Hefeweizen IV brew day

Nope.  I’m still not naming my wheat beers…at least until I get one that has the following traits:

  • Stable foamy head
  • Good balance of clove and banana phenols
  • Obscene drinkability

There’s not much to say about this one, I’m afraid:  It was the by-now-familiar grist make-up:

2.5Kg Wheat Malt and 2.5Kg of Pilsener Malt (oh, and 200g of soaked rice husks)

Hops were a measly 6g of ancient Magnums from the freezer.  That should contribute 11 IBUs of bitterness, maybe less; I’m not much bothered, I don’t want much bitterness in it at all really.

I used the following mash rests:

38c Dough-in
42c (15mins) Ferulic Acid rest (for clove-like phenol precursors)
66c (50mins) Sacchrification rest
78c (10mins) Mash-out

One small deviation: I didn’t skim the foam prior to adding the hops, normally I’m an avid skimmer – but not this time…  I also boiled it for exactly one hour…with the lid only partially on the Braumeister – I’ve discovered that this makes for a much more healthy boil, just don’t let the condensation run back into the boiling wort…you’re boiling wort to get rid of DMS and other rubbish…

All went well and I ended up with 22L of 1055 OG wort, into which I put some Mangrove Jack’s Bavarian Wheat Beer yeast.

I didn’t oxygenate, as I read somewhere that a lack of oxygen makes Weizen yeast more expressive.

It’s all now tucked up happily in the brew fridge at somewhere between 19c and 20c.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

BTW: Did you like the video?  It shows a very pretty-looking cold-break.  It’s way more than I usually get, so maybe that’s due to not skimming pre-boil?  It’s certainly not as a result of Irish moss or other protein coagulant, it scarcely seemed worth adding kettle-finings – this being a wheat beer…  Thinking about it, it was quite a vigorous boil…maybe that did it?

Hibiscus Berliner Weisse – Tasting Notes

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After having a good rummage about in Evernote, I found some tasting notes that I didn’t ever get around to getting out on the blog.

Remember this?  https://yeastismybitch.com/2016/10/18/inadvertent-lambic-berliner-weisse-mini-mash/

Well, it actually all ended up coming out rather well…

As you can see from the pictures, the colour of this beer was more akin to Cherryade than anything else, and due to it’s appearance probably shouldn’t be served in anything other than a dainty wine glass.  I think it looks bloody magnificent, but I would, wouldn’t I?

Let’s get this out there right now: this is about as close to a proper Berliner Weisse as you can get, in fact it’s probably one of the most “to-style” beers that I’ve ever brewed.   I’m wildly over-happy with how this one came out.

I say “as close to a Berliner as you can get…” I mean, OK, so just for a laugh I did re-hydrate some 30g of dried Hibiscus flowers in 100ml or so of boiling water and distributed that during bottling – but other than that it’s a Berliner alright…

It’s SOUR and mightily so, but the softness of the lactic acid means that it’s an enjoyable sour and not chrome-strippingly acidic.  There’s also a mild wheaty graininess to it, too.

And, well – let’s be honest about it – there’s LEMONS.  I mean loads of them – but nicely.  Somewhere there’s also faint malt-sweetness, but mostly it’s refreshingly tart…and that’s just how I wanted it.

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The carbonation is spot on and the mouthfeel is smooth and velvety…this means that there’s a lively frothy head, which – rather gratifyingly – does seem to last for a while…

The aftertaste is clean and there’s a very enjoyable dryness which fades to leave rhubarb, tart apple and sherbet echoes.

Hah.  I absolutely completely and utterly nailed this style.  Thus I rule hard; and in doing so, take my leave of you until my next post…

DunkelWeisse – The Maltiest of Wheat Beers

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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.

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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….

Gigantic Grapefruit IPA Recipe

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After a lengthy hiatus, I’ve finally got around to brewing again.

The Brewmaster/Braumeister kept casting me baleful looks as I passed, and in the end it was all too much to bear.

So what did I brew?

I need big IPAs in my life and one of the best, in my opinion, is Ballast Point’s Grapefruit Sculpin.  Ballast Point have recently been on the receiving end of some considerable earache for their merger/buyout by someone or other.

And by all that’s holy do I give a flying toss whether they’ve “sold out” or not?

Nope.

I couldn’t give a tinker’s cuss. As long as they keep pumping out gallons of quality Sculpin, I don’t care.

I mean, I live in rural Oxfordshire, so it’s neither here ‘nor there to me…  They might as well be making this stuff on the moon.

Mind you, if it stops tasting good then I’ll just stop drinking it, No drama. That’s pure economics for you.

Aaaanyway.

As I wanted my beer to be as big as I can possibly get it, I bought 6kg of grain and 200g of Falconer’s Flight pellets: I need my flavours to be distinctly “West Side” *makes W hand sign and feels distinctly like a dick*

Big citrus and pineyness are what we’re after here.

Oh and I used Magnum for bittering; for a grain bill this big we need considerable bitterness from the Magnum, with pretty much all the Falconer’s Flight at the back end, pulling the taste and aroma levers.

At the end of the boil, I cooled to 80C and dumped in my flame-out additions, letting the whole thing have a good half-hour hop stand while it cooled.

Grapefruit Sculpin (see my review here: https://yeastismybitch.com/2016/01/22/gorgeous-gargantuan-grapefruit-bpbrewing-grapefruit-sculpin-ipa/) is a cheery seven or so percent…and so is mine.  By some miracle of extraction I got 22L of 1068 wort into the fermenter and am hoping for a finish of 1009 or so.

Mind you, I’m being a bit careful to tame the West Coast Ale yeast by not fermenting above 17C; any higher than that and we’d get some yeast fruitiness, and this should be a clean beer.

After the krausen drops, I’m going to star-san a grapefruit or two and then zest them straight into the fermenter and then bung in 30 or so grams of FF pellets.

Then with six or so days to go I’m going to hit it with another 30 grams of pellets.

God, I LOVE getting hops into stuff…

When it eventually clears (and it’ll be a while I suspect), I’m going to bottle a fair amount and put some on keg – just for fun.

Here’s the recipe:

Grapefruit

No-name HefeWeizen III – Tasting Notes

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Here’s a review of another Hefeweizen, brewed as part of my eternal quest to brew the perfect representation.

You might remember the brewday from here:

https://yeastismybitch.com/2015/11/05/no-name-hefeweizen-iii/

Well, I’ve been drinking this steadily since a bit before Christmas and can’t make my mind up whether it’s smack on the money or whether I’m just a hopelessly picky bugger.

(My money is on the latter)

So, looks-wise: it’s not as luminous as I’d like it to be. Maybe luminous is a bad word. Hold on, *consults thesaurus* It’s not as effulgent as I’d like. I’m not sure whether that helps or not?

Let’s just say it’s not as prettily glowy, when back­lit, as I’d like it to be…

The colour isn’t as glowily orange as I’d like it to be, either. It’s nice enough ­ but I’d like it to be more pretty.

The head, however, is much better than the last effort, but still doesn’t hang around like it should. Mind you, it’s meringue-­white, so that’s something to be happy with.

In the nose I got a sweetly ­clean malt-breadiness with some spicy clove and banana notes. It’s not at all “banana bomb” like the last one…but it’s certainly fruit forward and I like that in a Weizen.

The carbonation is much better this time around and it stays sparkly-­prickly right to the end of the glass.

As with all my wheats so far; it’s mouth-­filling, immensely drinkable with enjoyable spice and clove/banana flavours.

This particular beer feels way more complex and in balance than the other Hefeweizens that I’ve made…there’s even some excellent creaminess that floods in at the end…

BUT! There’s a faintly annoying bitterness that creeps in at the end of the creaminess and ever so slightly mars the whole thing.

My trusty tasting panel are split 50/50: some love it because they usually drink bitters, so a twang on the end is what they want to keep the consumption going. The other half think any bitterness in a Hefeweizen is out of place and slightly jarring.

I quite like it, but in my heart of hearts I know that it’s not to style and not what I intended…and that annoys the piss out of me.  15 IBUs of bitterness does seem a touch too much…

Next time it’ll be the same recipe with 11 IBUs of bittering hops…and maybe swap some pils malt out to make it into a dunkleweizen.

Maybe the next one will get a name.?

Deck the halls with festive bollocks: A Christmas Belgian Dubbel (with Cherries)

20150708_113530It’s only just October, yet I can already feel the weight of Christmas bearing down on my very soul.  Still, if there’s one good thing about it, it’s seeing their little faces light up as you bring the bottles out…and that’s the adults, rather than the kids.

Don’t you think that kids get enough for Christmas as it is!?

I decided to do a Belgian Dubbel because I haven’t done one before and also because the style should carry the foraged wild cherries well.

Apparently I have enough cherries in the freezer for 10L only (according to this advice: http://byo.com/hops/item/679-fruit-brew-part-2-techniques) so with a bit of rounding up and buggering around it looks like 1Kg of cherries for every 5L of beer.  The remaining 13L will go into bottles as a standard Belgian Dubbel.

The Dubbel style calls for maltiness without too much hop, so it seems a perfect vehicle for the fruit.  My taste of this beer as it went into the fermenter was deeply malty with a nice chocolate malt edge.  Cherries and Chocolate, how nice is that?

I did the usual Braumeister routine but with a higher maltose rest to encourage some more body (mash-in at 38C, maltose rest at 67C [80 mins] and mashed out at 76C [10 mins]), you can find the recipe below and also note that I’m using Safebrew Abbaye dried yeast – which I’m reliably told by my wife “stinks”, while it’s fermenting…

What “stinks” to my wife is usually a good solid Belgian phenol ferment to me.  Once it got going it went like a steam train.

After two weeks, I’ll rack 10 litres off into a carboy with the cherries – which I’ll be sulphiting for 24 hours beforehand.  Much as I love sour beer, this isn’t going to be one, and there’ll wild yeast aplenty on those cherries.

I’m also going to purge the carboy with C02 as I don’t want any staling from 02 exposure.  I expect I’ll leave it then until December 1st and then bottle it for Chrimbo.

I’ll update this post with all that fun and games when I do it…

Here’s the recipe, see how I cunningly used up a right load of odds and ends!  (Including 600g of Thai Palm sugar)

Dubbel

Menage a Trois (100% Brett/Sacch. Trois) Pale Ale – Tasting Notes

20150715_191948Well, here’s a new one on me: a tasting in two halves:

Part One: Two weeks in the bottle

Slightly hazy orange-amber, with a lovely running bead and a great snow-white head that lasts to the bottom of the glass.

Gorgeously sweetly tropical, not resinous or dank, just good solid juicy tropical – which was precisely what I was after.  Thanks, Enigma hops!

(Juicy tropical is very much a la mode in pales and IPAs at the moment.  Christ, I’m sooooo “now“)

The mouth-feel is good and solid, and the taste is complex fruit and malt-sweetness – all accentuated by the spot-on carbonation.  The bitterness is exceptionally smooth, thanks to a lot of the bittering coming from the late hop additions.   At the end there’s a slightly dry note before the fruits and tropical notes come stampeding back in again.

Not as extreme and fruity as other beers that I’ve had but very good nonetheless.  I really couldn’t say how much fruitiness the Brett/Sacch Trois delivered, I’d challenge anyone to pick it out in a line-up based on the yeast alone.

All in all, I’m happy.  It’s a jolly drop and goes down just a bit too easily.

Part Two: Four weeks or so in the bottle

Well, it’s gin-clear now and still that lovely orange-amber colour with that same fantastic head.  The carbonation seems that touch stronger – but it’s well within style for a pale.

BUT.  Where’s all the fruit gone?  Has all that tropical fruitiness really disappeared in a couple of weeks?  There’s still remnants of it there, but it’s a shadow of it’s former self.  A lot of the sweetness has gone too, and we’re into a much drier sort of beast.

Don’t get me wrong it’s still a great beer, but it’s nothing like it was two weeks ago.  It’s more like a very gluggable Saison now…

Good job I’ve got a lot of bottles left…I think there’ll be plenty of updates as this beer ages.

Two take-aways:

1) I need to test Enigma hops again – I’ve yet to be convinced of their flavour and aroma durability/stability in a beer.

2) Brett/Sacch Trois definitely ain’t a Brett (see recipe post) but it’s also definitely not your run of the mill Sacch either.  This could be a yeast variety to specialize in…I’m sure it’s capable of great things…