April 15, 2016 by fhsteinbart
When the Springtime comes, a young person’s fancy turns to loving those wheat beers from Germany. While simple in formulation, these beers derive their complexity not so much from ingredients as from fermentation. Using a lower than usual flocculating yeast that produces the familiar spice and fruit character, a higher than usual carbonation accentuates the dryness, and lower hop bitterness as found in these styles of beer. While I enjoy the darker, stronger, and more flavorful versions of this great beer style, I also enjoy the lighter, more drinkable ones as well. While the recipe as listed below is a standard one, it’s the choice of ingredients that make this beer stand out. I feel that Pilsner malt and Wheat malt are a must, especially the hard Winter wheat, as it lends its bread like character to these beers more readily. Hopping is just as simple with Tettnanger topping the list as does anything in the Hallertauer family of hops. As with all beers that use a huskless grain, you may need to use rice hulls as a lautering aid due to the sticky biopolymers associated with grains like Wheat. Either that, or do a protein rest with a coarser crush than you’d normally do with an all Barley beer.
- 6 lbs. Wheat DME
- 1 oz. Tettnang Hops (Bittering)
- Whirlfloc tablet or Irish Moss
- ¼ oz. Calcium Chloride Salts in the boil.
- Wyeast 3068, WLP300, Imperial Stefon, or Danstar Munich yeast
- Heat 2½ gallons of water to 155°F.
- Turn off heat and add DME, stirring until fully dissolved, then add water to volume.
- Return to heat, bring to boil for 10 min., then add bittering hops.
- At 15 minutes remaining in the boil, add a Whirfloc tablet.
- After boil has finished, turn off heat, and cool wort by placing kettle in an ice bath or use a wort chiller (0 min).
- Add mixture to fermenter, removing hops, and bring total volume to 5 gallons using non-distilled bottled water or filtered tap water.
- Aerate unfermented wort (shaking works well).
- Pitch yeast and ferment at 62° F until completed (about a week).
- Allow to age an additional four to six weeks before packaging up as usual.
5 lbs. Pilsner Malt
5 lbs. Red Wheat Malt
1 oz. Tettnang Hops (Bittering)
1 Whirlfloc tablet
- ¼ oz. Calcium Chloride Salts in both mash and boil.
Wyeast 3068, WLP300, Imperial Stefon, or Danstar Munich yeast
Infusion mash at 152°F for 1 hour, using a standard (1.33qt./lb.) mash. Sparge to 6.5 gallons of wort, and bring to a roiling boil. Add the bittering hops 15 minutes into the boil. At 15 minutes remaining add the Whirlfloc tablet or Irish moss. At 0 minutes (knockout), cool the mixture by placing kettle in an ice bath or using a wort chiller. Add mixture to fermenter, removing hops, and aerate unfermented wort (shaking works well). Pitch yeast and ferment at 62°F. Gravity may vary depending on system efficiency, so adjust accordingly, using malt extract if needed.
Package up as usual; bottled versions should use 150 gms. corn sugar (approx. 1 cup), or kegged to 40 psig, and allow two weeks to come into condition. Serve at 45°~50°F in a Hefeweissen glass, share, and enjoy! This beer will continue to evolve and change over the coming months, so make enough to last you through your next brew.