Recipe Series: German Wheat

A wheat beer is a great style to have regularly featured on even the most ambitious of brewing schedules. It is a style that lends itself to be brewed with either tradition in mind or experimentation, particularly with the addition of fruit. Today we stick with tradition and brew a traditional wheat beer similar to those found in Bavaria.

Batch Size: 10 gallons

The Ingredients

Grain Selection

  • 8.5lbs Weyermann Bohemian Pilsner Malt
  • 8.5lbs Weyermann Wheat Malt
  • 5.6 oz Weyerman Aciduated Malt
  • 3 oz Weyermann CaraBohemian Malt

Hop

Variety: Psalter Select (garden grown)

  • 40 minutes: 8oz
  • 20 minutes 5oz
  • 2 minutes 2oz

Yeast

Safbrew WB-06

This was my first wheat beer brew day so I do not have experience with the characteristics of different wheat beer yeasts. I have had good experience with other Fermentis (the Europe based producer of Safbrew) yeasts so I decided to give the Safbrew WB-06 a try.

The Process

The Grain Crush

  1. If you are new to brewing with wheat you will notice that the wheat kernel is much smaller than the barley kernel. You will need to adjust your grain mill to adjust for this size difference.

Mash and Decoction

  1. Begin the mash at 148 degrees Fahrenheit and hold this temperature for 45 minutes.  Around the 30 minute mark you will begin to notice that the top layer of liquid in your mash tun has turned from hazy to clear. This is confirmation that your malt starches have been converted to sugars and you are ready to go to step 2!
  2. This next step is called a decoction and is critical for developing the final flavor of your beer. Put simply, a decoction is the process of temporary removing and boiling a portion of the grains used in the mash. The result of this boiling process is the creation of caramelized sugars. Taking an otherwise bland wheat beer (due to a boring grain selection) and darkening the color and adding slight caramel notes to the final beer. Begin the decoction by removing approximately one quart of wet grain from the mash per recipe pound. I remove approximately 17 quarts for this recipe. Place these wet grains in a separate kettle and begin to heat while continuously mixing to avoid burning. Once you see the first signs of a boil set a timer for 5 minutes. Continue mixing for the entire 5 minutes.
  3. Stop boiling after five minutes and return the boiled grains back to the original kettle quart by quart. Have an eye on the temperature and keep adding grains until you reach 155 degrees. Slowly add the remaining grains while maintaining this temperature. After 15 minutes at 155 degrees you are ready for the sparge!

Fermentation

  1. Ferment at 62 degrees for 4 weeks in the same primary fermenter.

Review

Nice beer but it has the unique effect of putting you to sleep. Apparently hop oils make you sleepy. Next time we are using a bit less hops and fermenting a bit warmer to increase the yeast flavor profile.

We used a three tier brew rig for our German wheat beer.

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Pure water is essential for quality beer. To emphasize the provenance of our beer we used local spring water without any adjustments. Embrace your local water characteristics!

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We are using garden grown aroma hop called Psalter Select. Unfortunately we do not know the alpha and beta acid levels so we are hoping for the best…

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