 Bavarian Wheat Blend
  • June 5- Began yeast in 2-3 pints of malt extract, three days before brewing.
Rob with hoppy beer.

Rob with hoppy beer

Brewers-

  • Charlie
  • Dickie
  • Alan B.
  • Rob
  • Christine
  • Emma
  • Tom

Brewing Schedule- June 8, 2013

  • 9 AM- Make coffee, crush grains, and begin heating water
  • 9:45 AM- Mash in 128F; 30 minute protein rest
  • 10:15- Decoction 1- remove 40% of thickest part of mash to second kettle
    • Raise second kettle to 158 F, hold 20 minutes for saccharification
    • Keep rest mash at 122-127F
    • Bring second kettle to boil; boil 30 minutes
  • 11:30- Recombine with rest mash; raise temp to 145-153F; hold for 30 minutes
  • 12:00- Decoction 2- Remove ¼ mash and slowly raise to boil for 15 minutes
  • 12:30- Recombine with rest mash; raise temp to 158-162F; hold 1 hour
  • 1:30- Mash out; raise to 170F and hold 10 minutes
  • 2:15 pm- Lauter
    Lautering at the treehouse

    Lautering at the treehouse

    • late start heating sparge water because we were drinking and talking
    • good one hour, slow sparge
    • nearly 8 gallons of wort
  • 4 pm- Boil
    • 4:30- add hops and smell the goodness
    • 1.5 ounces, 4.1% Hallertau for 60 minutes
  •  5:30 pm- Cold break
  •  6:30 pm- Pitch Yeast
  • Poor man's cold break

    Poor man’s cold break

    Starting Gravity – 1.053, right where we wanted it.

  • Collected nearly 7 gallons of wort, too much really but gravity is ideal.
  • Sample was perfect. Good flavor and color. Nothing off.

A good brewing day, nice warm, sunny weather. Good friends joined in and we grilled  andouille sausages on baguettes for lunch.

Fermentation

Had a solid heart beat in less than 2 hours! The beer is in the large glass carboy and I’m concerned that there’s not enough headroom.

June 9- My fears that there was not enough headroom were confirmed. The airlock was a frothy mess the following morning. I cleaned it up and it chugged all day. It’s not my usual practice, but after 24 hours of fermentation, I racked this beer into a 5 gallon carboy in order to reuse the primary fermenter and the yeast for Weissbier #2- Red, which I brewed the day after this beer. Naturally, I put too much beer into the 5 gallon carboy and  as it continued to ferment, it foamed over again. However by Monday, June 10, after another frothy cleanup, it appears that this beer has settled into a steady heart beat.

I did a gravity check when I racked, 1.024. It still has a ways to go, but the majority of it is done already, and as noted above, it continues to chug along.

June 12- After racking this beer into a smaller carboy, it continues to ferment, bubbling solidly. However, to my surprise, Weiss #2 has slowed down. #1 continues to ferment more strongly than #2, which was pitched 24 hours later. That doesn’t make sense to me, same yeast, same beer. If anything, #2 should have been over pitched. Does over pitching change the fermentation rate negatively? I’ll likely rack both beers tomorrow and check gravity for some answers.

Twin Beers

Twin Beers

June 17- Final Gravity = 1.013 just like Weissbier #2. This beers are identical. At first I thought that Weiss #2 was slightly darker, but this is not the case. Both are cloudy, muddy yellow amber in the carboys. They taste and smell the same. Both samples are very good aroma and flavor, perhaps a little thin on mouth feel, but this may be because both beers are green. For the record, this yeast doesn’t taste discernibly different from the other Weizen yeasts I’ve used.

I’ve now combined half of each beer into two carboys, so from this point forward they are the same beer. I think they will be ideal for the fest. They’ll be great cold and well carbonated. Perhaps I’ll bottle 5 gallons and keg the other 5.

Results

We kegged both Weiss beers. We drank both kegs at the Oktoberfest. They were indistinguishable and perfect. This traditional Bavarian wheat beer is always a hit with the crowd and these beers were no exception. A must for next year.

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