Brewing my first from scratch recipe this weekend

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Turkeyfoot Jr.

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I've spent some time reading up on hefe recipes and the style in general and decided to try my hand at one. So, here goes:

Turkeyfoot Brewery - King Wheat
1.5 lb. Vienna
1.5 lb. Wheat

5.25 lb. Wheat DME

1 oz. Saaz - 2.1% Alpha

Wyeast 3068

My usual process is to add the grains to 2 gallons water and raise the temp to 150. I'll let that steep at that temp for 45 minutes, pull the grains and bring to a boil. Add the extracts and the hops and boil for 60 minutes, adding the Irish Moss during the last 15 minutes.

Next, I cool the wort in an ice bath and then dump it into a waiting carboy. Top off with water to make 5 gallons and agitate till my arms are numb. Make sure the temp is down to 70ish and pitch in my yeast.

From the Beer Recipator, my OG should be 1.058 and I'm shooting for a FG of 1.012. Final alcohol content, 5.9% by volume. A little big for a hefe but we'll see if I actually hit those numbers.

I'm picking up the ingredients tomorrow after work and going to make my first ever starter tomorrow night. Planning on using a 1/2 cup light DME and 2 cups water. I will be decanting the wort off before pitching. I figure I'll let it sit till Friday night and assuming it's done by then put it in the fridge and brew Saturday. If it's not ready yet I'll just push everything back a day.

Thoughts? Concerns? Questions?
 
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Turkeyfoot Jr.

Turkeyfoot Jr.

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One question I thought of after the initial post. Once I've chilled the starter and poured off the wort how do I free the yeast cake at the bottom? Once it comes to room temp will it just pour right out of the starter vessel? I know from cleaning carboys that the cake is usually pretty sludgy and doesn't exactly "pour".

You know, I haven't really considered use DME all that much mainly because LME is so much easier to use, no clumping and it just pours right in. That and I just got into the habit of buying LME. However, in doing some quick math and price comparison it looks like going DME is really the way to go, at least with my LHBS. I can get 3lb of DME, the equivalent of 3.75lb of LME, for $10 where as the LME is sold in 3.3lb cans for $10. So, that's roughly 14% more extract for the same price. I'm definitely going that route.
 
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Turkeyfoot Jr.

Turkeyfoot Jr.

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From the reading I've done hefe's are generally very light on the hops. From the beers I've done I've found that 3oz of hops makes for a fairly strong hop character, at least for me, so I decided to go with 1oz to try and get the light hop characteristic of the style.
 

mblakely

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The Hefe charictoristics come from the yeast strain that you will choose. You might pick up some citus/bananna flavors that would be masked by dry hopping or even over hopping.

My question, and I have asked this about my Aventinus recipe, do you think that you need to ass the irish moss? It seems that another charictoristis of a Hefe is the cloudy nature. Just wondering?

Cheers
 

Klainmeister

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You would want to use atleast .25oz finishing hops to give it a good nose and aroma . Also, i wouldn't use any Irish Moss because that eliminates the cloudiness that wheat beers are supposed to have.
 
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Turkeyfoot Jr.

Turkeyfoot Jr.

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Irish moss shouldn't affect the characteristic cloudiness of a hefe because it doesn't go after yeast. It bonds to proteins in the wort and helps them to settle out before they have a chance to bond with the tannins and create chill haze. I always add Irish Moss as insurance against the haze.

Update: I'm altering the recipe I'm using rather dramatically. I'm shooting for a 50/50 split between wheat and barley and I just discovered something on another thread, that wheat extracts aren't 100% wheat. After doing some checking I discovered that the Briess extract I planned to use is actually 65% wheat, 35% barleys so I'm adjusting the amounts of both. I'm going to use 4.25lb of wheat DME and 1lb. of light DME. I edited my original post to include those changes.
 

Klainmeister

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The cloudiness though isn't strictly the yeast, a weizen ohne hefe is still hazy because of the wheat
 
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Turkeyfoot Jr.

Turkeyfoot Jr.

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I have read the same thing, that the extra proteins contained in the wheat contribute to the cloudiness but I've still found that most recipes call for Irish Moss. Since I'm sure I'll try different variations with this recipe I might go with Irish Moss this time and without next as a comparison.
 
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Turkeyfoot Jr.

Turkeyfoot Jr.

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Had to alter the recipe again. My LHBS was out of light DME of all things, very strange. So now I'm going all wheat DME which means instead of a 50/50 wheat/barley mix I'll be at roughly 65/35 wheat/barely and I'm ok with that. I also changed the hops from Hallertauer to Saaz. This was based on a suggestion by the owner of my LHBS. He makes an EXCELLENT hefe with Saaz so I figured I'd take his advice.

Mixed up the starter last night and it appears to be done already which has me a little concerned. I boiled 2 cups of water with 1/2 cup wheat DME (no light at the LHBS, remember). Cooled that to about 75 degrees or so, poured into a gallon growler I bought just for the occasion and pitched my very swelled Wyeast 3068. That was about 8:00 last night and this morning there was a little activity but now I don't see much of anything. I have a little less than a 1/2" of cake across the bottom of the growler so in terms of volume I've certainly increased what was in the smack pack. Should I boil some more DME and throw it in? I was planning on putting this in the fridge tomorrow night so I could pour off the wort Saturday when I brew.
 
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A few points to ponder here:

Most hefes have a single hops addition early in the boil - just enough to balance the sweetness of the malt. There should be little bitterness or hop flavor/aroma present in the end product. The yeast characteristics need to take center stage with a hefe.

Wheat beers are cloudy from both yeast and the additional protein content that wheat contributes. Hence, you SHOULD have a bit of chill haze. Don't bother adding Irish moss or other finings. Most recipes call for Irish moss because the author doesn't understand why he is adding it (or he forgot to remove it from his recipe "template").

Steeping wheat and vienna at 150 is technically mashing. Use only 4.5 to 5 quarts of water, and make sure your temp remains between 150 and 160 for at least 30 minutes. Consider sparging (rinsing) the grains with some hot (170-180) water in order to extract as much sugar as possible from them.

Starters should ferment fast. No activity after a few hours is normal - it's done. If you like, let it settle, pour off the beer, and add some more wort - preferably a more than you used initially. That's called "stepping up," a common technique for yeast propagation.

When pitching your starter, you have two options - pitch the whole thing, or let it settle and pour off most of the beer. If you do the latter, leave a bit of liquid at the bottom so that you can swirl the yeast cake up before pitching it.
 
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Turkeyfoot Jr.

Turkeyfoot Jr.

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Ended up not brewing on Saturday but brewed today. Decided to leave out the Irish Moss. Everything went really well and the starter worked phenomenally, I think I'm hooked. Three hours after pitching and I had steady activity. Now, about 8 hours in and my blow off container is about to overflow. I have a feeling this is going to be a great brew.

One question I did have, is there any way to cut down on the foam produced by DME? By the time I had all 5.25lbs. incorporated there was probably 5-6" of foam on top of the liquid and it took FOREVER for the foam to dissipate so that I could add the hops. Alright, maybe not forever but a good 10-15 minutes. If it helps, I added the DME just before the wort came to a boil because I'd found in previous brews that if I wait until full boil the steam from the boil causes the DME to clump up right at the opening of the bag which makes a real mess.
 
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Turkeyfoot Jr.

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It's been almost a week in the primary now, tomorrow around noon will be 1 week exactly, but it appears as though my fermentation is still chugging along. I just timed it and my airlock is bubbling every 8 seconds or so. I was planning on racking to a secondary today but with that much activity I'm hesitant. The tripel I did just before this hefe took two weeks in the primary but I didn't think hefe's were suppose to take that long. Should I be concerned? I haven't taken a gravity reading yet since I figure with that kind of activity there's no way it's ready yet.
 
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Turkeyfoot Jr.

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Bottled this one last nigh, tasted AWESOME. I've very, VERY pleased with it. Great flavor, can pick up the banana but it's not too strong, nice and smooth with no discernable bitterness. I'm adding a PM version of this recipe to my original post, going to try that when I get back from vacation.
 
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