Wheat Beer

I don’t have a clever name for this one yet. . .it’s based off of the recipe for Bert Grant’s Hefeweizen (by Yakima Brewing and Malting Co.) in the North American Clone Brews book by Scott R. Russell. I brewed it up last night (January 17), with some able assistance from my friend Todd.

Here are the basic ingredients:
1 lb. malted wheat (crushed)
8 oz. light crystal malt (40°L)
8 oz. carapils malt
2 oz. Hallertau hops pellets (3.8% alpha; 1 oz. for the bittering, 1 oz. for the aroma)
4 lbs. wheat dry malt extract
German wheat beer yeast (Wyeast 3333)

Here’s what I did:

  • I steeped the malted wheat, crystal malt, and carapils malt in 2 gallons of water for 45 minutes, at 150°F. Then, I sparged the grains with half a gallon of water at about the same temperature.
  • I added the wheat malt extract, and heated the whole thing to boiling.
  • Once the wort was boiling, I added 1 oz. of the hop pellets and boiled for 45 minutes.
  • For the final 15 minutes, I added the last ounce of hops.
  • At the end of the boil, I cooled the wort down with an ice bath in the sink, decanted the wort into my fermenter, and topped the whole thing up to about 4.5 gallons.
  • I pitched the liquid yeast, and now everythings sitting in the closet and hopefully fermenting.

The initial gravity is 1.034, which is quite a bit lower than I expected (1.045 is what the recipe gives). In the end, this will probably give me an alcohol content a little over 3 percent, assuming that it all ferments out as my previous batches have. Part of the low gravity “problem” might be that my grains were bagged too tightly, and so I didn’t get as good of utilization out of them. I don’t think this explains everything, though. Next time (assuming I like the results), I’m going to go ahead and use a full five pounds of malt extract.

The color on the finished wort is a nice straw-color – the lightest I’ve brewed to date.