Sunday, June 27, 2010

Brew day: Step Leader ("It's a Girl!") Hefeweizen

We're now down to one month before Leah's due date. For each of our first two kids we brewed a beer to hand out instead of cigars (a Kölsch for Dorrie and a Dunkelweizen for Jonas). Since baby #3 will be arriving in the dog days of summer, we figured a traditional Hefeweizen would be a good call this time around. And since, as I just noted, we're now a mere month from the due date, I had to brew this weekend to have it ready by then. So I headed out to the garage despite a high temperature of 91°F to brew some Weizen!

Given the heat and the fact that I had been out rather late the night before (I trekked up to the North Side to see Ween at the Aragon) I decided to go with a simple infusion mash rather than a decoction. It actually ended up being one of my most efficient brew days ever. I mashed in at 152°F (hitting my target exactly!) at noon; I went with 1.5 qts./gal. instead of my usual 1.25 to avoid stuck sparge issues (my grain bill was 54% wheat and I didn't have any rice hulls on hand) and added 1/2 tsp. acid blend to keep the pH down. I started recirculating by 12:45; collected wort from 1:00-2:30; boiled from 2:30 to 3:45 and chilled down to 70°F by about 4pm. I pitched a 1000mL starter of WLP 340 (Hefe IV) yeast. I finished at 1052, one point above my target. The carboys are now sitting in my chest freezer at 64°F.

The only issue I ran into was that one of my hose clamps broke while pumping from the kettle to the plate chiller. I was able to improvise but I will now be sure to keep an extra clamp or two on hand just in case.

While the brew day went well, I did have one slight beer emergency... I tried our Roggenbier which had been conditioning at room temperature for the past month and, um, apparently we shouldn't have left it at room temperature for a month. Yup, sour. The good thing is it's a clean sourness and actually not too bad. My thought is to add some raspberry extract and make it sort of like a fruit lambic. I'll bring it to our next HOPS! meeting and see what people think.

Anyway, lots more brewing coming up as we get into Oktoberfest season, but for now we've got to get ready for another addition to the family. Pray for us; we'll need it.


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