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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > If/When I should add lemon to Wheat Beer
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Old 04-11-2007, 05:38 AM   #1
JeanLucD
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Default If/When I should add lemon to Wheat Beer

Hey there, I've decided to make a wheat beer, and this'll be my 2nd beer to date (I also did a cider, which I've sortof gotten sick of, which is why I'm turning it into apple jack , but I digress) Anyway, I thought that it would taste quite nice to add some lemonyness to the wheat beer, since it is quite a light/delicate type flavoured beer - at least that's what the wheat beer that I tried was like.

Now I'm not sure what I should actually add to give this lemon flavour, whether I should add just lemon juice at the beginnning, or during 2ndary, or zest or even just cut up fruit in the 2ndary. Maybe I should try and infuse the lemon into the water at the beginning, by putting some cut up lemons into boiling water. I am really thoroughly confused, and unsure on which way will be easiest or best, or maybe I'm tottaly off the mark.

Any feedback would be much appreciated, and I wouldn't mind it pretty quick cos I'm thinking about starting it in a few days (I've first got to purify some water, I wanna see what it's like with distilled water). Thx in advance and sorry about the somewhat long post.

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Old 04-11-2007, 05:46 AM   #2
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I think you would be best served by brewing an American wheat recipe and fermenting at the high end of a wheat/hefe yeast's temperature range. That should give you a subtle, but fruity flavor profile. Add a lemon slice at serving time if you want a distinct lemon flavor to accompany your beer.

If, however, you really want to specifically flavor the beer with lemon before bottling/kegging, here's what I recommend: Add a teaspoon of dried lemon peel (available in the spice section of your grocery store) to your wort just as the boil finishes. If the lemon flavor isn't strong enough after you rack the beer for clearing, add a "tea" of another teaspoon (or two) of dried lemon peel steeped for a few minutes in hot water.

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Old 04-11-2007, 05:46 AM   #3
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I've noted that a lot of places will actually just serve the hef with a slice right in the glass. If you're going to add lemon to the finished beer, I might advise stablilizing it first with sulphites because fermented citrus doesn't taste anything like fresh citrus.

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Old 04-11-2007, 06:07 AM   #4
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Wow I said quick, but I wasn't expecting speed the likes of that on this forum! Thanks guys, yea I did a little search (which I guess I should've done before posting, woops) and saw that they r often served with lemon, but I've never actually ordered a hef or any other wheat beer at a bar before, so I wouldn't know - don't know if they even do it down here in New Zealand.

I might try that Yuri, although maybe substitute the dried lemon peel with lemon zest, cos its just past the lemon season down here, so we still have some fresh lemons on the tree - and tbh I can't be arsed going and looking for it, cos I doubt I'll b going to the supermarket for quite some time, haha. I think I might just add a little bit of lemon, just so that it's a vague suggestion of lemon - and if I feel like more lemon, I can add it to the glass. I'll also try the higher temp thing, although it'll probably happen anyway, it's only just started getting a bit cooler lately, so my hotwater cupboard should be quite warm.

Thx again guys, that was quick!

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Old 04-11-2007, 06:10 AM   #5
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Fresh lemon zest is full of oils that will likely kill the otherwise great, foamy head of a wheat beer. I recommended dried lemon peel for that reason. Should've said that before.

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Old 04-11-2007, 01:34 PM   #6
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I don't recommend any fruit with a German Hefe Weizen...I couldn't care less what you do to an American Wheat...

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Old 04-11-2007, 02:08 PM   #7
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Creating a beer with the intent of dressing it up seems sort of weird.

Corona tastes better with a lime... because it tastes bad without one.

If a beer goes well with fruit, well then that's a pretty cool thing, but if a beer needs fruit to taste right, well then maybe it just isn't a very good beer.

I have an Special Orange Bitter that's conditioning right now. It's pretty tasty. I added the orange because, after sitting in secondary for two weeks, the flavor was uninteresting and I was afraid it would be a very mediocre flavor... but I had specifically selected the hops variety (amarillo), knowing that it would probably pair well with a citrus fruit, most likely orange. Sure enough, I took a sip, looked at the orangish hue, and thought Orange! And thus was born my SOB- Special Orange Bitter. But if it had been delicious out of the secondary, I wouldn't have wasted my time with fruit.

I'm not going EAC here. I'm not saying don't experiment. Experimenting is the best part. But start out with a recipe that you think will go well with fruit. Taste it in the secondary, then add it as a tea if you think it needs it. Then, if the recipe is a winner, add the zest or fruit into the boil or wherever you think is best next time you make it. The thing I worry about, when you try to design a beer specifically for an adjunct is: 1. What if the beer is delicious without it? 2. What if you pick the wrong fruit and, having never tasted your beer without it, you miss the opportunity to identify a potentially great pairing of fruit and beer because you had your mind set on one fruit and one way of doing it?

Personally, if I hadn't been so locked into making an SOB (just for the novelty), I might've made an SGB- Special Grapefruit Bitter. But I never even thought about it because I was locked into Orange. IMO, that was an opportunity squandered for a silly reason... not that I'm complaining, mind you....

I'm just saying keep your mind open to the possibilities... and wait as long as you can, tasting along the way, before you make a decision on how to treat the entire batch...

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Old 04-11-2007, 02:13 PM   #8
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I been to a couple of places that make a great Hefe. They refuse to allow any sort of lemon or orange to go in the beer. And IMHO it doesnt even need it.

However, if you really do want to do it, just add a slice to the side of your glass when you pour

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Old 04-11-2007, 03:08 PM   #9
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In Germany, young people also like to add Pepsi or Coke to the hefes for a bit of a carmel like flavor...I never felt like it would be something that I'd try but young teen age Germans liked it...

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Old 04-12-2007, 01:32 PM   #10
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Actually I see what ur saying Toot, and thanks for pointing out that the fresh zest will kill the head on the beer Yuri - I definetly would NOT want that, I think I might take your advice and steer clear of the fruit until I taste the beer in the 2ndary. My mum sorta said something similar - what if I put lemon flavouring into it and I actually don't like it, then its a wasted batch (well, I'd still drink it, but I wouldn't enjoy it as much, hehe) but if I taste it without the lemon and think that it might taste better with a little extra something, then I can add it then.

I think your right Toot, I've sort of gone into it thinking "I wouldn't mind a lemony wheat beer" as opposed to thinking, "How can I make my beer taste the best?" - whether it means just leaving it, or maybe adding some other sort of adjunct to improve the flavour.

Mmmm, this is making me want the beer right now! Good thing I'm also making some apple jack at the momment, hopefully that'll keep my busy until the beer's done .

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