Fermentis

Recipe #003 - German Hefeweizen

Recipe

Malt

50% Briess Brewer’s

50% Briess Red Wheat

Hop Schedule

15 IBU Hallertau Mittelfruh @ 60min

Yeast

Fermentis WB-06

Process

Mash In @ 50C

Beta Rest @ 60C, 30min

Alpha Rest @ 70C, 30min

Mash Out @ 78C, 15min

Boil, 60min

Kettle No-Chill

Ferment @ 25C, 7 Days

OG: 9.2P — IBU: 15 — ABV: 3.6%

Aroma

Specific Aromas

Clove, Ripe Banana, Banana Bread

Flavor

Specific Flavors

Clove, White Bread

Impression

Light, Crisp, Effervescent, Refreshing

The Ale

It is HOT & humid where I live. I wanted something light & refreshing. Having recently brewed a few hop forward ales for the blog, I really needed something crispy & malty. What better mid-summer ale than a German-styled Hefeweizen? This isn’t my 1st Hefe, & certainly won’t be my last, but the focus of this ale was 2-fold. 1st, to try the kettle no-chill. More on that later. 2nd, to let it ferment @ mid-summer apartment temps without air conditioning to see how Fermentis’ WB-06 performs.

To start off, lets talk about the kettle no-chill. I’m sure some of you are wincing, but hear me out. What sparked my interest in no-chill was my reluctance to waste water. Running cold water through a clean copper chiller right into a drain never sat well with me. Yes, you can collect that water to clean with, or do a load of laundry, but I live in an apartment. My wife would have some… ‘feelings’ about me lugging 5-gallon buckets of H2O up & down the hallway. I also loath cleaning that copper coiled chiller in my small apartment sink. Frankly, its a pain. I thought about the Australian technique of transferring the hot wort to a plastic container, purging the air to limit exposure to oxygen, & allowing the temperature of the wort to sanitize the vessel. I find suitable containers aren’t that easy to locate & purchase in the states, And, I really don’t want another container. I’m also not super comfortable with my hot wort coming into prolonged contact with plastic (HDPE or not). This is where the kettle no-chill comes in. When the wort is done boiling, I soak a hand-towel in sanitizer, drape that towel over the kettle, snuggly fit the kettle’s lid, & let the kettle air-cool for 12-24 hrs. Then, the next day, I transfer the chilled wort to my fermenter, pitch the yeast, & clean the kettle. So… how did that work for me?

Really well! The ale, bottle conditioned for 4 weeks, is a hazy straw-yellow & pours with a tall, peak-a-licious white head. It has everything you’d expect from a good Hefeweizen, including banana, clove, & wheat. What is really interesting is how clean it is. A combination of kettle no-chill & high fermentation temps had me worried, but there are no off flavors or aromas. None.

You may be asking yourself, is kettle no-chill a viable option? I really think so, but I’m going to put it through a few more trials to be sure (may not work out so well with hop forward ales). You may also be asking yourself, is it possible to push the limits of fermentation temperature with little to no ill-effects? Also yes, at least for WB-06!

Positives

The ale was exactly what I was looking for. Light, crisp, bubbly, low in alcohol, & overall in balance. With a couple weeks bottle-lagering in the fridge, it’ll pour crystal clear. It has the necessary banana, clove, & breadiness that I come to expect from a Hefe, & I love it. I would definitely brew it again.

Next Time

I might bump the gravity & alcohol a bit. I think, for some, it might come across a little too thin or lacking in flavor. Otherwise, the ale is solid. It really is, even with all the brewing antics :-)

Overall Preference

A poll on people's preference for the ale, updated regularly, based on a scale of 1-5 & organized by # of people for each rating.
I would buy this. I would buy more than one of this.
— C.F.

Yeast #002 - Fermentis S-04

Recipe

Malt

100% Briess Brewer’s

Hop Schedule

30.7 IBU Magnum @ 60min

Yeast

Fermentis S-04

Process

Mash In @ 50C, 0min

Beta Rest @ 60C, 30min

Alpha Rest @ 70C, 30min

Mash Out @ 78C, 15min

Boil 75min

Chill

Ferment @ 20C, 7 Days

OG: 12.9P — IBU: 30.7 — ABV: 5.0%

Aroma

Specific aromas

Ripe Blueberry, Ripe Strawberry, Plum, Vanilla

Flavor

Specific flavors

Ripe Blueberry, Ripe Strawberry, Plum

Impression

Initially Sweet, Thin, Bitter & Dry Finish

The Ale

Fermentis S-04. The manufacturer advertises this yeast as the cask-conditioner, best suited for ales requiring clarity through yeast flocculation. Recipes calling for the use of S-04 are English in nature, ranging from English bitters, summer milds, & malty brown ales. It has a medium attenuation, high flocculation, & per Fermentis, a surprisingly high alcohol tolerance. Aside from the flocculation, it seems the desired trait from this yeast are its esters, reported to provide a smattering of fruity esters to compliment whatever ale it is used in.

I pitched on a simple wort to allow the yeast’s properties to take center stage. It fermented the ale quickly & flocculated hard, allowing a refreshingly clean bottle transfer directly from the fermenter. No bottle chunks. The ale conditioned @ room temperature for 4 weeks before the 1st tasting. When poured, almost no bottle rub made it into the glass. When Fermentis advertises that this yeast flocculates, they aren’t exaggerating. The resulting ale-in-glass is crystal clear. I’d say 90% as clear as a lager, which is great for an ale conditioned @ room temperature. There is a nice, pillowy white head.

Positives

The flocculation, obviously. For anyone that bottles, they should give this yeast a try. The fruity esters are expressive, resulting in some interesting flavor & aromas that would be hard to duplicate with any other method. I can see why English styles request this yeast, as I’m sure it pairs beautifully with the floral characteristics of most English hops. I’d use it to ferment anything that would benefit from additional flavor, especially because the medium attenuation would provide a luscious mouthful. If only I had a beer engine… wonder how it would do in an NE IPA?

Next Time

I don’t recommend brewing this exact beer unless you are determined to experience the specifics of this yeast. Though S-04 has much to offer, without the supporting cast of flavorful malt or colorful hops, the beer is a bit too simple. I’d like to try a similar recipe, but with an English hop like East King Goldings & a more substantially kilned base malt. Also, I recommend watching that fermentation temperature. I fermented @ the high end of the range & I am right on the cusp of “esters gone wrong”.

Yeast #001 - Fermentis S-33

Recipe

Malt

100% Briess Brewer’s

Hop Schedule

17.7 IBU Magnum @ 60min

Yeast

Fermentis S-33

Process

Mash In @ 60C, 0min

Saccharification Rest @ 67C, 90min

Mash Out @ 78C, 15min

Boil 75min

Chill

Ferment @ 20C, 7 Days

OG: 12.6P — IBU: 17.7 — ABV: 4.5%

Aroma

Specific aromas

Vanilla, Chamomile, Daisy

Flavor

Specific flavors

Chamomile, White Tea, Plum, Grape Skin

Impression

Sweet, Slightly Cloying, Light, Refreshing

The Ale

Fermentis S-33. There isn’t much out there on the internets about S-33. The manufacture describes it as a “General purpose ale yeast with neutral flavor profiles […] gives beers a very good length on the palate […] recommended for specialty ales and trappist type beers.” My understanding is that a specialty-type ale is an ale without an official category or style. There is much debate on brewing forums if S-33 originates from a Belgian strain or an English strain. So, in an effort to get an idea of how it brews, I devised a SMASH ale to allow it to express itself.

After pitching on fresh wort, S-33 fermented quickly without notable incident. Post bottling & while cleaning my fermentation vessel, I noticed that fermentation residue had stuck to all sides of the fermenter. It was a little odd, and hasn’t happened to me before, but after a swirl & soak in PBW, it came off no trouble. The capped bottles conditioned for 4 weeks at room temperature before I had my first glass. When poured, S-33 mostly remains at the bottom of the bottle. Though the bottle dregs aren’t as compact as an English cask yeast, they are tighter then the typical American yeast I’ve used. In the glass, the ale is pale yellow, slightly hazy when chilled, & has a tall, long lasting white head.

Positives

I am proud how S-33 held its own! The ale had unique aromas & flavors though the ingredient list was so simple . Given the standout floral aspects of both the aromas & the flavors, I’d like to use it to ferment a dry blonde ale, mashed with lightly kilned malt and boiled with floral-focused or noble hops. It might also work well in a wheat ale, accentuated with real fruit or flowers in the grist. I’m truly looking forward to further recipe trials with S-33.

Next Time

I’ll mash at a lower temperature to dry the beer out. I’ll also increase the bitterness because an IBU of 17.7 is not enough to balance the malty sweetness & yeasty esters.

It is fruity in the aroma & vanilla-y in the flavor. It would be a good beer for someone transitioning into beer-drinking.
— My Wife