Monday, June 29, 2009

Final analyses: 59° Fahrenheit Maibock and It's A Boy/Cloud-to-Cloud Dunkelweizen

So I've been a little lax in posting final analyses for my beer, but before the kegs are kicked I figured I should do a wrap-up of our 59° Fahrenheit Maibock and our It's A Boy (for this particular batch)/Cloud-to-Cloud (for all other batches) Dunkelweizen. We'll start with the Maibock first...

Style: Maibock/Helles Bock. Original gravity: 1070. Final gravity: 1020 (I think).
ABV: 6.5%. IBU's: 32.

As you can see from the picture above, this light lager never cleared for some reason. I've made a handful of light lagers and hybrids (i.e. Kölsch-style ales) and never had a problem with haze before. Not sure what happened but I'm not really too worried about it. Otherwise it looks great... a light honey color with a nice white head. The aroma is spot-on too. Nice and grainy, but not too grainy, with just a touch of hay-like noble hop aroma.

Moving on to the taste, the first sip is nice and balanced. Whereas a normal Helles would be all sweet up front, you get a touch of hop flavor--and sufficient bitterness--to keep it balanced as a Maibock should be. In the middle you get nice sweet, bready notes before a decent hop bitterness keeps it from being syrupy. I think I achieved nice balance in this beer, which is key to a Maibock, so I don't plan on tweaking the recipe next time. However, there is one problem. There's a slight pineapple note in the finish. I left the carboy in the basement for the first night (which I estimated was around 60°F), moved it to the 55°F chest freezer the next day when fermentation started and dropped it again to 50°F the next day for most of fermentation, so it would seem like I had the temperature under control, but it went from 1070 to 1031 in a whopping six days, so it must've fermented hot. In the future when I brew a high-gravity lager I'm going to try to pitch closer to 55°F and keep it at 50°F through the first week of fermentation. Additionally, I have a probe thermometer that I want to turn into a submersible thermometer so I can monitor the actual temperature IN the carboy. That'll give me a better idea of if I'm fermenting hot with high-gravity lagers.

Overall, I'm pretty happy with the Maibock, and it was well-received at my nephews' birthday party. I just have to watch my fermentation temps.

Moving on to the It's A Boy/Cloud-to-Cloud Dunkelweizen...

Style: Dunkelweizen. Original gravity: 1054. Final gravity: 1012.
ABV: 5.5%. IBU's: 14.

I was shooting for a relatively light Dunkelweizen on this one (so as to not scare off people who think they don't like "dark beers") but ended up with a beer that pours a cloudy, deep chestnut color. As one would expect from a wheat beer, the head is ample.

The beer has a spicy, inviting aroma with notes of chocolate, clove and brown sugar. The flavor, however, isn't exactly what I was shooting for. The wheaty sweetness that greets the tongue up front is great, with notes of dark breads and molasses. However, the finish is off. I wanted the beer to be clove-heavy, but the phenols on this one are too much. Combined with the noble hops, the clove-like spiciness comes off as almost muddy. There's also a slight sour note that was unintended; not sure if that was due to an infection or underpitching or if it's the yeast bite combining with the phenols. I also think the chocolate wheat kind of mucks up the flavor profile. I could be wrong, but that's my guess.

Overall, it was a good beer, but I'll definitely change some things next time. First of all, I fermented this one really low (like in the mid to upper 50's). Next time I'll try to keep it in the low to mid 60's. Also, looking at the recipe, I think I needlessly complicated things with Pils, Munich, chocolate wheat, and two types of CaraMunich malts. Next time I'm thinking straight Munich with maybe a touch of Carafa or chocolate malt to give it a slight roasty edge. After that I can start adding malts to develop the flavor profile, but better to start simple and add stuff one at a time. It'll be interesting to see what I end up with down the road.


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