This was the first beer where I tried doing some customization. I wanted a nice summer beer, and my wife suggested a hef. Always a nice light-ish, refreshing brew, that hefeweizen. I’ve really been enjoying rye stuff lately, though, so I started with a local homebrew supplier’s American Hefeweizen recipe and worked some rye character into it. The rye grain varieties available were a few forms of crystal rye, all generally darker than the color of a typical hefeweizen. The sales person was looking for a lighter alternative, noting that the rye we found was going to cast a dark shadow on the golden innocence of my brew. But I was already corrupting the style, so I figured ‘what the hell’.
Starter Date: 6-8-12
Brew Date: 6-10-12
Base Malt: 6.5 lbs. Wheat LME
Steeping Grains: 0.5 lbs. flaked wheat, 0.5 lbs. unmalted wheat, 0.5 lbs. crystal rye (all steeped from cold up to 180°F)
Yeast: White Labs WLP320 American Hefeweizen (pitched at 68°F, started two days prior, conditioned on stir plate)
Hops: Liberty at 5.3% α
- 0.6 oz. at 60 min
- 0.6 oz. at 0 min
Additional Additives: None. (Wanted it cloudy, hef-style. Also, I’ve learned that my Irish moss is a bad idea with extract brewing. Thanks, John Palmer.)
- 1.042 at pitch 6-10-12, noon-ish (low?)
- Unknown at secondary racking (forgetful me), 6-17-12
- 1.012 at bottling 6-30-12
Estimated ABV: 4.0%
Bottling Notes: 7 oz. corn sugar. See more details below.
- Forgot to prepare a block of ice. Instead had to cool stock pot of beer in ice bath in the sink. This is supposedly better anyway (you’re not supposed to aerate hot wort, and dumping a pot full of hot wort on a block of ice is sure to introduce some oxygen), though it did take longer to cool to pitching temp. The longer time might contribute to chill haze, but who cares with a hef, right? Still, this might also decrease the shelf life of the beer somewhat, according to Palmer. The time was not excessive, but more than I’m comfortable with.
- Due to above concerns, I’m more seriously considering making a wort chiller. (I know I’ll end up doing it eventually anyway.)
The crystal rye was used to replace some of the wheat steeping grains (flaked and unmalted). As the crystal malt has its own sugars, however (and the wheat does not have this characteristic), we (the sales person—a homebrewer himself—and I) decided to deduct some of the liquid malt extract (the recipe called for a small amount of golden LME in addition to the majority wheat LME – we cut out the golden).
There was also a German Hefeweizen recipe at the store. The American version is similar but with hefeweizen’s characteristic phenolic/ester notes (banana/clove/bubblegum/etc.) toned down. I figured this is the way to go, since I do want to notice the rye character and don’t want to have too many flavors fighting with each other.
Hefeweizens like lots of fizziness, so I also researched carbonation. I wanted to shoot for about 4 volumes of CO2 (which is about mid-range, though this varies depending on your source). To be safe, I cut it do 3.8 volumes of CO2, but this was about 8 oz. of corn sugar. This was 1 2/3 cup! Made me nervous, so I did roughly 3.45 volumes at 7 oz instead. A low-ish carbonation for a hef, but I bottled this right before leaving town. While away, I kept the bottled beer in the tub in case of bottle explosions. Four weeks later, no pops!