The Very Rich Hours of the Lambrights

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Brew Day–Hefeweizen #2

July 30th, 2010 · No Comments

Once again, it’s Brew Day!  Tonight (the fun had to wait until the girls were in bed for the night), our beer is Hefeweizen.  This is my second attempt at this beer.  Hefeweizen is a German wheat beer.  Typically made with around 60% wheat malt and 40% barley, this ale is usually light in color and boasts an alcohol content of 4% to 6%.  Mouthfeel is also typically light; this is a good refreshing beer for a hot summer day.  The only thing that keeps it from being a lawnmower beer is the assertive flavor it gets from the yeast.  Yeast strains used for Hefeweizen give the beer distinct flavors of cloves, banana, or even bubble gum (in a subtle way).  A peppery hint on the back of the tongue is not unheard of.  Bitterness is not part of the flavor profile; the hops are there simply as a counterweight to the sweetness of the malt and don’t lend much flavor of their own.

My last batch of Hefeweizen turned out pretty good.  Fermentation got a little too warm resulting in a mild off-flavor.  The clove flavor dominates, however, and there is a definite hint of that peppery spice at the end of a swallow.  Color is way off; the beer is more amber than yellow; this issue may not be avoidable as long as I’m brewing with malt extract.

So, what’s the plan tonight?  First, the recipe:

6 lbs of Northern Brewer house brand wheat malt extract
1 oz. of Tettnang hops with 3.5% Alpha Acid (boiled for 60 min.)
1 packet Safebrew WB-06 Bavarian Wheat yeast

That’s it!  Hefes don’t use specialty grains so this recipe is very simple, which makes it good for a late night session where I don’t want to be up until 1:00 AM.

What am I doing different from last time?  Several things:

  • I’m doing a full volume boil with about half of the malt extract.  The other half will be added for the last 15 minutes of the boil.  That might help lighten the color.
  • Different yeast.  Last time, I used Danstar Munich Wheat yeast.  It’s a good yeast but it is not very tolerant of higher fermentation temps.  I can’t get my beer much below 72 F in the basement, which was too high for the Danstar.  The Safebrew yeast is supposed to work OK (i.e. no off-flavors) up to 75 F.  I’ve never used this one before, but I’ve had great success with their S-04 and S-05 yeasts (for British and American style ales, respectively) and I have high hopes.

That’s it, really.  We’ll see how it goes.  I should be drinking this batch in about 4 weeks and I’ll post an update then on how it turns out.

Tags: Beer

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