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…

Summer Summit Pale Ale

20150721_104209After an exciting birthday haul of brewing bits and pieces* my latest brew gave me the ideal opportunity to give them all a bit of a try-out

(*PH Strips, iodine, lactic acid and wort aeration bits and bobs, if you must know…)

I thought I deserved a pale ale style with a ton of exciting hops – and why not have those exciting hops delivered by way of an entire 100g pack of Summit pellets…for use as late additions only.?

Mmmm, it’s going to be hop-tastic.

Here’s the recipe, which you might notice looks a bit light in the way of pale malt, and that’s because I’m a bloody idiot and didn’t weigh it out properly – ending up with 2.5Kg of Maris Otter in the grist, when I should actually have had 3.5Kg.

Summer Summit Pale Ale

But I did have a spare pack of Thai palm sugar, and 400g of that brought the gravity back into line…and as a bonus, it should dry the body out a little to make the finished beer even more hop-forward.

The mash was a typical Braumeister sort of affair: 38C dough-in, 66C maltose rest and a 76C mash-out: for 0 Mins, 80 Mins and 10 Mins respectively.

But remember: for this brew I had toys, so here’s some additional fun information:

  • Filtered mash and sparge water: circa 6.2 PH
  • The mash at 0 Mins (Dough-in): circa 6.1 PH with an iodine test that turned blue – indicating unconverted starch in the mash…unsurprisingly.
  • The mash at 10 Mins: (Start of maltose rest) 5.9-6.0 PH with an iodine test that still showed blue
  • The mash at 45 Mins: 5.4/5.5 ph and a clear light-brownish iodine test – showing starch conversion was complete, but the refractometer only showed a gravity of 1038, which is the point where I did the maths and realised that I’d cocked up my weighing out of the grain…and that’s when I started weighing out the palm sugar.

But all the starch converted within 45 minutes?  Really?  There was still a solid 35 minutes left of the 66C mash rest.  I double-checked and it really had all converted.

In theory I could have bailed out of the 66C mash rest there and then – and gone straight to mash out at 76C, but the wort was still cloudy, so I just left it to re-circulate and do it’s thing.

Maybe next time, if the wort is clear and all the starch is converted, I’ll bail out early and save myself over half-an-hour and a good old chunk of electricity.

The PH testing also goes to show that I can make pale beers without any additional water treatment: if a piddly bit of Munich malt and some wheat malt are sufficient to drop the mash PH to anywhere between 5.8 and 5.4, I’m a happy man.

The rest of the brew went off OK.  I added the dissolved palm sugar during the boil and got a gravity reading of 1048 – which is good enough for me, with a bit of luck we’ll be looking at a finished ABV of 4.5 – 4.8%

Just before pitching the US-05 yeast, I aerated the wort for a minute at what looked like a slow simmer.

The beer is busily tanking away in a carboy in the shower-room that’s stood in a bucket of water to keep it to around 20C

…a bucket of water that leaked last night all over the spare bedroom carpet , which was enormously welcome when we were all trying to get out of the door this morning…this beer had better be good.

PS: It’ll be getting a dose of 30g of Summit pellets for dry-hop on Monday (at 6 days), and I might even keg-hop it with some whole-leaf summit in a hop sock as I need that sort of hoppiness in my life.!