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If/When I should add lemon to Wheat Beer

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JeanLucD

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Hey there, I've decided to make a wheat beer, and this'll be my 2nd beer to date (I also did a cider, which I've sortof gotten sick of, which is why I'm turning it into apple jack :D, but I digress) Anyway, I thought that it would taste quite nice to add some lemonyness to the wheat beer, since it is quite a light/delicate type flavoured beer - at least that's what the wheat beer that I tried was like.

Now I'm not sure what I should actually add to give this lemon flavour, whether I should add just lemon juice at the beginnning, or during 2ndary, or zest or even just cut up fruit in the 2ndary. Maybe I should try and infuse the lemon into the water at the beginning, by putting some cut up lemons into boiling water. I am really thoroughly confused, and unsure on which way will be easiest or best, or maybe I'm tottaly off the mark.

Any feedback would be much appreciated, and I wouldn't mind it pretty quick cos I'm thinking about starting it in a few days (I've first got to purify some water, I wanna see what it's like with distilled water). Thx in advance and sorry about the somewhat long post. :cross:
 
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I think you would be best served by brewing an American wheat recipe and fermenting at the high end of a wheat/hefe yeast's temperature range. That should give you a subtle, but fruity flavor profile. Add a lemon slice at serving time if you want a distinct lemon flavor to accompany your beer.

If, however, you really want to specifically flavor the beer with lemon before bottling/kegging, here's what I recommend: Add a teaspoon of dried lemon peel (available in the spice section of your grocery store) to your wort just as the boil finishes. If the lemon flavor isn't strong enough after you rack the beer for clearing, add a "tea" of another teaspoon (or two) of dried lemon peel steeped for a few minutes in hot water.
 

Pabst Blue Robot

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I've noted that a lot of places will actually just serve the hef with a slice right in the glass. If you're going to add lemon to the finished beer, I might advise stablilizing it first with sulphites because fermented citrus doesn't taste anything like fresh citrus.
 
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JeanLucD

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Wow I said quick, but I wasn't expecting speed the likes of that on this forum! Thanks guys, yea I did a little search (which I guess I should've done before posting, woops) and saw that they r often served with lemon, but I've never actually ordered a hef or any other wheat beer at a bar before, so I wouldn't know - don't know if they even do it down here in New Zealand.

I might try that Yuri, although maybe substitute the dried lemon peel with lemon zest, cos its just past the lemon season down here, so we still have some fresh lemons on the tree - and tbh I can't be arsed going and looking for it, cos I doubt I'll b going to the supermarket for quite some time, haha. I think I might just add a little bit of lemon, just so that it's a vague suggestion of lemon - and if I feel like more lemon, I can add it to the glass. I'll also try the higher temp thing, although it'll probably happen anyway, it's only just started getting a bit cooler lately, so my hotwater cupboard should be quite warm.

Thx again guys, that was quick!
 
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Fresh lemon zest is full of oils that will likely kill the otherwise great, foamy head of a wheat beer. I recommended dried lemon peel for that reason. Should've said that before.
 

Sir Humpsalot

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Creating a beer with the intent of dressing it up seems sort of weird.

Corona tastes better with a lime... because it tastes bad without one.

If a beer goes well with fruit, well then that's a pretty cool thing, but if a beer needs fruit to taste right, well then maybe it just isn't a very good beer.

I have an Special Orange Bitter that's conditioning right now. It's pretty tasty. I added the orange because, after sitting in secondary for two weeks, the flavor was uninteresting and I was afraid it would be a very mediocre flavor... but I had specifically selected the hops variety (amarillo), knowing that it would probably pair well with a citrus fruit, most likely orange. Sure enough, I took a sip, looked at the orangish hue, and thought Orange! And thus was born my SOB- Special Orange Bitter. But if it had been delicious out of the secondary, I wouldn't have wasted my time with fruit.

I'm not going EAC here. I'm not saying don't experiment. Experimenting is the best part. :) But start out with a recipe that you think will go well with fruit. Taste it in the secondary, then add it as a tea if you think it needs it. Then, if the recipe is a winner, add the zest or fruit into the boil or wherever you think is best next time you make it. The thing I worry about, when you try to design a beer specifically for an adjunct is: 1. What if the beer is delicious without it? 2. What if you pick the wrong fruit and, having never tasted your beer without it, you miss the opportunity to identify a potentially great pairing of fruit and beer because you had your mind set on one fruit and one way of doing it?

Personally, if I hadn't been so locked into making an SOB (just for the novelty), I might've made an SGB- Special Grapefruit Bitter. But I never even thought about it because I was locked into Orange. IMO, that was an opportunity squandered for a silly reason... not that I'm complaining, mind you.... ;)

I'm just saying keep your mind open to the possibilities... and wait as long as you can, tasting along the way, before you make a decision on how to treat the entire batch...
 

Desert_Sky

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I been to a couple of places that make a great Hefe. They refuse to allow any sort of lemon or orange to go in the beer. And IMHO it doesnt even need it.

However, if you really do want to do it, just add a slice to the side of your glass when you pour
 

lgtg

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In Germany, young people also like to add Pepsi or Coke to the hefes for a bit of a carmel like flavor...I never felt like it would be something that I'd try but young teen age Germans liked it...
 
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JeanLucD

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Actually I see what ur saying Toot, and thanks for pointing out that the fresh zest will kill the head on the beer Yuri - I definetly would NOT want that, I think I might take your advice and steer clear of the fruit until I taste the beer in the 2ndary. My mum sorta said something similar - what if I put lemon flavouring into it and I actually don't like it, then its a wasted batch (well, I'd still drink it, but I wouldn't enjoy it as much, hehe) but if I taste it without the lemon and think that it might taste better with a little extra something, then I can add it then.

I think your right Toot, I've sort of gone into it thinking "I wouldn't mind a lemony wheat beer" as opposed to thinking, "How can I make my beer taste the best?" - whether it means just leaving it, or maybe adding some other sort of adjunct to improve the flavour.

Mmmm, this is making me want the beer right now! Good thing I'm also making some apple jack at the momment, hopefully that'll keep my busy until the beer's done :D.
 

zoebisch01

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homebrewer_99 said:
I don't recommend any fruit with a German Hefe Weizen...I couldn't care less what you do to an American Wheat...:D

...Amen...


It ruins the head, imo.

One suggestion is to try those really citrusy lemony hops like Oh what's that one developed by Sapporo? GRRR....

Sorachi Ace, that's the one. Use about a half oz or so as a finishing hop and that should give you the flavor you are looking for. Also make it American Hefe :D
 

Pedro-

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JeanLucD said:
my hotwater cupboard should be quite warm.
How warm are you thinking?

I wouldn't go higher than 21°C

That would be high in the style range. Any higher and you'll be making some strong fusel alcohols. Think hangover after one beer.

Had a pumpkin beer ferment in the 75°F range, whooooaa buddy that sucker gave one hell of a headache after just one pint. :(
 

BarryNL

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JeanLucD said:
Now I'm not sure what I should actually add to give this lemon flavour, whether I should add just lemon juice at the beginnning, or during 2ndary, or zest or even just cut up fruit in the 2ndary. Maybe I should try and infuse the lemon into the water at the beginning, by putting some cut up lemons into boiling water. I am really thoroughly confused, and unsure on which way will be easiest or best, or maybe I'm tottaly off the mark.
Mostly wheat beer gets served with a slice of lemon in the glass. I wouldn't bother adding it to the brew - just add a bit of fresh lemon when you serve it.
 
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JeanLucD

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drouillp said:
How warm are you thinking?

I wouldn't go higher than 21°C

That would be high in the style range. Any higher and you'll be making some strong fusel alcohols. Think hangover after one beer.

Had a pumpkin beer ferment in the 75°F range, whooooaa buddy that sucker gave one hell of a headache after just one pint. :(
Ooo.. well I do like to keep it around 18°C, and luckily it has suddenly gotten a lot colder, so I don't think I'll have to use the old wet towel/bucket trick which I find such a pain in the arse. I definetly don't want fusel alcohols, thankfully I haven't experienced the effects of them, and I plan to keep it that way. I like my head headache free, hehe. :cross: Should I go up to 20 °C to get more fruityness tho or just stick to 18ish? I almost wonder if my thermometer stickers are actually any good - I feel like I should get a proper one, but then thats just another cost...

I'm pretty sure now that I won't b using any lemon, unless I screw this brew up (which I doubt I will :D) and I'm not quite at the stage yet where I'm boiling in the hops - I'm still using kits *gasp*, I know... I said it... the k word. I don't think I've got the equipment yet for even partial boils, cos our elements on our stove are those ****ty electric ones - damn backwards New Zealand, where's the gas at!?! Not to mention the fact that I'm a somewhat poor uni (collage) kid - living on a student benefit ;).
 

King of the Swill

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Try a slice of an orange in the glass to get a great flavor. I use a lemon sometimes and an orange sometimes...gives a little different taste. Just don't use so much that it ruins the beer flavor or it will turn into a girly drink.
 

Ryanh1801

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Personally I like a fresh citrus in a wheat beer, I think it brings out flavor.

Just saw you sig, about Lubbock, let me tell you thats the truth about that town mainly because of the freakishly high STD rate. I lived there for 2 years.
 

EdWort

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homebrewer_99 said:
I don't recommend any fruit with a German Hefe Weizen...I couldn't care less what you do to an American Wheat...:D
Took the words out of my mouth :D

No fruit in my beer, unless it is from Mexico, and that's a slice of lime to keep the flies out of the bottle. :D
 
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I remember this one bar that served an orange slice on a blue moon, that's the only time I've seen it. It was ok, but could've done without the orange imo. An American wheat, sure, I don't like those anyway so why not add some fruit. A german hefe? No chance any fruit is touching that beer.
 

zoebisch01

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EdWort said:
No fruit in my beer, unless it is from Mexico, and that's a slice of lime to keep the flies out of the bottle. :D

I think coffee just came out my nose :fro:
 

woosterhoot

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lgtg said:
In Germany, young people also like to add Pepsi or Coke to the hefes for a bit of a carmel like flavor...I never felt like it would be something that I'd try but young teen age Germans liked it...
I never thought about it before, but when i was in Munich they never served lemon in the beer just with the schnitzel. Here its very common.
 
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JeanLucD

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EdWort said:
No fruit in my beer, unless it is from Mexico, and that's a slice of lime to keep the flies out of the bottle. :D
Hehe so true, except limes r too expensive for me, :cross:. I hate to sound ignorant but whats the main difference between German hefe and an American wheat - other than the obvious ones originaly German, therefore probably more traditional and the other one is American.

And to Ryanh1801, now that I hear that about Lubbock, it makes me like that quote even more, hahaha :D - I guess I should feel sorry that you lived there for 2 years? :p

I think I'm secure enough in my manhood to have fruity "girly" drinks... you know, they just taste nice! I might try a whole variety of citrus fruits with my beer once it's done - maybe mandarin? Or maybe not...

On a little side note - I'm using a Munton's kit and I wonder if I should buy some yeast instead of using the yeast supplied, but what would b the best to buy? If I should.
 

gruntingfrog

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Toot said:
I have an Special Orange Bitter that's conditioning right now. It's pretty tasty...
What did you use for the Orange flavor? I used orange zest in my Orange Pale Ale, and it tastes like Mr. Clean Orange All Purpose Cleaner. :( I'm not tossing it yet. I'll let it age for a few months and see if that dies down a bit.
 

Pedro-

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JeanLucD said:
I hate to sound ignorant but whats the main difference between German hefe and an American wheat - other than the obvious ones originaly German, therefore probably more traditional and the other one is American.
Well the main diff is the yeast.

German heffe uses a german yeast giving it a fruity profile, american wheat usually uses a clean american yeast. The cleaner yeast leaves a slightly tangy profile in the beer that can be one hell of a thirst quencher. WLP001 will do just fine or one of the american wheat blends.

Just use what you got right now. It should be fine. After that batch you will know if you want a more fruity profile, or a cleaner profile in the beer and adjust for the next batch. You'll still have great beer, that's for sure!

edit: later you can get into wits, wheats, hefes, and so on. But for what your looking for right now just a clean wheat beer will be perfect.
 

Sir Humpsalot

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One more thought about adding fruit. I know I suggested adding it to the secondary, but I wanted to take that advice one step further..


Add the fruit AFTER the beer has been in secondary for two weeks. When doing my SOB, the beer started to get too orange-ish after only 24 hours with the zest. If I hadn't completely had my beer conditioned beforehand, I would've had to rack off to a third container in order to avoid excessive orange flavor. Instead, I was able to just siphon into the bottling bucket at the moment the beer was ready.

That's a much better way, IMHO, than having to siphon into a third container for conditioning. On the downside though, if you do wind up having to wait a week for your desired flavor profile, then that's one more week of waiting... but as I grow into this hobby more, I find that waiting an extra week isn't so bad... just so long as I have something else to drink in the interim... :mug:
 
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JeanLucD

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Ah I c now drouillp, so I guess the already fruityness of a German heffe, due to the yeast, would be why you wouldn't really want to add any fruit to it - because it would mask the complexities of flavour created?

And to Toot, I'll definetly take that in mind, cos I really wouldn't want to rack off to a tertiary cos I am lazy prick, haha, but I think I'd be able to live with an extra week - often once I've put a beer/cider into the 2ndary I tend to forget it a bit, and I think it'll happen especially easy this year now that I'm at uni, the weeks just fly by.

I do need something to drink during the wait though... I have a feeling my applejack isn't gonna last a few nights of drinking, let alone 6 weeks. *sigh* I guess I'll have to drink commercial stuff
 
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