Saturday, June 4, 2011

One off to the secondary, and yeast starter for the next...

So... yeah. Absolutely *nothing* like a Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA. No roasted malt, and the hops are low alpha acid. Upon doing more research, it seems to be a lot more like a Belgian Tripel as far as the grain and sugar, high ABV, and low alpha acid hop choice. The yeast is a pale ale yeast and not a belgian, but I'm sure it's still going to end up delicious. This bad boy has spent a month in the primary, and it's a very clear, pale yellow. The nose is very mead/sweet-ish, and still had a rare bubble here and there a few days ago. Last weekend the gravity was 1.010, which put this fat bastard at 10.1%!  The taste is good with a sweet back-end, just like the wife. ;) Tomorrow it's off to the secondary for a week just for some additional clarity.

Just in time, too... I am trying out a variation of a honey hefeweizen recipe tomorrow that I ripped from Sir Humpsalot on the forums. Here's the recipe as originally posted by him:
Recipe Type: All Grain
Yeast: WLP 300 (Hefe yeast)
Yeast Starter: Yeast cake
Batch Size (Gallons): 5
Original Gravity: 1.060
Final Gravity: 1.010
IBU: 28.4
Boiling Time (Minutes): 90
Color: 9.1
Primary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp): 28 days at 72

This recipe arose out of my desire to brew a Honey Hefeweizen with some honey and brumalt. It just seemed like a natural recipe to me and this is my third attempt, tweaking the recipe, here's what I came up with. It is Hefe Candy- it tastes like a hefeweizen, but has an incredible candy-like quality. The belgians would be proud. Don't think of this as a German Hefeweizen. Think of it as a Belgian with a ton of character. In fact, some candy sugar would be perfectly at home in this recipe...

Yes, ladies and gents, I finally, I have a beer worth sharing with you. This one is worth the price of admission for you malt-heads. It is special. I won't say everyone should brew this. It's definitely going to appeal to its core audience of malt lovers. But, if you love malt, honey, and hefeweizen, you've GOT to try this. It's like pouring yourself a Willy Wonka candy... It may not be an Everlasting Gobstopper, but its a Banana-Split. And honey on a tit.

Imagine if the Belgians invented the Hefeweizen. This might be what they came up with... Add some Brettanomyces and you'll have a beer with all of the universe's complexity. Without it, you have an amazing dessert beer, perfect for 12 ounce bottles. I've been switching to 22 ounce bottles, but this one just begs for 12's. It's the perfect size. Each 12-er is like opening the wrapper of a confectionery delight! Like a chocolate in a box, if they were twice the size, they just wouldn't be right.

This beer has got a TON of character. I dare compare it to Goose Island's Bourbon County Stout. It has nearly that complexity.. but without the years' worth of aging. It's only 5.8% ABV, so it's not meant to age forever or take a long time like Barleywines or Imperial Stouts. It's meant to be ready fairly quickly, but it definitely gives the illusion of a strong beer. It's got that intense mouthfeel and thickness, almost a syrup-like quality that really satisfies. And yet, at its heart, it is a wheat beer, perfect for a hot summer day. It's definitely a beer that drinks bigger than it is. If you want a "light beer" this is definitely a recipe that you could lighten up... and still wind up with a "real" beer.

Best of all, for as intense as the taste is, this baby is ready to drink within a month. If you love Bourbon County Stout and Hefeweizens, you'll love this as well. I've had "wheat wines". Basically barley wines with wheat. They tend to be "sharp" tasting like barleywines. This is FAR better than anything in that genre. This is smoothness, trapped in a bottle after only a month.

Based on 65% efficiency:
6.0 lbs Malted German Wheat
4.0 lbs German Pilsner
2.0 lbs Honey Malt (aka Brumalt)
1.0 oz Hallertau (6.0% AA) at 60
0.5 oz Hallertau (6.0% AA) at 30
0.25 lbs clove honey (added after the primary ferment starts to subside)

Note, there is no secondary. Just 3-4 weeks in primary, then bottle.

Single infusion mash at 157 with a 90 minute boil to impart some caramel-like maltiness. The real "honey flavor" comes from the brumalt. Don't over-do the real honey because it will dry out the beer. Get most of your flavor from the brumalt- it will increase the complexity of the beer. If fermenting at a lower temp, use wildflower honey. If (like me) you are stuck with higher temps, use clove honey to impart at least a hint of cloviness. I fermented in the mid-70's.

The end result is very sweet. Candy-like. Bottle in 12 ounce bottles and it's like unwrapping a Brach's candy. 22 ounces would just be overkill. This isn't a sickeningly sweet recipe, but it's certainly a desert beer. It's like a great strong barleywine, but without the long aging period. This is something special. I hope you agree.

So there it is. Sir Humpsalot lays it out in pretty straightforward fashion. This will be my first true all-grain (the CBC wort was all-grain, but I didn't do the actual mash/infusion). We went to Gentile's, but unfortunately they didn't have the German grains. I had to sub in Briess White Wheat Malt (an American grain) and Briess Pilsner (again, an American).
I'm about to go get the WLP 300 started up for tomorrow. Wish me luck - the grains for this one smell absolutely delicious, like Honey Nut Cheerios meets granola. Yum.

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