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!


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