Monday, July 04, 2011

Brew day: Step Leader Hefeweizen and Gust Front Leipzig-Style Wheat

While Leah liked it, I wasn't terribly happy with our last Leipzig-style wheat (a/k/a Leipziger Gose). For some reason it came out drier than last time, and though I kept the temperature hotter during the lacto phase it didn't come out any more sour. It also had terrible head retention.

This time around, I wanted to get it a little maltier, and one obvious option was a decoction. That's when it occurred to me that I could do a split batch with a Hefeweizen, taking half at the beginning of the boil to sour with lactobacillus and then boiling the remaining half and pitching a Hefeweizen yeast. With that in mind, I decided to go with my latest Hefeweizen grain bill (65% wheat, 30% Pilsner and 5% dark Munich) instead of the 50% wheat/50% Pilsner bill I've used for previous Goses.

Since I had the day off of work today (thank you, Founding Fathers) I figured I could brew today, incubate the Gose with the lacto, and give it five full days to sour before finishing it on Saturday. It also gave me plenty of time to brew what was one of my most complicated mash schedules to date (though, with friends coming and going throughout the day, it didn't seem that long... at least not until cleanup time!).

Using a schedule from Eric Warner's German Wheat Beer book, I did a double decoction. (To the right, you can see Jonas and I debating whether to do a single or double decoction; he was concerned about sufficient Maillard reactions.) I started with an acid rest at 108°F (supposed to be 99°F; not sure how I overshot it so badly) (while many think acid rests are unnecessary with modern malts, it is supposed to create ferulic acid which produces the clove esters during fermentation). After a 20-minute rest I did an infusion with boiling water to raise it to 147°F. After a 40-minute rest, I pulled a 9-qt. decoction. I held the decoction at between 158 and 162°F for fifteen minutes and then brought it to a boil for a half hour.

When I returned the decoction to the boil it only came up to 153°F instead of the 160 I was shooting for. I added 6 qts. of sparge water to get it up to 156°F and let it rest for fifteen minutes. I then pulled a 16-qt. decoction which I boiled for fifteen minutes before returning it to the mash for a mash-out of 167°F.

After recirculating for ten minutes, I sparged for an hour (quicker than usual; guess I wasn't paying close attention) and collected 12.5 gallons. I boiled for ten minutes and then began to collect six gallons at 110°F for the Gose. It was at 1.044, which should end up around 1053 after the boil.

For the remaining 6.5 gallons, I added bittering hops and boiled for another 75 minutes. Like last week, I had an unusual boil-off rate so I ended up with 4.6 gallons at 1059 instead of 5.25 at 1050. I decided to top it off with .75 gallons of bottled spring water to dilute it to 1051. I chilled to around 68°F and racked on top of a yeast cake from the Dampfbier I brewed last week and racked last night.

So now we have a little over 5.25 gallons of Hefeweizen in the chest freezer and 6 gallons of Gose in a cooler in a 110°F bath. Our basement is going to be the place to be in about three weeks!

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Brew day: Steam Fog Dampfbier

A couple months ago our good friend Tricia, who lives the next street over, asked us to brew a beer for her block party. We had a tight timeframe so I figured I'd do something quick like a Hefeweizen. However, one day it struck me: this is the perfect opportunity to brew a Dampfbier! For those unaware of the style, you can read more here, but the easiest way to describe it is it's like a Hefeweizen brewed entirely with barley. I decided to tweak my Oktoberfest recipe to get a grain bill that would be fairly malty and slightly copper in color. I settled on a 70% pilsner/30% dark Munich base and added 2 oz. of Carafa III for color and just a touch of nuttiness.

As you can see above, Dorrie was more than willing to help out (and I had to post the pic to show off the shirts that Leah bought us). Our good friend Marta joined us for the day, and fellow HOPS! members Scott and Paul stopped by for a bit as well.

Being the lazy guy that I am, I decided to go with a simple infusion for this beer. This made for a pretty straightforward brew day. I mashed in at 152, did a 45-minute rest, recirculated for ten minutes, and sparged for 50 minutes (that's quicker than I usually sparge, but for some reason the mash kept getting stuck at slow flows, which is odd for an all-barley mash). I boiled for 90 minutes with a single hop addition to bring it to around 15 IBU. For some reason I only collected 4.75 gallons rather than the 5.5 I had calculated, but I was also three gravity points above my target so I diluted with a quarter gallon of bottled water to bring it to 5 gallons at my target O.G. of 1051.

One odd thing is it appeared a bit darker than I had planned; Beersmith calculated a color of 12 SRM (think the color of an Oktoberfest beer) but it appears closer to that of a dark lager. Fortunately I'm guessing most people will be drinking out of plastic Solo cups so they probably won't see the color anyway.

Now my chest freezer is occupied with my Wizard of Saaz Czech Pilsner so after aerating and pitching a vial of WLP 300 Weizen yeast (yeah, no time to make a starter) I placed the carboy in a cooler filled with ~60°F water. The beer fluctuated between 59°F and 64°F over the first few days as a got a hang of how many ice packs it took to lower temps, but for the most part it was between 62°F and 64°F for the first three days of fermentation before I let it slowly warm up to the 68°F it's at today (a week later).

So that's the story of our Dampfbier. I'm curious to finally taste it, as I've never actually tried a Dampfbier before. Will it taste similar to a Dunkelweizen? Or will the lack of ferulic acid (the dominant phenolic acid in wheat, which contributes to the clove flavors present in Weizens) due to the use of only barley malt significantly change the flavor profile? I suppose if you want to travel to Chicago's South Side you can always stop by 100th and Artesian and find out for yourself!