Lemondrop Wheat Ale

Summer means wheat beers! My intention with this batch is to have something light and refreshing that won’t take too long to turn around, either. I also wanted to experiment with Lemondrop hops, and this seemed like the perfect style in which to do so.

In terms of recipe design, the grist (52% pilsner malt, 46% white wheat malt) is fairly standard. I vacillated on whether or not to include flaked wheat as a way to increase body and prolong haze in the keg, but in the end neither factor is terribly important to me on this batch. The other decision I had to make was whether or not to dope the beer with some homemade lemon extract. My first version of the recipe had this, but after discussion with some other homebrewers at the AHA forum, I decided not to use it. My main purpose with this batch is to explore the hops, and I don’t want those to be overwhelmed by citrus extract. Depending on how this turns out, I may add some extract towards the end of the keg, but we’ll see. Discussion on the forum also led me to use pilsner rather than 2-row, for a slightly lighter malt profile against the hops.

When testing the hops before I threw them into the kettle, I noted that they had some citrus (not nearly as prominent as I expected, given the name and the hype) along with a hay note (not necessarily grassy in the way I often think of grassy–it was dried hay, not freshly cut lawn). My suspicion based on these findings is that I’ll likely use the extract before the keg is finished!

Lemondrop Wheat Ale

  • 4.5 lbs. floor-malted Bohemian pilsner malt (Weyermann)
  • 4 lbs. white wheat malt (Great Western)
  • 2.7 oz. rice hulls
  • 0.3 oz. Warrior hop pellets (15.5% alpha), 60 minute boil
  • 0.5 tsp. Fermax, 10 minute boil
  • 1 oz. Lemondrop hop pellets (6.2% alpha), 15 minute steep/whirlpool
  • 1 oz. Lemondrop hop pellets (6.2% alpha), dry hop in keg
  • 1 pkg. American Hefeweizen Ale yeast, WLP320 (White Labs)

Target Parameters

  • Infusion mash to hit target of 152°. Batch sparge.
  • Claremont tap water with RO and salt additions to hit targets of 82 Ca, 8 Mg, 9 Na, 89 SO4, 73 Cl, 78 HCO3, 64 ppm alkalinity, 1 ppm RA.
  • 1.045 o.g., 1.012 f.g., 4.4% abv, 20 IBU, 4 SRM, 5 gallons into fermenter

Procedure

  • The day before brewing, I made a 1L starter for my yeast and set it going on the stir plate.
  • I mashed in with 3 gallons of Claremont tap water treated with a quarter of a Campden tablet. The water had a target temperature of 162.2°, which hit my target mash temperature of 152°.
  • For my sparge water, I added 3 g gypsum, 1.2 g epsom salt, and 4 g calcium chloride to 5 gallons of RO water. Added with the strike water, I should hit my target.
  • The mash was down to 148 or 149° after 60 minutes. I added 1.6 gallons of water at 160 degrees, to raise the mash temperature to 152°. Then, I let the mash rest for 10 minutes, vorlaufed, and collected the first runnings.
  • I added 3.4 gallons of sparge water at 183°, to raise the mash temperature to 164. I let this sit for 10 minutes, vorlaufed, and collected the remainder of the runnings.
  • In total, I collected 6.75 gallons of runnings with a gravity of 1.038, for 78% efficiency.
  • I brought the wort to a boil and added the hops and other items per the schedule.
  • After a 60 minute boil, I turned off the flame, added the last hop charge in a mesh bag, and let it sit for a few minutes before cooling. I started cooling, which brought the wort down to 165°. I paused the cooling, let it sit for another 10 minutes, and continued chilling down to 75°.
  • I transferred the wort to the fermenter and pitched the yeast.
  • I brewed this beer on 9 June 2017. Starting gravity was 1.047, just a bit more than predicted (0.02 above target). I’m fermenting this at 66°.
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