Doing an extract wheat next and have some simple questions

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Rev2010

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I have the full Cooper's Wheat kit (extract can, Light Dry Malt, and Dextrose) and want to tweak it to make it better. I plan on replacing the Dextrose with more Light Dry Malt. I also plan on using Wyeast 3068 and have a few questions and would greatly... GREATLY appreciate some help/answers. Here are my questions:

1. Will the 4.25oz Wyeast be enough for a 6 gallon (23 liter) batch? It says on the package it's for 5 gallon batches. I could do 5 gallons if necessary of course.

2. How much Light Dry Malt should I use for an ABV no less than 5% and no more than 5.5%? If I should do 5 gallons please list for that volume.

3. I have 500g of Light Dry Malt. Is there any other type of malt (or brand) I should buy other than more Copper's Light Dry Malt to enhance the flavor?

4. If I can get away with doing a 4.25oz packet of Wyeast do I have to worry about headspace for my plastic fermenter? It seems like it holds quite a bit more than 23 liters. If I do need to worry about the space, again I can do a 5 gallon batch.

5. Is the Wyeast "Activator" exactly what I would be using? I see they have something else called "propogator". Do I need to prep it or just pour it in?

6. How much corn sugar should I use to prime each 500ml bottle I plan to use?

Sorry for all the questions. I'd like to thank anyone in advance that can take a moment to answer this onslaught of questions!


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Did some Googling and found a bunch of people saying the Wyeast packets really only have half the yeast cells than what is recommend for 5 gallons. Should two Wyeast Activators be enough? I'm looking to order soon so any wise advice would be most helpful ;)


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Hex23

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The best resource I've found for proper pitching rates is http://www.mrmalty.com/calc/calc.html. It's not really possible to use a general rule of thumb for number of activator packets since proper pitching rate is also dependent on OG. The Mr Malty calculator might tell you whether to pitch multiple packets or give you parameters for a starter. That said, it is not uncommon to under-pitch wheat beers to force the yeast to produce some some banana and clove flavors.
 

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You could get some dry wheat extract or golden or extra light. All depending on the color you want.
 

Hex23

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Many of your other questions can be answered by plugging numbers into a program - I'd highly recommend Beersmith. In the meantime I could offer to help if you can point me to the contents or description of that kit.
 
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In the meantime I could offer to help if you can point me to the contents or description of that kit.
Thanks Hex! This is the can of Wheat Malt extract and the kit I have comes with their "Use with" recommendations under the description:

http://store.coopers.com.au/products/home-brew/home-brew-cans/thomas-coopers-wheat-beer-kit-1-7kg-

I want to improve the outcome with the better yeast and with substituting the Dextrose, currently planning to substitute with just more Light Dry Malt but would definitely listen wholeheartedly to suggestions and what else I could use. I don't mind paying for two Wyeast packets, I'd just need to know if they'll be enough. I guess they'd probably still do way better than the dry Ale yeast packet Cooper's includes no?


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indigi

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I'd substitute wheat malt extract for the dextrose instead of regular light malt extract. You could pitch two packs of Wyeast, or you could make a starter with one pack if you want to save the 6 or 7 bucks. There's plenty of info on making a starter in the fermentation/yeast forum.
 
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I'd substitute wheat malt extract for the dextrose instead of regular light malt extract. You could pitch two packs of Wyeast, or you could make a starter with one pack if you want to save the 6 or 7 bucks. There's plenty of info on making a starter in the fermentation/yeast forum.
Cool. I was looking at the Briess Wheat DME (just Googling around). Would that one be good? Also, being that wheat portion, from what I've read, is not really fermentable how much should I use to replace the 300g of Dextrose? Thanks again for your help!


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Hex23

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I generally agree with the direction your taking. I'm not very familiar Cooper's kits, but my calculations for those ingredients show an OG of 1.035 for a 6 gallon batch. Taking it down to 5 gallons would make it 1.043. 1.043 is much closer to the style guidelines for what you are making. But you are wanting about 5.25% ABV, so you need higher OG. If you make it all up in DME (replacing the Dextrose with DME), and assuming a 5.5 gallon batch, then you need to add 2.5 lbs more DME in addition to the 1.1 lb in the kit; add about 3 lbs for a 6 gallon batch. That should give you an OG of about 1.053. You could get Wheat DME or more Light DME or a combination of both depending on which direction you prefer - hopefully you have a basis for comparison - i.e you've made this kit before. I don't have much to offer on DME - I've had good experience with all I've used and have no real favorites.

The Mr Malty calculator shows about 2 packs for 5.5 gal ale at 1.053. But you can probably get away with 1, especially if you like banana and clove flavors. The Wyeast site (http://www.wyeastlab.com/com_b_yeaststrain_detail.cfm?ID=135) has good info on this yeast including guidance on controlling phenols and esters, and you'll probably find more on here. I have heard of some wheat yeast as being very active (i.e. needing a blow-off depending on headspace).

Save the dextrose for priming. Priming is best done on a whole-batch basis. For a 5.5 gallon batch you'll need about 5 ounces to hit the middle of this style (2.7 vols)
 

Hex23

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Just to confirm, here are the general assumptions I made:

3.75 lbs pre-hopped LME
1.1 lbs DME
0.66 lbs Dextrose

Also since you are considerably upping the fermentables, you will be decreasing your bitterness ratio. So you could consider adding a pinch of hops. As I noted before, hopefully you can make your hops adjustments based on past experience brewing it without modification and your personal tastes.
 

Hex23

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Cool. I was looking at the Briess Wheat DME (just Googling around). Would that one be good? Also, being that wheat portion, from what I've read, is not really fermentable how much should I use to replace the 300g of Dextrose? Thanks again for your help!


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I have used Briess Wheat DME and been happy. I don't think there's much difference in fermentability with a wheat DME - vs any other DME. Much of what's in DME is maltose which is highly fermentable. The main differences would be in flavor contributions from the base grain. In general DME adds almost as much PPG as Dextrose. I think the difference is 44 PPG vs 46 PPG. Much of what makes a wheat beer taste like it does is the yeast, and you've definitely chosen a good yeast for that.
 
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In general DME adds almost as much PPG as Dextrose. I think the difference is 44 PPG vs 46 PPG.
Hiya Hex. So should I go with 1lb of Wheat DME or more? Here's what I'm thinking so far:

5 Gallon batch
3.75lb can Cooper's Hopped Wheat Extract
500g Light Dry malt
1lb Briess Wheat DME
4.25oz Wyeast 3068

I do love the banana/clove esters so I guess I'd rather under pitch. I actually just read about this morning on the way to work in Palmer's book. He seems to suggest it's better to under pitch as well, and since Wyeast claims it should do a 5 gallon batch fine I'll trust them.

Does this seem good to go? Looking to order the stuff soon so if there are any other suggestions please let me know guys!


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Whoops, just went back and noticed you recommended 2.5lbs of Wheat DME earlier. Sorry for asking again!


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Hex23

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I think going with Wheat DME will be good. I think any wheat DME is going to be part Wheat and part Barley anyway. Breiss is 65 wheat, 35 Barley. So being balanced, doing all wheat DME will not put you too far in the wheat direction. The advantage to doing a 5.5 gallon batch would be that your going to lose some volume to yeast, maybe break material, and possible blow-off (no hops trub in your case) and so you'll be able to bottle at least 5 gallons of beer. Also Breiss and many others DME come in 3 lb bags, so not much waste. If your fermenter can do 6 gallons, then I assume it's fairly large bucket, so I'd think you'l have adequate headspace for 5.5 gallons - and maybe avoid blowoff altogether. I'm gotten into the habit lately of almost always installing a blowoff because the mess not not worth not doing so. And if you will be fermenting at a higher temp to encourage banana, etc, then I think that's another reason why wheat yeasts are said to be so prone to blow-off. You can always switch back to an air-lock after main ferm is done.
 
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Hmm, only issue with my plastic Cooper's fermenter is the airlock hole is tiny, it snuggly fits the plastic airlock it comes with. Don't know how I could setup a blowoff with that small hole. Just to be sure, are you recommending just doing all wheat DME and skipping the 500g light dry malt?


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Hex23

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Actually all the DME amounts I gave earlier assume your're going to also use the 500 g light DME - these amounts give OG of 1.053 and estimated ABV of 5.25. I don't know enough about the base taste of that kit (e.g. contribution of the LME) to tell you which direction to go (all wheat DME, or keep the 500 g light). I'd bet that a 65/35 wheat DME would not change the overall balance of wheat to barly much, but it's impossible to tell without knowing the balance in the LME. So I'd recommend just keeping the 500g DME. You're likely going to make a good beer with the direction your headed as long as you mind the other important things like water, ferm time and temp, etc. Then you can adjust from there as you like. Nice thing about a wheat is that they mature relatively fast. You can taste and adjust your next batch. It's very difficult to nail exactly what you're looking for the first time without some basis for comparison. Customization and recipe formulation usually is done by some trial and error.

Is your air-lock, the three piece type? If so, then you can probably fit a 1/4"? or 5/16"? tube snugly into the upper plastic tube. Lots of people do this, including me. Otherwise you'll have to make another fitting.
 
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Is your air-lock, the three piece type? If so, then you can probably fit a 1/4"? or 5/16"? tube snugly into the upper plastic tube. Lots of people do this, including me. Otherwise you'll have to make another fitting.
No, it's the plastic "S" type. I think I'll just take a chance and go ahead with the airlock hoping the extra headroom in my fermenter is enough to prevent blow out. If not, it will be a learning experience lol. Then I would know I should probably get another fermenter for hefe's as I plan to do a lot of them as it's my favorite type of beer (though I love pretty much all).


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Hex23

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It sounds like you have the Cooper's fermeter? I had a hard time finding the exact size of that one. There are stories of some fermenations going absolutely nuts, but above a ceratain amount of headspace blowoff is unlikely to happen. I have had pretty major blowoff in a 5.5 gallon batch of Belgian strong ale in a 6.5 gallon bucket, but it sounds like your bucket might be even bigger. Might also be worthwhile to read some accounts on the activity level of that yeast. Search these forums for Wyeast 3068 blowoff.
 

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