Thursday, November 22, 2012

Brew day: Cloud-to-Cloud Dunkelweizen and Cousin Larry's "Wheat" Dark Wheat Ale

They say necessity is the mother of invention, and right now I need two things: beer to drink (preferably a darker style) and beer to potentially blend with our Christmas Gose which is both more sour than anticipated and somewhat underattenuated (likely due to the low pH being less than ideal for yeast). We realized we could kill two birds with one stone by brewing a Dunkelweizen. However, I don't want my Christmas Gose to have a strong Weizen taste (i.e. overwhelming banana and/or clove flavors) so I didn't want to use a Hefeweizen yeast for all ten gallons. In the meantime, I recently picked up some WLP 002 English Ale yeast so I figured if I used that for the five gallons to blend with the Gose I should get a fairly clean (though somewhat fruity) beer while at the same time making a starter for my next planned beer (a stout). Whatever I have left after blending I might dry hop with some British hops to create sort of a Weizenbock/mild ale hybrid. And thus Cousin Larry's "Wheat" was born (extra credit to those of you who get the reference, and I don't just mean the fact that Cousin Larry was a character in "Perfect Strangers").

A quick note on the recipe... I started out with a 60-40 wheat-to-Munich-malt ratio. Then I took a bit of a "clean out the cupboard" approach to the specialty malts, going with equal parts Caramunich III and pale chocolate malt because I had them on hand, and a touch of chocolate wheat malt. I also have been having issues with high final gravities lately and thus decided to go with a relatively low (by German standards) saccharification rest of 147°F to see if it would still taste malty but leave a drier finish.

Now on to the brew day... With time being a bit of an issue, I decided to skip my usual decoction schedule and instead go with a 15-minute ferulic acid rest at 108°F, the 147°F sacc rest for 40 minutes, and a mash-out at 165, using a combination of infusions and direct heat to reach each level. I boiled for 75 minutes with only one hop addition at the beginning of the boil. I was able to quickly chill the wort to around 62°F and pitched the English ale yeast into the 6.5-gallon carboy and my 850-mL starter of  WLP Hefeweizen IV yeast into the two 3-gallon carboys. (I should add that I forgot my O2 canister was empty so I had to oxygenate through the old-fashioned shake method.) My original gravity came in at 1052.

On a side note, the last time I checked my Gose it was still over 1030, though as sour as it is the sweetness actually helped to keep it balanced. Stay tuned to learn the results of my blending experiment.


Anonymous sweet wine said...

Ale is magnificent drink, it's my favourite kind of bear

3:24 AM, April 24, 2013  

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