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Style of the Week: Wheat Beer!

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May 12, 2016 by fhsteinbart


American Wheat Beer

Typical American Wheat Beer served in the proper glass!

Our very own Widmer Bros. invented the style of beer we today call American Hefeweissen. Unlike it’s German predecessor, this style is mild in flavor, and aroma, hoppier, and more full bodied. This beer also makes an excellent choice for the basis of a fruit beer. Most if not all of the fruit beers currently being brewed are wheat based beers rather than they typical barley malt beer. Recipes for this style are fairly simple, ranging from a lower end of 50% wheat to 75% in the upper limit, with the balance being pale or pilsner malt. I prefer pilsner malt as I feel it adds to the malt character without darkening it up too much. Winter Red Wheat is the preferred wheat malt, as it lends itself to the creation of Kristal Weiss, or brilliantly clearer beers than does the softer White Wheat Malt, which is usually and customarily used in Wit beers, Mumme beer, and other wheat ales where flavor and color are secondary to appearance. Below is a recipe of mine while similar to the commercial examples is a little hoppier than most, but less than say a Pale Ale would be. These are low alcohol beers made for the quaffing by the pint in your back yard or when camping out in the great outdoors we have here in the Pacific Northwest.

 

Extract:

  • 6 lbs. Wheat DME
  • 1 oz. Tettnang Hops (Bittering)
  • Whirlfloc tablet or Irish Moss
  • ¼ oz. Calcium Chloride Salts in the boil.
  • Wyeast 1056, WLP001, Imperial Flagship, or Safale US-05 yeast

Instructions:

  • 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 68° F until completed (about a week).
  • Allow to age an additional four to six weeks before packaging up as usual.

All Grain:

  • 5 lbs. Pilsner Malt
  • 5 lbs. Red Wheat Malt
  • 1 oz. Tettnang Hops (Bittering)
  • Whirlfloc tablet or Irish Moss
  • ¼ oz. Calcium Chloride Salts in the mash and in the boil.
  • Wyeast 1056, WLP001, Imperial Flagship, or Safale US-05 yeast 

    Procedure:

    Infusion mash at 148°F for 1 hour, using a standard (1.33 qt./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 68°F. Gravity may vary depending on system efficiency, so adjust accordingly, using malt extract if needed.

    Package up as usual; bottled versions should use 130 gms. corn sugar (approx. 1 cup), or kegged to 30 psig, and allow two weeks to come into condition. Serve at 45°~50°F in a tall 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.

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