Weird American Wheat (all-grain)

I was looking to try something new, so I threw together a recipe for a hopped up American style wheat beer. Looking for something nicely hopped, crisp, slightly fruity while remaining more on the wheat-y side than a hoppy pale ale. [In the end this came out sort of strange.. in case you want to skip to the end!]
  • 5 lb US 2-row barley
  • 4 lb White wheat malt
  • 1 lb Vienna malt
  • 0.75 lb Biscuit malt
  • 0.5 lb Melanoidin malt
  • 0.5 oz Amarillo hops (FWH)
  • 1 oz Hallertauer hops (60 min)
  • 0.25 oz Warrior hops (60 min)
  • 1 oz Hallertauer hops  (30 min)
  • 0.5 oz Amarillo hops (5 min)
  • 0.5 oz bitter orange peel (5 min)
  • White Labs California Ale yeast

// Strike w/ 3.75 gal 165F water, mash at 154 for 50 minutes, raise temp to 165 and hold 10 minutes. Batch sparged to collect ~6 gallons, 1.041 pre-boil wort. Boiled 60 minutes to get ~4.5 gallons. Chilled to 75, pitch 2qt starter. Brewed 1/13/13.  OG 1.063 //

I only added the 0.25 oz of Warrior at the beginning since I had it leftover from the previous batch, and figured it would give it a little extra kick of bitterness than a standard wheat beer. I’m sure this would be OK without it. The hallertau at 30 should give it a nice hoppy bite in the middle, reserving the fruity Amarillo for a first-wort-hopping (flavor) and a very late addition (aroma). I feel like I use a ton of Hallertau and Amarillo in my beers since I’m confident in what they’re going to do for me. But yeah, I really do need to branch out and experiment with some new hops.

This was the first time trying out my new mash tun, which is a converted keg with false bottom. The false bottom was a little bent when I received it, so it didn’t sit perfectly level in the bottom of the keg. I preceded anyway, figuring it might just work itself out and be weighted down by the grains – sure enough, it did not weigh itself down and I got a stuck sparge. Wound up dumping the mash into my cooler tun and doing my usual batch sparge there. Crisis averted.

THE VERDICT

I never got around to document updates after primary/secondary, but overall this beer came out pretty weird and different. FG was 1.013. The nose is  fruity – mild mango/passionfruit from that amarillo – and a slight buttery, toasty aroma which is interesting. Not sure where that’s from – possibly the vienna? Not like popcorn butter, more like a sweet orange marmalade. Up front the flavor is very nice –  smooth hop flavor with some light toasty cracker-y malt flavors. The wheat malt is extremely subtle and hardly noticeable. I think it could have benefited from some light dry hopping (maybe just 1/2 oz of something for a week), but I didn’t want to get too ingredient-crazy on the first iteration. Good amount of body and a pleasantly sweet malty finish works well with the hoppy-ness up front. Very mild bitterness which works very well. Light orange color.

UPDATE: After 2 weeks in the keg, the strange marmalade/buttery-ness has subsided a bit. I got paranoid and started google-ing around, and most people seem to think buttery flavors can be from either an infection or too low of fermentation temps (basically excess diacetyl). I highly doubt it was an infection (it wasn’t unpleasant, and, eventually subsided), but I did ferment fairly cool since it is winter (~62F). The more I taste, the more I believe the orange/buttery is just a result of the recipe as a whole: combining Amarillo, orange peel and Vienna/Biscuit..maybe even the white wheat is partly to blame. I won’t make this exact recipe again, but I do like the idea of an American wheat.

I think the next recipe should look something like this:

  • 2-row, wheat malt, flaked wheat, small amount of caramumich or light crystal
  • Cascade + citra hops
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Filed under All-grain, Wheat beers

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