Das Matterhorn Weizenbier

June 7, 2014

Today, for the first time, we brewed a full barrel of beer.

The Weizen is arguably our most popular beer. We’ll need 15 gallons for Oktoberfest, 5 gallons are targeted for a secondary fermentation with tart cherries, and the other 10 will go quickly. We pushed the limits of our system. We were pretty sure we could handle it and at the end of the day we had 10 gallon in the fermenter (25 gallons in the barrel fermenter and 5 in a glass carboy).

We had hard rains today with tornado sirens going off, but the weather didn’t stop our fun. The weather was appropriate for the ascent of our Matterhorn. It was a long day, running from 9 AM until 9 PM. We worked together and appear to have made a lot of good beer today.

Brewmaster- Dickie S

Brewers- Charles U, Rob S, Kyle, B, Tom W, Tom V

Mash Bill-

  • 25# Pilsner malt
  • 25# Wheat malt
  • 2# Carapils- dextine malt
  • 2# 60L crystal

Hop Bill-

  • 5 ounces Hallertau 4.1% for 60 minutes

Yeast-

  • Wyeast 3068 Weihenstephan Wheat

Mash Schedule-

  • 9 AM Start- prep brewyard, haul mashwater, grind grains
  • 10 AM- Strike temp 140F
  • 10:07- Mash-in 133 F (too hot)
  • 10:45- Decoct 10 gallons, raise to 158, hold 20 minutes
    • 10:55- Raise decoction to boil and boil for 30 minutes
    • Rest mash stays above 130 F with lid open (too hot)
  • Noon- Recombine raises temp to 160 F (too hot), hold for 15 minutes
  • 12:45 PM- Decoction 2- raise 6 gallons to boil and boil for 15 minutes
  • 1:15 PM- Recombine to raise temp to 155 F (now running too cool?), hold for 60 minutes
    • Added 3 gallons of boiling water to raise temp to 160 F
  • 2:00 PM- Mash-out by adding 8 gallons of boiling water to raise temp to 168 F, which is just right

Lauter-

  • 2:45 PM- Vorlauf
  • 3 PM- Run-off
  • 3:15 PM- Sparge with 19 gallons
  • 4:20 PM- 37 gallons of wort in kettle; it is maxed out!

Boil-

  • 4:30 PM- Boil and add hops

Starting Gravity = 1.045 (on the low side but must have 32-33 gallons of wort)

8 PM- end of day

Primary Fermentation-

Sunday morning 5 AM, less than 12 hours since pitching the yeast, Tom and Casey W, who have been tasked with night-watch on the beer, avert disaster. The beer is fermenting so vigorously, it has breached the headroom in the 30 gallon barrel fermenter. Tom installed a blow-off tube, but it filled with yeast and foam quickly. Soon after the barrel fermenter blowing, the smaller, 7 gallons fermenter blew.  All we can really do is monitor and keep things clean. The best news is, we made beer!

Secondary Fermentation-

Wednesday, June 18- 11 days since brew day

Filled 5 carboys with Weizen, totaling 25 gallons. Sample is good. Gravity is 1.011 out of the barrel fermenter and 1.014 out of the glass carboy. Blended both batches. The sample out of the barrel fermenter was a little thin on body, but all good otherwise.

The remaining 5 gallons went on approximately 10 pounds of tart cherries we picked at the farm. We prepped the cherries by heat pasteurizing and then freezing them. After thawing out, we funneled them into the big glass carboy and then racked the beer.

The sugars in the cherries restarted fermentation. Should have left more head space.

July 11-

All the beer has been racked to tertiary. The beer is clear and ready to keg. Charles dropped off kegs last night and the plan is to keg them all in the next few days.

The Cherry Wheat is a pretty pink color and has cleared considerably. That beer may stay in tertiary for a while for further clearing.

August 8-

4 kegs of Weizen were racked in July, 3 of which will go to Okotberfest. 5 gallons were bottled in July. I am sampling one today; I’m impressed. The flavors, like all Weizens we’ve made, are right on target. I was concerned about the mouthfeel and that perhaps it would be too thin; however, this bottle is fine. I’m a little surprised that the beer isn’t clearer, but for a Weizen that isn’t a knock. It’s just that in the past, they’ve racked out pretty clean. This bottle is cloudy per the typical hefe weizen.

I have the final gravity marked on the brew board from when I kegged/bottled in July as 1.009. That’s an ABV of 4.7%.

I plan on kegging the Kirch Weizen this week. It’s ABV will be even higher with the addition of the cherry sugars.

I am quite pleased with the bottled Weizen as representative of our work.

August 13-

Victory is ours once again! We presented our Weizen at the Brewminati’s Wheat Beer Competition and beat 10 other beers to take first place! We came home with another UCBC jug, different from the one we won for the ESB in June.

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