50% Briess Brewer’s
50% Briess Red Wheat
15 IBU Hallertau Mittelfruh @ 60min
Mash In @ 50C
Beta Rest @ 60C, 30min
Alpha Rest @ 70C, 30min
Mash Out @ 78C, 15min
Ferment @ 25C, 7 Days
OG: 9.2P — IBU: 15 — ABV: 3.6%
Clove, Ripe Banana, Banana Bread
Clove, White Bread
Light, Crisp, Effervescent, Refreshing
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!
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.
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 :-)