The Most Unconventional Hefeweizen You've Heard of
Update #1 - Primary Fermentor
Update #2 - Secondary Fermentor/Dry Hopping
Update #3 - Finished label, another test.
Here's a recipe I'm going to play with over the summer. The idea is that it'll be a smoked wheat beer. Hoping to get some citrus, apples, plums and a touch of smokiness. First time making a recipe, and I feel like this one's pretty unconventional hop wise. So what do folks think, any thoughts or critiques?
Recipe Volume: 6.5 gallons pre-boil, expect 5 gallons post-boil
6 lbs Briess Wheat LME
1 lbs Briess Golden Light DME
8 oz Briess Carapils
Steep grains for 30 minutes at 155F. Bring wort to boil and add extracts.
Yeast: Wyeast 3638
12 AAUs Simcoe Pellets
Add at last 10 minutes of boil. (Ended up going with 1 hour and reducing the amount of Simcoe)
1 oz Citra Leaf Hops.
Cold Smoked 2 hours with Applewood.
Dry Hop at beginning of secondary fermentor (5-7 days).
Pre-boil Gravity: ~1.040 (used for my utilization table)
The oddities here are that I'm not using the typical hops at all. I'm using some extremely high acidic hops. Simcoe is crazy but I enjoy the aroma and flavor, and I plan to boil it for only a short amount of time so the IBUs don't get out of control. Citra is also acidic but dry hopping won't add to the bitterness. It's similar to Simcoe only a little more citrusy in flavor as I understand it. So hopefully I get some Simcoe aroma and citrus flavor through the dry hopping. The cold smoking will hopefully give me a nice applewood smoke during the dry hopping process as well (not sure about this).
Some variations I have if the Citra smoking doesn't impart enough smoke.
- Add 0.5-1oz of Briess Smoked Malt to the mix. That's about 5-10% of the grain bill, but I just want a touch of smoke.
- If the Simcoe turns out to be an awful disappointment, I might go more conservative with some Liberty and actually have an hour long boil. Will probably keep the Citra dry hop though.
- Might also try completely removing the Citra and Simcoe. Applewood smoking some Liberty, and boiling for an hour to see what that does.
So those are the critical details. Figured I'd also include the name and story for the beer that kind of influences what I've come up with here. Decided to add this for some reason.
Name: Smokey Al
Story: Al was my grandpa. In his final years of life he developed macular degeneration linked to his smoking of Lucky Strikes during WWII (he quit a few years after). I used to see him a lot in the summer time, so those are my fondest memories. I figure the label might include something like, "When drinking Smokey Al you'll hopefully taste a hint of the smokey character of Al and summer time picnics. While peering through a glass of this cloudy brew, you might just be able to see the golden world as he once did." (queue awws and sobbing from the audience)
Hefewiezen is a traditional name of a wheat beer with a pretty strict, defined recipe. You pretty much HAVE to have 50% Wheat malt and 50% Pilsner malt, then one Hallertau hops (for traditional Bavarian) or other noble hop addition (for non-traditional) and a Hefeweizen yeast that gives off the signature phenolic character (clove/bananna). Otherwise, it's just not a Hefewiezen.
If you aren't following the traditional recipe pretty closely, it isn't a Hefewiezen, it's just a wiezen/wheat beer.
So, you are making a wheat beer above. You can do a search and find many examples of people making Simcoe Wheats, and they seem to be pretty hit or miss. Most of the flavor and aroma of a weizen is supposed to come from the yeast, not the hops, so you are going to lose alot of the weizen character by adding such distinct hops. You aren't supposed to be able to detect the hops in a weizen/Hefeweizen.
You do realize that adding your Simcoe at 10 minutes isn't going to add much bittering to the beer? You really need to add less hops and let it boil for the full 60 minutes for it to add the bitterness to offset the maltiness of the malt. 0.3 ounces of Simcoe @ 60 will do the same thing as 1.0 ounces of Simcoe @ 10 for your overall bitterness and balance.
Anyway, experiment as you will, but wheats and simcoe/citra seem to not really mix. Those are GREAT for IPAs, wheats, no so much. It's all a matter of taste, though!
Thanks for the advice. I had called it a hefeweizen since I adapted it from a hefeweizen recipe originally but I guess I didn't realize how much I really changed things. We'll call it a weizen to be on the safe side here.
I'm not looking for a gut punch of bitterness from the Simcoe (which some people would probably just say, "Then don't use Simcoe") so I'm not expecting much from the boil. I wasn't too sure what I could expect from a 10 minute boil with such a high acidity hop. But it sounds like it may be a better idea to use less hops for a longer boil for different (maybe better) characteristics? Or is it relatively the same thing, but I'd just be paying for less hops?
If the Simcoe/Citra experiment doesn't work out so well, I'll probably end up falling back on Liberty and resorting to smoked malt (maybe smoked wheat) for the hint of smoke. Maybe I can try a more traditional Hallertau. My list of hops to try originally was: "Spalt, Tettnang, Liberty, Hallertau Hersbrucker, Styrian Goldings". Some more different than others obviously, but interesting to me nonetheless.
One other hop related thing to think about. The hops have an impact on biological growth in your beer. If you don't reach the desired level of alpha acid you are inviting bacterial growth. I had the unevyable experience earlier this year when I reused some yeast from a barrel project in which we used a very low hop rate to invite bug growth. The rye beer that was not part of the barrel project, but used the same yeast was completely diacetyl. I would use computer program to be sure your hop rate/time of boil produces more than 10 IBU.
There are smoked hefeweizens; they aren't that common, but it's one of the styles that can be made with some rauchmalt. I've had an imported German one, one of the local brewpubs made one that was very nice, and I brewed one myself a couple years back. But, what I made (and my understanding of the classic version) is that it's really a basic hefeweizen receipe, but simply using rauchmalt for a portion of the pilsner. It's semantics, but you're getting into something which is an experimental wheat beer, it's not really a hefeweizen any more.
Also, the name comes from a style originally made in Germany in compliance with German labeling laws. To match what the Germans mean by the style, it has to be at least 50% wheat. Most American wheat beers that aren't like German ones have that high a proportion of wheat too, though there aren't any legal requirements for it here.
The Briess wheat extract is made from a blend of wheat and barley malts, not just wheat, so you're looking at something around one part wheat to three parts barley.
Tasty beer? Almost certainly, I'd love to try one. Like a Hefeweizen? No.
No you are correct and it is not the definition of a hefeweizen.
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