Honey Hefe

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ManTail

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Hi there, folks! I'm brand new to this hobby - currently, I have a Smooth Nut Brown sitting in a fermenter. I'm getting the bug to try my hand at putting my first recipe together from scratch. I'm looking for a mellow-tasting hefeweizen - something fruity, smooth with a bit of honey on the backend. Please keep in mind this is my first-ever recipe. I'm using BrewTarget to try to hit the numbers I'm searching for. Here's what I have:

HONEY HEFEY

5-gallon batch | 60-minute boil

Fermentables
2.5 lb - Briess DME Bavarian Wheat
2.5 lb - Briess LME Golden Light
1 lb - Honey
1/2 lb - Carapils (steeped)

Hops
1 oz - Hallertau (60 min.)
1/2 oz - Saaz (20 min.)

Miscellaneous
Orange peel zest from 4 oranges

Yeast
White Labs WLP380

In the primary for 3 weeks.

Bottle condition for 3 weeks.

Sooo - how close am I?! Thanks in advance for any help you guys can offer!

Brandon
 

zachattack

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In general this looks great for a first recipe! I have some feedback though.

1) The honey will just get fermented out, and won't leave much honey flavor, even if you add it at the end of the boil or during primary. You can try a small amount of Honey Malt (0.5 lb maybe) if you want honey flavor. If you were counting on the honey for the fermentables you can certainly leave it in, it's just going to dry things out. Personally I'd do a little honey malt and boost the DME a bit to get the OG back to where it was.

2) A traditional hefe is somewhere in the neighborhood of 50/50 wheat malt and pilsner malt. The Briess Bavarian Wheat DME is 65/35 wheat/barley, so I'd suggest doing something like 4 lbs of the wheat DME to 1 lb of the golden light. Then you'll get roughly 50/50 wheat/barley.

3) A lot of DME (including Golden Light) already contains some carapils, so I'd skip the the steeping carapils.

4) A lot of hefe yeasts are picky about temperature (a few degrees higher can lead to a banana bomb) so make sure you can control it!

5) To keep the color light, I'd suggest a late addition for most of the extract.

:mug:
 
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ManTail

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What a great help - thank you, Zach! One additional question about the color - you mention a late addition of most of the extract to keep the color light. Are you referring to the boil? Sorry if this is a dumb question - I just started brewing last week. I've done a ton of studying already, and it was my understanding that extracts were usually added before the boil as the water was heating up.

Thanks in advance for the clarification - I truly appreciate it!
 

zachattack

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Late addition means adding some/most of the extract towards the end of the boil, say with 10 or 15 minutes left. Extract has a tendency to darken during the boil (due to maillard recations as well as caramelization), so this is a good technique for extract beers to keep the color where you want it. There's a lot of good info on this forum, and here's an article I found with some quick googling:

http://beersmith.com/blog/2008/02/20/better-beer-with-late-malt-extract-additions/
 
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ManTail

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Ah ha! Great new information - I wasn't aware of this. Thanks for pointing me in that direction!
 
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ManTail

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I was thinking I like slices of orange with my hefs sometimes but, after researching further, it appears adding orange zest would kind of defeat the purpose of what I'm trying to accomplish with this beer. I've since downloaded a trial of BeerSmith2. It's helped me sort of zero in on proper ingredients for this style (I hope!) Here's an updated list of ingredients:

3 lbs Extra Light DME
3 lbs Wheat LME
8 oz Honey Malt (steeped)
1 oz Saaz hops
1.25 oz Halleartauer hops
Yeast: White Labs WLP380 Hef
1/4 lb Honey (flame out)

This would put me at appx:

OG: 1.050
FG: 1.011
IBU: 19.5
SRM: 6.8 (a little high)

Does this look any better?
 

julioardz

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ManTail said:
I'm looking for a mellow-tasting hefeweizen - something fruity, smooth with a bit of honey on the backend.
Your updated recipe looks much better for what you are going for. Orange zest, to me, makes the beer more bitter and adds a bold flavor that may overpower your yeast. When using a Hefeweizen yeast, I prefer to leave fruit and spices out of the beer and let the yeast shine on its own. For additions of fruits and spices, I use an American wheat strain. If you want that refreshing citrus taste, squeeze the orange slice when you serve it.

As stated, honey ferments out and you hardly get any flavor from it alone, but it does give you a boost in OG and ABV. The addition of honey malt will give you a nice honey flavor. A little goes a long way. I try to keep honey malt at or under 5% of my total grain bill for my all-grain recipes, depending on other ingredients of course. Lowering your honey malt to 4oz may give you a more subtle honey flavor and will lower your SRM.

I am curious about your choice in yeast. WLP380 has a more clove/phenolic flavor and aroma. It has a great flavor and I often prefer it over the more traditional WLP300, which has more banana/ester production. WLP300 seems to be a better choice if you want more fruity flavor and aroma. Either way, both are not only affected by fermentation temperature but also pitch rate. Larger starter and cooler fermentation produces more phenols, smaller starter and warmer fermentation produces more esters. More esters equal a more fruity flavor with these yeasts.

All this being said, one of my beers that was liked by many that tried it and that turned out to be one of my favorite wheat beers had 20% honey malt and was fermented cool with WLP380. I wouldn't say it was fruity or mellow. This one had a bold sweet honey taste that was balanced by the spicy flavor and aroma from the yeast and bitterness from the hops.

Whatever yeast you go with, keep in mind that both of these tend to produce sulfur during fermentation. They generally give off a horrible rotten egg smell for a few days. This is normal and will fade with time. It's interesting how something so foul smelling at first can turn out to be very tasty.

Finally, on the hops. For wheat beers, and more specifically, Hefeweizens, I prefer a single bittering addition at the start of the boil that will get me to my intended IBU. I leave out the flavor and aroma hops so that more of the yeast and wheat dominate the flavor, but that's me.
 
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