Hefeweizen/Weizenbock

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ashrivers86

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Hi everyone,

This is my first 5 gal. hefe. I have used the Mr Beer before to make pale ales and other beers. I am hoping to make a higher abv than usual hefe, like around 6.8% - 8%. I have all my supplies and I have a few questions.

I have two 16 oz. wheat extract packets and 1 lb. of pilsner. Normally when I brewed hefe's I just used a 50% mixture of both. However, the brew clerk at the LHBS said I should go with an extra unit of wheat extract and 1 extra packet of saf wb-06 and start using extra fermentables like honey and brown sugar to reach the abv I want.

I haven't done something like this before (extra yeast or extract), what should I do differently this time with these new additions?
 

Captain Damage

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If it was me I'd use almost all wheat extract, which by the way is a blend of pure wheat and barley malt extracts. 8 lbs in a 5 gallon batch will get you to 6.9% ABV. Add a pound of honey and you get 8% ABV. Honey is a nice addition to a wheat beer, but I wouldn't use brown sugar for a wheat beer. Be sure to pitch plenty of healthy yeast.
 
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ashrivers86

ashrivers86

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Which stage would you recommend adding the honey. I've heard lots of different things.

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Captain Damage

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I'd probably wait until primary fermentation starts calming down or is done. Simple sugars make me a little nervous, so I tend to add them later. that said, most brewers would probably add it to the kettle at flameout with no issues.
 
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If you add to the end of primary you may want to pasteurize the honey by heating it up with some wort - this will also make it flow easier as well. It's said that bugs don't live in honey that well, but I don't like to take unnecessary chances.

The downside is that you change the honey a bit, but if you're going for ABV, then it doesn't matter.
 
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ashrivers86

ashrivers86

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I have 5 ounces of priming sugar so I am going to go easy on the honey

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ashrivers86

ashrivers86

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I have one last question. I think there might have been some starsan in my pot. I had let it dry overnight like the instructions said to and it was completely dry. However, my fermenter bucket still had some in it so I rinsed it out. Is there any way to tell if I did not remove all the starsan?

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ashrivers86

ashrivers86

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Bubbles were coming out of the airlock so I guess everything is okay.

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Captain Damage

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I have one last question. I think there might have been some starsan in my pot. I had let it dry overnight like the instructions said to and it was completely dry. However, my fermenter bucket still had some in it so I rinsed it out. Is there any way to tell if I did not remove all the starsan?
Not sure what instructions you're refereing to. Star San only kills microbes when it is wet. Further, it is a no-rinse sanitizer - not a cleaner. This means that a) you shouldn't be using it to clean your pot - PBW, OxyClean Free or regular dish detergent are probably the best things for that; and b) you shouldn't rinse it out of your fermenting bucket.

You don't have to fill the bucket up to the top. Do a 1/4 oz Star San concentrate with 1-1/4 gallons of water. Use a spray bottle full of StarSan (at normal dilution) to thoroughly spray the bucket lid and the rim of the bucket. Put the lid on and shake. The Star San solution will foam up, coating every surface. Leave it like that, with the lid on until you're ready to transfer the wort to the bucket. Then remove the lid and dump out what ever Star San will come out - not all of it will, but that's okay. Transfer your wort into the bucket. Pitch your yeast and give the lid a few more sprays before sealing it up.

Star San is a pH based sanitizer, meaning it only kills microbes when it's at it's normal strength. The small amount left clinging to the sides of the bucket or in the foam in the bottom quickly gets diluted by the wort, so that it's no longer strong enough to kill your yeast (in fact the yeast can utilize the phosphorous it contains as a nutrient).
 
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ashrivers86

ashrivers86

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Looks like it turned out fine. I let it sit for 3 weeks and it came out smelling great. I was pretty relieved when I opened the seal and it wasn't infected. Been a few days since I bottled, this Friday I will pop one open to taste.

OG: 1.060
FG: 1.012
ABV: 6.4%

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ashrivers86

ashrivers86

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The yeast at the bottem was white and slimey. Was it supposed to be powdered?

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BigSumpin

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It's the particulate floating on top that would make me strive for a more sanitary brewing process. It is some type of bacterial infection, it may not hurt you but you probably want to avoid getting any of it into your bottles...
It might look somewhat normal for an open (to the air) wild fermented Belgian style, but not a Hefeweizen.

Read all you can on keeping everything sanitary through bottling, then rinse your bottles each time you finish one (if you are going to re-use them)

Also, if you didnt buy that bucket new for fermenting your precious wort, do replace it with a new food grade type.
 
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ashrivers86

ashrivers86

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It was a home depot orange bucket. I used starsan to clean it and everything that would touch it. I used a rubber hose to extract the beer and I am pretty sure none of that junk made it into the next bucket.


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Captain Damage

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Homer buckets are not food grade. While it probably won't hurt you, why chance it? I know Lowes sells food grade buckets (I got two from there for storage), Home Depot probably does too - they're only about a dollar more.

The crust on the top of your fermenter is a pelicle. It's a "feature" of wild yeast or bactieria, i.e., an infection. As BigSumpin said, it's not going to kill you, but it's not the beer you were expecting to make. It may actually taste better that the beer you were expecting to make. But it's an indication that you're missing something in your cleaning and sanitation regimen.
 
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ashrivers86

ashrivers86

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Gotcha gotcha. My local brew store has 6.5 gallon buckets. I'll just buy from them next time.

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