Recipe

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.

Recipe #002 - English Bitter

Recipe

Malt

90% Briess Brewer’s

10% Briess Extra Special

Hop Schedule

27.4 IBU East Kent Golding @ 60min

5.5 IBU East Kent Golding @ 20min

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: 11.5P — IBU: 32.9 — ABV: 4.8%

Aroma

Specific Aromas

Dark Toffee, Apricot, Dried Fig, Vanilla

Flavor

Specific Flavors

Dark Raisins, Apricot, Toffee, Wood

Impression

Light, Dry, Bitter

The Ale

I’m fascinated with English-Style Ales, particularly the bitters. I read & then dream on how their biscuity malt blend harmoniously with their English hops, their pull from a beer engine fill each pint with a dense, creamy head, & the cellar temperature opens the door for the aromatics & flavors to entertain the senses. Of course, I don’t have an English pub nearby, nor a brewery or bar that serves on a beer engine, so the best I can do is brew one at home & bottle condition for the most authentic ‘real ale’ experience.

With this particular ale, I dabbled with Briess’s Extra Special malt. Briess’ analysis states it creates aromas & flavors like prunes, wood, coffee, toast, & toasted marshmallow. After smelling & tasting the grain, I thought it would pair well with English hops & yeast. When I brewed, I implemented a step mash to dry the ale out, & bottle conditioned for 4-weeks before tasting.

The ale pours crystal clear thanks to S-04, with a medium off-white head & a beautiful amber copper color with cherry red hues when held to a light. It is one of the most striking beers I’ve ever home-brewed.

Positives

It. Is. Pretty. I’d rather look at it than drink it. Appearances aside, the specialty malt from Briess really stands out. Though I don’t get marshmallow, the English hops bring out the wood, prunes, & dark caramel flavors, creating a very ‘Earthy’ experience on the tongue. The ale is very drinkable, finishes dry, & (I think) compliments what English ales bring to brewing.

Next Time

It finishes bitter. Too bitter, so I would reduce the IBUs. It also finishes dry (in a good way), but could use more malt backbone, so I would try a darker-kilned base malt. I’d like to try brewing the same recipe with Briess’s Ashburne Mild as the sole base grain. I’d also like to add a toasted specialty malt to accentuate the toasty bready-ness I always read about in English Ales.

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.
It tastes very caramel-y & malty. Like a caramel malt. Thats what it is, isn’t it...?
— My Wife

Recipe #001 - Low Alcohol Dry Stout

Recipe

Malt

65% Golden Promise

25% Flaked Barley

10% Roasted Barley

Hop Schedule

38 IBU East Kent Golding @ 60min

Yeast

Fermentis US-05

Process

Mash In @ 60C, 0min

Saccharification Rest @ 65C, 90min

Mash Out @ 78C, 15min

Boil, 75min

Chill

Ferment @ 20C, 7 Days

OG: 9.0P — IBU: 38 — ABV: 3.2%

Aroma

Specific Aromas

Dark Chocolate, Freshly Roasted Coffee, Baking Bread

Flavor

Specific Flavors

Dark Chocolate, Light-Roasted Coffee, Dark Berry, Bread Crust, Cracker, Burnt

Impression

Smooth, Dry, Thin, Bitter

The Ale

The goal was to brew a dry, Irish-style stout with a low ABV. I wanted something light, drinkable, crisp, & dry, but wasn’t ready to commit to the fruity pale ales of summer. I mashed with English malts to retain a flavorful malt taste & boiled with English style hops to obtain some “English-ness”.

Full disclosure, the goal was not an ABV of 3.2%. The goal was an ABV of 4.5%. I recently changed my brewing system & grossly overestimated efficiency.

Positives

Surprisingly, the ale has more flavor than I expected given the low ABV. It is jet black with dark brown accents when held to the light. The dark-tan head lingers nicely. I love the strong dark chocolate & coffee in both the aroma & flavor. The fruitiness in the taste reminds me of a tropical stout more than a dry Irish stout, but that isn’t a bad thing (I view styles as guidelines, not rules). It finishes dry & roasty.

Next Time

I’ll not go as low as an ABV of 3.2%. With the low-temp saccharification rest to dry the finish, the ale has a slight watery or thin impression. I’ll increase the body, either through a higher saccharification rest or higher ABV. I’ll also increase the maltiness, utilizing a touch less roasted barley, a darker kilned base malt, & perhaps a bit of toasted specialty malt. I’d like to ferment at a lower temperature to quell some of those fruity esters, but that’ll be dependent on my future fermentation equipment.

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.
This is a lot better than I thought it would be, especially since I don’t like stouts.
— T.G.