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Old 06-25-2008, 10:06 PM   #1
bernerbrau
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Default Advice on Recipe - (dunkel/wheat/alt?)

I'm not even finished with my first brew (it's in secondary now), and I'm already wanting to get started on my second. I'm just playing around right now and I'm not into particular styles yet, but this is supposed to be a hoppy dark wheat beer. I wanted to incorporate specialty grains and finings, and an alternate sugar. Anyway I've come up with the following recipe from ingredients available from my local homebrew supply store:

Yield: 5 Gallons

American Ale Yeast (packaged or saved?)

3lb Briess Amber DME
3lb Briess Wheat DME (60% Wheat)
1lb Briess Crystal Malt (80)
1/2 cup Sugar in the Raw (wort)

1oz. Centennial Pellet @ 60
1oz. Centennial Pellet @ 45
1oz. Cascade Leaf @ 15
1tsp Irish Moss @ 15
1oz. Cascade Leaf (Dry hop, added during secondary)

3/4c Corn sugar (bottling)

1 week in primary, 2 in secondary, 10 days bottle-conditioning

Any advice on execution, caveats or mods to the recipe? Tips, things to keep in mind? I'm a sponge. Any new information or anecdotes are helpful to me.

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Last edited by bernerbrau; 06-26-2008 at 03:29 PM. Reason: Changed from dark to amber (brings it within IIPA rating), cut brown sugar in half and changed to sugar in the raw.
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Old 06-25-2008, 10:35 PM   #2
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I like the idea of the use of 80 Crystal. That will bring darkness and flavor. The Dark DME will also impart a dark color, so I think you are in the right Lovibond rating for this dunkel. I see you are using 1056. Do you have any American Wheat Yeast? If so it may get you more in line in the flavoring categorey of wheat. 1056 is an awesome all arounder and you will be fine if you don't have any wheat yeast.

You could also substitute 80* Crystal with "breadlike" malts instead. Looks like a good recipe and should produce a fantastic brew.

- WW

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Old 06-25-2008, 10:43 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bernerbits View Post
1pkg American Ale Yeast + 1 container stored yeast from my first brew
Looks like an intriguing brew. I've never tried a combination of wheat + lots of hops so it'll be good to hear how it comes out. The only thing I can think of is that you might be better just going with a single yeast. If you put two kinds of yeast in the wort, they'll essentially be competing against each other to reproduce - I believe what you'll find is that you'll just get the characteristics of whichever yeast wins out. If you want to get a blend of different yeast-led flavors, the way to do it would be to make two batches and blend them.

Of those two yeasts you mention, I'd go with the American Ale yeast, as my guess (based on my own practices) is that a new lot of yeast is likely to be more sanitary than a batch I've saved from last time.

Good luck with it. Let us know how you get on.
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Old 06-26-2008, 12:48 AM   #4
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Quote:
The only thing I can think of is that you might be better just going with a single yeast.
It's the same yeast strain, using the leftover from my previous batch is to try and kick-start the fermentation.
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Old 06-26-2008, 01:01 AM   #5
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Personally, I'd stick with light DME as you'll get plenty of color from the Crystal 80. The dark DME won't necessarily make it a bad beer, but it will make it extremely dark. I like the hop schedule.

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Old 06-26-2008, 03:01 AM   #6
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I ran the ingredients through QBrew, and this is the estimate I came up with:

Color: 16 (a deep mahogany according to this)
Bitterness: 76 (like an imperial IPA)
ABV: 5.6% (decent strength)

Amber or light DME both take the color down to 15 -- is there any reason flavorwise to favor these over dark? Doubling the brown sugar would take ABV up to 6.1%, a nice strong beer, and illegal in Alabama.

Another worry is that the hops will overpower the wheat. I am a bit of a hophead but I'm trying to strike a balance. Will the wheat character come through even in a very bitter beer?

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Old 06-26-2008, 03:14 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bernerbits View Post
Doubling the brown sugar would take ABV up to 6.1%, a nice strong beer, and illegal in Alabama.
Using that much brown sugar in a 5 gallon batch could very well lead to cidery flavors and a thinner body, which you want to avoid. If you want to up the ABV, just use an extra pound of DME

76 IBUs is pretty high, but i still really like the hop combo. I've never brewed a wheat with that many IBUs so I can't say from experience if it will kill the wheat character, but I think it's worth trying
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Old 06-26-2008, 03:21 AM   #8
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You're cramming too much into one brew. Do you want to accent the light flavor of wheat, or do you want a deep, malty beer? Do you want caramel/molasses sweetness from the brown sugar, or is the sugar just for gravity points? Are you aware of the off-flavor risk posed by using so much cane sugar? Do you want a malty German Dunkel style beer or a super-hopped American Amber/Alt style beer? Why saved yeast + new yeast?

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Old 06-26-2008, 04:31 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yuri_Rage View Post
You're cramming too much into one brew. Do you want to accent the light flavor of wheat, or do you want a deep, malty beer? Do you want caramel/molasses sweetness from the brown sugar, or is the sugar just for gravity points? Are you aware of the off-flavor risk posed by using so much cane sugar? Do you want a malty German Dunkel style beer or a super-hopped American Amber/Alt style beer? Why saved yeast + new yeast?
I was under the impression that the saved yeast could be used as a starter for the yeast prep; I wasn't sure that it could be used all on its own, which was why the new packet.

I had heard good things about using brown sugar in the wort, and I was hoping to subtly alter the flavor character, add color and tweak the ABV with it. Is 1 cup to 5 gallons considered high? Because I can tone it down further.

As far as my end goal I'm not trying to capture on a style; I'm just looking to discover how the interplay of flavors in a hopped-up dark wheat ale will turn out. Worst case, I try a different recipe. Even if it's not what I expect, I doubt it will be undrinkable.
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Old 06-26-2008, 03:35 PM   #10
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UPDATE: I tinkered with the ingredients a bit. I reduced the amount of brown sugar to mitigate the risk of off flavors, and opted for turbinado (raw) sugar since it's a bit less "refined" than brown sugar, and I went to an Amber DME to keep the color within normal IIPA limits. Since c.n.budz is raving about the hop schedule I'm gonna stick to it.

I think I'm going to go with a low boil volume and top up with water in the fermenter to avoid the cataclysmic boil-over I had with my first batch. I may yet decide to use an American Wheat Yeast instead to encourage the wheat characteristics. I know a lot of different flavors are hard to balance just right.

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