Monday, January 23, 2012

New Years Ball Drop Weizen Bock

Like a lot of the beers that homebrewers brew, this one falls a bit out of its intended category.  Originally supposed to be a Dunkel Weiss, I got an inkling that the beer would be falling out of its style when I measured the grains and I was at 12 lbs (the kit said that it should only be 11 lbs).  Even if I had ended up with my planned 5 gallons (I ended up with about 4 1/4 or 4 1/2), I would have had an original gravity of 1.056, on a bit of the higher side for a dunkelweizen.  (It should be noted that this was a kit that I had bought when Jay and I started brewing all grain over a year ago from and also worth noting is that this is my first 5 gallon all grain batch with this equipment, so that is why I was a bit off on my final volume and my efficiency was a paltry 71%.)

When Jay was moving away last year, we brewed an extract Dunkel Weiss for his going away party.  Unfortunately, this means that we ended up scavenging the hops from the kit in order to brew that beer and I had to find some hops to put in it.  One of my friends had brought over some whole hop flowers, cascade and nugget, and these had provided the solution to my problem.  I threw in a half ounce of nugget for 60 mins and another half ounce for 10 minutes.

For the yeast, I went with a standard WYeast 3068 Weihenstephan blend.  Listening to the Basic Brewing podcast and reading Brewing with Wheat by Stan Heironymus, I feel, really helped me on how to properly ferment this brew.  From Basic Brewing, I learned that although the yeast will ferment at higher temperatures, you will get better ester production if you start fermentation at lower temperatures and increase it over time.  What really helped me out from Brewing with Wheat was an interview with Jonathan Cutler from Piece Brewery and Pizzeria in Chicago.  Basically what he said is with a hefeweizen, you really want to under pitch it, under aerate it, and even kick the fermenter when you walk by it.  Just generally mistreat it, and it will produce more isoamyl acetate, or the banana flavors.  Finally, I decided to go a previously untrekked route by myself and do an open fermentation for primary fermentation.

The end result, I have to say, was pretty amazing.  Personally, I think it was one of the best beers that I have brewed.  It is dark in color, holds a great head, and has a nice light clove aroma.  The beer is full bodied, with an excellent sweet banana flavor, and the slightest tart finish.  I'm hoping that the next few beers that I brew can turn out just as well, and based on the Vienna Lager I tasted last week, they're on their way.

As I said earlier, I had a couple of friends come over to help.  They decided to bring their cameras along and got some nice shots after our first snowfall of the year.  I'll leave you with a couple of them (the pictures, not my friends).

On Deck: Dark American Lager
Primary: German Pilsner
Secondary: Light American Lager, Vienna Lager
Total for 2012: 5 Gallons

No comments:

Post a Comment