DunkelWeisse – The Maltiest of Wheat Beers


I’m happy to say that wanting to brew is an itch that has returned to me in the last week or so….and you know what to do with a good itch, don’t you?

I must admit that since trying Weihenstephaner Dunkel Weisse and enjoying it enormously (review to follow at some point) I’ve been desperate to make a clone.

As per usual, the web was full of useful, unhelpful and downright bizarre advice – including one recipe for this dark WHEAT beer that had no wheat in the grain bill at all?  I know we’re not all Rheinehetsgebot puritans, but that’s plain mental…

Fortunately the BJCP were on hand to give me some hints and tips as regards the style and vaguely which ballpark I should be playing in: http://www.bjcp.org/docs/2015_Guidelines_Beer.pdf (the Dunkels Weizen section)

So I needed a fairly normal wheat, but this time with a solid malty backbone.  The colour seems to be pretty important too as it should be dark enough to distinguish it from the standard wheats.  Obviously if I was a braver, more resourceful and more time-rich brewer I’d be decocting the hell out of the wort – which would really make malts heavier and just that bit darker.

But as I’m none of those things right now, I aimed to make it right with some speciality malt additions:

Dunkel Weizen

That big old dose of Munich ought to help bring a more bready taste and aroma, with the CaraAroma really pushing the malt angle.  The Carafa II is just there to bring the colour on a bit, but as it’s a de-husked grain there’ll be no burnt astringency nastiness.


I mashed as per my normal Braumeister/Brewmaster regime (see here: https://yeastismybitch.com/2015/11/05/no-name-hefeweizen-iii/)

I tasted a little as I got to near to the end of the boil and it was fantastically malty and very clean tasting.  I got 22L of 1053 OG wort into the fermenter, which was a bit off the mark, but it’s no biggie…

Hopefully, with the grain bill, mash and boil all going of well we should be in for a treat.

…that is, as long as the weather doesn’t go and ruin it.

England is currently basking – more like: flaked out, beaten-up and being partially desiccated – in some high summer temperatures.  Overnight it didn’t drop below 20c in my utility room, which meant that everyone’s favourite mentalist yeast – WLP300 – had started up within 6 hours of being pitched (no starter, so sue me.  I live on the edge, man.)

Outside it’s expected to hit 27C today (80ish F in old/US money) and that, with an already crazy exothermic ferment going on could see us going high enough to start chucking out harsh fusel alcohols…

However, old-school problems demand old school solutions: I wrapped an old sweatshirt around the carboy and made sure that it was light-tight, and then doused the whole thing in cold water.  I’ll be regularly damping down this week, I guess.  The evaporating water should help to cool the whole thing down a bit.  I Hope.

Tomorrow we might get to 30C…yikes.

…this now leaves me wishing two things:

One, that I’d gone and done a Saison instead.  I’d have just let the Saison do what it wanted.  30C?  Yeah, fill your boots, go crazy…create all the Saison character you like Mr Dupont Strain…

…and two, I’m blimmin’ glad I didn’t do anything involving a fairly standard ale yeast….

Universal Sanction India Pale Ale

Oh, the name?  It’s an anagram of Nelson Sauvin and Citra.  I’m not that clever, I went here for inspiration:  http://www.wordsmith.org/anagram

Anyway.  Here I am with a week off of work, having done all the chores and bits and pieces for the day I thought I might get myself a brew on in the Braumeister/Brewmaster.

Having had a modicum of success with defining a “house” malt bill for all of my hoppy beers when brewing the HxPA (https://yeastismybitch.com/2014/03/28/t-n-t-hxpa-highly-explosive-pale-ale-in-a-braumeister/), I decided to fiddle with that grain schedule yet again to see if it would work any other way around.

Hop-wise I had 100g of Citra pellets put aside for this, but joy unconfined – I also found 80g of Nelson Sauvin leaf hops in the freezer, so I’m going to bung them in as well.  Even though this isn’t barn-storming gravity, it’s going to be hopped to buggery and back again: Citra is potent enough on it’s own, but with a back up of Neslon Sauvin we’re going to be talking massive hoppage.

I restrained the bitterness to 53IBU or so, as I don’t want to frighten off any one…I used my by now standard Braumeister mash schedule:

Dough-in: 38C

First Rest: 53C (5Mins)

Second Rest: 67C (70Mins)

Third Rest: 73C (5Mins)

Mash Out: 78C (5Mins)

Citra and Nelson

I might bottle the lot as this will be something to savour.  Don’t tell Eve, the whole house is starting to bung up with brewing stuff, so god knows where I’m going to store 40 odd more bottles of beer.

Our on-suite shower is pretty much a full time fermentation chamber…talking of which I’m going to try S04 yeast this time instead of the usual US-05 – just for a little more yeast character.

Me and S04 have a chequered past – I have known it drop out of suspension at around 1020 – which is just not acceptable, I don’t want to have to rouse the bugger.  Hopefully the hotter weather will keep it charging along to somewhere around 1012 or lower.

Will update this post with post-boil gravity and volume when I get there…


I got 22 or so Litres at 1052, which wasn’t too bad considering.  5 Litres of sparge water was never going to replace the sheer volume of liquor that got sucked up by all those hops and grain.  Still, I should end up with something like 5.25% – assuming S04 pulls it’s finger out of it’s arse and ferments out to 1012; any lower than that and I’ll be well impressed.

I have pictures – which I will post when I get to work or somewhere with better than 1Mbps bandwidth (and that’s down speed, the good lord alone knows what the upload speed is.  Sometimes it’s rubbish living in the sticks.)

T ‘n’ T HXPA (Highly eXplosive Pale Ale) in a Braumeister


In your face IPAs…I’ve defined a new style: HXPA.  It’s sure to catch on, so just remember you heard it here first….you know me; any excuse to work up an eye-catching name for a brew.

I couldn’t help but buy a packet of  T ‘n’ T pellets from the Rob at the Malt Miller when I saw them (http://www.themaltmiller.co.uk/index.php?_a=viewProd&productId=524) as they were different, interesting looking and very attractively priced at £3.80 for 100g

I’m sure the name T ‘n’ T has absolutely frig-all to do with explosives in any shape or form…so it’s still a bit of a mystery to me why these hops are so named.  I’ve searched about quite a bit and don’t seem to be able to unearth much about them – save for vague allusions to tastes of  “Intense red berry fruits”, “citrus”, etc.

The brew has been in the primary fermenter for about 9 days now, so today I’ll be dosing with the dry hops.  I may also sling in 30g of Nelson Sauvin that I kept in the freezer – or I may save them for my next brew which will crammed with boatloads of Citra.

Here’s the recipe for the HXPA brew, note that with this one is all about the late hop additions…that’s where I want the impact to be – not wasted on 30 minute additions.  I’ve kept the bitterness at a relatively low 41 IBU, so we’re staying in Pale Ale territory and not straying into IPA madness:


Plus there’s a dose of Munich and Vienna malt – just to further contribute to the body.

I managed to get 21.5L of 1059 wort into the fermenter and am using US-05 yeast as I trust it and love it in equal measures.  I followed my standard mashing schedule in the Braumeister (see previous post here: https://yeastismybitch.com/2013/11/12/homebrewed-thornbridge-kipling-clone-braumeister-version/) but pushed the sacchrification rest to 67C as I’d like to get a smidge more body in the finished beer.

I hope that the US-05 will rip through the wort and leave me with a finishing gravity somewhere around 1010, which should give 6.4% ABV of explosive hoppy goodness…

Tasting notes will follow…

Chinook and Cascade – Indian Dark Pale Ale (IDPA) on a Braumeister/Brewmaster

Well now I’ve got me a Speidel Brewmaster, it’d be wasteful not to get a brew on, wouldn’t it?

This is the partner brew to the Chinarillo IPA (https://yeastismybitch.com/2013/06/20/home-brewed-chinarillo-ipa/) and as this one has got a bit of additional black malt in it -primarily to mark it apart from the Chinarillo IPA- and because it’s 28EBC or so in colour it can’t possibly just be an Indian Pale Ale, so it must be an Indian Dark Ale…

I tried to use Graham Wheeler’s Beer Engine software to work out the malt bill, but gave up for the time being – choosing to adopt the “suck it and see” approach.  Maybe at some point I’ll get the impetus and time to work out my effiiciences.

In order to see the comedic goings on that occurred during this brew day, read here:


For the recipe and some further information, refer to the following:


Speidel Brewmaster: First Brew (mishaps, gotchas and some solutions)

When my BM arrived on Friday, I couldn’t wait to get brewing.  Unfortunately what with everything going I did have to wait until Sunday evening…

Saturday evening did allow me a little play-time, where I tested the pumps and set up the mashing schedule program for the following evening.  After reading loads of conflicting suggestions I decided to go with the following (bear in mind that this is an American IPA style beer and I’m still getting my head around more than one available mash temperature!)

Dough-in at 38C
5 minutes protein rest at 53C
70 minutes Maltose rest at 66C
5 minutes Alpha Amylase rest at 73C
5 minutes Mash-out rest at 78C


I filled up the BM with 25 litres of filtered water, set the pre-programmed program going and waited.  I got some beeps after about ten minutes – meaning that the dough-in temperature of 38C had been reached.  So I stirred in my malt bill, locked down the malt pipe and screens with the retaining bar, put the lid on and left it to it.

(yeah, right…I actually spent a good half-an-hour watching the recirculating mash.  My wife got tired of it waaaaay before I did.)

Everything went swimmingly, the mash recirculated and I did some clearing up, and some other things that needed doing.  I remembered to weigh out the hops too.

20130901_212605Smashingly clear wort.  You can even see the filters through it

After the cycle was complete, more peeping alerted me to the fact that the BM wanted me to do something…and that something was remove the malt-pipe for the “sparge” (yes, I even remembered to separately get 8 litres of water up to 78C in the meantime…)

I undid the retaining bar, put the angled rod across the rim of the BM and lifted the pipe.  Hell, it was heavy – especially as, even though I’m a good 6’2″, it was quite a challenge to lift it up when it was on already on a kitchen worktop.

BM Error No. 1:  Have the BM on a lower surface.  It will make things easier to lift in future…but make sure that it’s still high enough to drain into a fermenter

Then, for some reason unknown to me, I decided to try and work out how much sparge water was required by lifting the malt-pipe and screens clear of the BM to see how much wort was in there.  BIG MISTAKE.  Holding a full malt-pipe (5Kg grain and probably 5 or 6 Kg of water) at the almost full extent to my arm’s reach while trying to relocate it (unsighted) back onto the central spindle of the BM is a fools game.

I had to call my wife away from whatever it was she was doing to put some lengths of wood across the BM rim to take the malt-pipe while I sparged – whilst watching some of the delightfully clear wort piss all over the kitchen floor and worktops

BM Error No. 2: Don’t lift the malt-pipe off of the central spindle until you want to remove it completely when you’ve finished sparging.  If you want to work out how much to sparge, think about the volume of water you put in and what you want your pre-boil volume to be, and then work it out based on that – bearing in mind that the volume loss to grain absorbtion is usually about 1 litre of water per kilo of grain.

So after that comedy caper, and lots of swearing, topping up with some filtered water, etc. I got a pre-boil volume of around 26 litres.  Once it got going, the boil went like a steam-train, I’m glad that I got the insulating jacket as that must have helped it crank along so well.

20130901_222457Lovely boil.  Note the central spindle that I had trouble with

I added a total of 125grams of hops in stages throughout the boil and they all surged about nicely and everything smelt lovely.

My wort chiller fitted perfectly into the BM and I even managed to remember the Irish Moss ten minutes before the end.  At boil end I took the thermal jacket off and set the chiller to work…

After a fair while (I wasn’t running the pump with that many hops in there – no chance – that would have been asking for a blockage) it was time for the run-off.

BM Error No. 3:  Don’t use the supplied tap.  It’s just too weeny to be any bloody use to anyone.  After standing there for bloody ages while it blocked up with hops and tiddled wort about like a potty-training toddler, I ended up spraying the tap with star san and physically unscrewing it and letting the wort run off through a sanitized sieve and funnel combination.

So far as I understand it’s a 3/4″ BSP female socket where the tap screws into on the BM, so I’ve just been onto the BES website and am ordering:

16830: 3/4″ Stainless Steel one-piece ball valve £8.70
14409: 3/4″ Stainless Steel Hexagon Nipple £1.91
14559: 3/4″ Stainless Steel Hose Tail Adapter £3.13


That should be a much better tap solution than the current BM standard item.  I will also fashion a hop filter of some sort too.

I did have to do a little careful tipping of the BM to get the last of the wort out, but in the end I got a fairly healthy 20 Litres of 1059 IPA into the fermenter.  I would have liked more – and the BM is certainly capable of providing more, but for a first shot I’m fairly happy.

Given the amount of wort I spilt/didn’t sparge properly/lost to hops and trub and the fact that it was only a 5Kg grain bill I could have done 23 litres at 1059 or higher with no problems…the efficiency on the BM is that magnificent and there’s still plenty of room in that malt-pipe!

Recipe details to follow in a separate post…

BES (Pipe Fittings): http://www.bes.co.uk

BM Suppliers Extraordinaire: http://www.vigoltd.com

Speidel Braumeister: I’ve only gone and done it… (UPDATED)


I have, you know…I’ve only gone ordered myself a 20 litre Speidel Brewmaster yesterday…

(See my previous agonizing on a Brewmaster purchase here: https://yeastismybitch.com/2013/08/09/speidel-brewmaster/)

Oh Lloyds, my dear bank account, will you ever forgive me?

My wife has…but only by promise of a trip to Hatton Garden for something sparkly…she has also just successfully borne our second child too.  For bearing our first I bought her a chicken house (not to keep the child in, you understand.)

Back to the Brewmaster…do you mind me calling it a Brewmaster?  It sounds less teutonic*, uptight and haughty than “Braumeister”, doesn’t it?

(*not that there’s anything wrong with Germans, Germany or anything like that, I just think “Braumeister” sounds affected and poncey.  A bit like when people say ‘erbs instead of herbs when trying to be posh.  I’ll stop going on about it, now.)

I placed my order with the good people at Vigo ltd.  They seem to be the sole importers of Speidel kit in the UK, and also sport a very comprehensive line in other drink production/brewery equipment: fruit-stoning machines, cider presses, bottling machines all that sort of thing.

If I ever go the microbrewery route I know where I’ll be buying my bits from.

In the course of my conversations with Jon at Vigo I mentioned this blog and he offered to chuck in a free thermo-jacket for the Brewmaster, so that was nice of him.

I think what really sealed the deal is that they are quite the cheapest stockists of Speidel kit in the UK and they also carry a lot of it as stock…a lot of other re-sellers have to order it from Speidel in Germany which adds to the agonising wait time.

When placing my order I was told by Michelle at Vigo that the lead time on delivery is three days.  I hope this means I get it before the weekend – as that means I’ll be able to to brew!  Keep an eye out for the recipe – it’ll be a Chinook and Cascade IPA.  Get on!

Full report on packaging, delivery, the machine itself will follow in due course.  So far the experience of ordering with Vigo has been a very positive one.  If you’re in the market for Speidel (or even a new bottling plant!) you now know where to go:

Vigo:  http://www.vigoltd.com/

Speidel Braumeister: http://www.speidels-braumeister.de/



The BM arrived, beautifully packaged and in fine fettle on the Friday.  See pictures below (it’s soooo shiny):

20130830_204436  20130830_204931  20130830_211708