Help Creating Early 90s Wheat Ale

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micraftbeer

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I've had an itch recently in my brewing brain that I want to scratch. I look back with nostalgia at the ubiquitous Wheat Beer that I recall every microbrewery (craft brewery wasn't a tag line yet) had in the early 90's. I wasn't brewing back then, and I definitely wasn't drinking much of anything interesting, so I'm struggling to recreate what I think a recipe would be.

I don't recall it having a sweetness like American Wheat yeast strains, so was planning on using a Chico strain (Imperial Flagship), and a grain bill heavy on the red wheat malt. I'm just not sure how far to go- 60%? 70%? Looking for some suggestions here if anyone remembers these beers.

Also was planning on something simple and clean for hops, probably about 30 IBU, with most of that a 60 minutes addition, then a touch at around 12-15 minutes.
 

IslandLizard

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a grain bill heavy on the red wheat malt. I'm just not sure how far to go- 60%? 70%?
For 60-70% wheat content you'll need to add around a pound of rice or oat hulls to keep the mash permeable and lauterable.

Also needs good stirring, it reduces gumminess. And/or a protein/beta glucanase rest at around 121F for 10-15 minutes, but not longer or you may lose head retention.
 
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micraftbeer

micraftbeer

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Also needs good stirring, it reduces gumminess. And/or a protein/beta glucanase rest at around 121F for 10-15 minutes, but not longer or you may lose head retention.

Does constant recirc through RIMS substitute for frequent stirring? I've gotten spoiled with my electric brew, mashing in, going back to bed, then getting up at mash out. Just wondering if I should be stirring with my 64% wheat?
 
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IslandLizard

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Does constant recirc through RIMS substitute for frequent stirring? I've gotten spoiled with my electric brew, making in, going back to bed, then getting up at mash out. Just wondering if I should be stirring with my 64% wheat?
The recirculation itself may reduce guminess of the wort due to friction/movement inside the pump and recirculation system (tubing, fittings, adapters, etc.). But I'd keep a close eye on it, the main problem is that the grist bed itself is not very permeable (due to the gumminess), even with a good dose of rice hulls, and the wort may just not flow through. Maybe after 20-30 minutes with help of some stirring it may become looser/more permeable.

I brew a 52% rye and it's a cooler full of solid gel, that slowly gets looser by perpetual stirring and adding boiling water. Adding heat seems to make it more fluid too. Takes lots of patience to lauter/sparge (2 small batch sparges), close to an hour.

I would definitely not walk away from it...
 
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micraftbeer

micraftbeer

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Here's what I brewed


Malts (12 lb 8 oz)
8 lb (59.3%) — Briess Wheat Red Malt — Grain — 2.3 °L
3 lb (22.2%) — Warminster Maris Otter — Grain — 2.8 °L
1 lb (7.4%) — Wheat Flaked — Grain — 1.7 °L
8 oz (3.7%) — Briess Caramel Malt 20L — Grain — 20 °L
Other (1 lb)
1 lb (7.4%) — Briess Rice Hulls — Adjunct — 0 °L
Hops (1.5 oz)
0.5 oz (18 IBU) — Hallertau Magnum 12.7% — Boil — 60 min
0.75 oz
(8 IBU) — Spalter Select 4.7% — Boil — 30 min
0.25 oz
— Simcoe 13.3% — Boil — 0 min

I mashed at my multi-step schedule using my RIMS to add heat to the steps:
Mash
Strike Temp — 103.6 °F
Temperature — 100 °F15 min
Temperature — 122 °F20 min
Temperature — 156 °F40 min
Temperature — 168 °F10 min

I didn't adjust my grain mill gap, used my 3-roller MM-3 Monster Mill. It looked like every kernel was cracked, but my mash efficiency took a hit. Usually I get around 80%, and with this I got only 69%. I stirred the mash really well before starting the timer for the 100F rest, and had no dough balls. I didn't get back to stirring it again until it hit the 156F rest. But again, no clumps, no stuck mashes, all went well. With dead space and such, I was at about 1.25 qt/lb.

All went well, the beer is super thick and chunky looking, as expected. What was surprising was toward the end of my sparge, the remnant of grain water looked gray. Not particularly attractive. We'll see how this turns out.
 
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micraftbeer

micraftbeer

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It's still early days on this beer to be commenting on taste results, but...

As a bad engineer, I combined an all-new recipe with a new fermentation schedule. I don't THINK the fermentation schedule is a factor here, but I'll describe it.

1. First 20 hours after yeast pitch, just let it vent into blow off.
2. Added spunding at 5 psi and let it continue to ferment at around 68-70f until it looked close to FG.
3. Dialed up spunding to 29 psi to let it naturally carbonate and raised temperature to around 70f (slow oscillations from heating element 69-72f).
4. Once Tilt gravity was flat for just over 3 days, I moved fermentor into fridge to cold crash.

I tasted it yesterday when it was at about 48f (warmer than my taste buds typically prefer). I want to impressed with the natural carbonation, but the taste was too sweet. I was hoping for something more "chunky", like drinking a granola bar. I thought using a Chico yeast would eliminate that sweetness. I don't know if this is a general problem with heavy wheat malt bills? I'm thinking I probably should change my water salts to give me more of a bite, and maybe a bit of browner makes like Melanoidin, Special B, darker caramel malt.
 

marc1

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It's still early days on this beer to be commenting on taste results, but...

As a bad engineer, I combined an all-new recipe with a new fermentation schedule. I don't THINK the fermentation schedule is a factor here, but I'll describe it.

1. First 20 hours after yeast pitch, just let it vent into blow off.
2. Added spunding at 5 psi and let it continue to ferment at around 68-70f until it looked close to FG.
3. Dialed up spunding to 29 psi to let it naturally carbonate and raised temperature to around 70f (slow oscillations from heating element 69-72f).
4. Once Tilt gravity was flat for just over 3 days, I moved fermentor into fridge to cold crash.

I tasted it yesterday when it was at about 48f (warmer than my taste buds typically prefer). I want to impressed with the natural carbonation, but the taste was too sweet. I was hoping for something more "chunky", like drinking a granola bar. I thought using a Chico yeast would eliminate that sweetness. I don't know if this is a general problem with heavy wheat malt bills? I'm thinking I probably should change my water salts to give me more of a bite, and maybe a bit of browner makes like Melanoidin, Special B, darker caramel malt.

Wait for it to be conditioned before passing final judgement on it. Although if it is still too sweet, you can aim for lower final gravity via mash temp, use less crystal, and/or up the IBUs in the next batch.
 
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