Schoepshead Pale Schöps

For our April style competition, my homebrew club decided to try a Breslau-Style Pale Schöps. I had never heard of this until my club president brought this up as an option, and a bit of searching online finds virtually nothing. This is a historical style, native to the area of Breslau (now Wrocław, Poland). The Brewer’s Association added it to their style guide for the GABF a few years back, which I can only imagine must have been a special favor for someone, because there just ain’t any commercial examples out there now.

In any case, I only found a handful of recipes online, and many (all?) of these were by people asking, “So, I made up this recipe and does it look plausible…” This meant I decided to just use what I’ve learned over the years, and try and put my own recipe together.

From what I read about the style, it should be mostly wheat malt in the grist (up to 80%), with a bready flavor and aroma aspect and a full body. Although this is a wheat ale, it wasn’t supposed to have German wheat ale yeast–instead, a fruity character was described, without phenols. Hops are in the background on this, too.

With all of this information, I put together a grain bill that was mostly wheat malt (~70%), backed up by equal parts pilsner and biscuit malt. I elected to go with a German ale yeast, the classic WLP029. For my grains, I wanted to go with European malts, choosing those from Viking because at least some are sourced from Poland. This seemed appropriate for the brew! I had no idea if I would like this batch or not, so I aimed for 3 gallons instead of the full 5.

The name is a German-ish (highly inauthentic and untranslatable) pun on “Sheep’s Head,” just because I thought it sounded funny and vaguely like the word “Schöps.”

Schoepshead Pale Schöps

  • 6 lb. wheat malt (Viking)
  • 1 lb. biscuit malt (Dingemans)
  • 1 lb. pilsner malt (Viking)
  • 1 lb. rice hulls
  • 2 oz. Hallertauer Mittelfrueh hop pellets (2.7% alpha), 35 minute boil
  • 1 Whirlfloc tablet, 10 minute boil
  • 1 tsp. Fremax yeast nutrient, 10 minute boil
  • 1 pkg. German Ale/Kolsch yeast (White Labs, WLP029)

Target Parameters

  • 60 minute infusion mash, 153°, batch sparge
  • 1.065 o.g., 1.016 f.g., 6.6% abv, 24 IBU, 8 SRM
  • Claremont tap water

Procedure

  • 48 hours in advance, I made a 0.65L starter with the yeast, and cold crashed for 24 hours.
  • I mashed in with 3.25 gallons of water at 165°, to hit a 154° mash temperature. I let this sit for 60 minutes, and it was down to 151° by the end. I added 0.3 gallons of water at 185°, let sit for 10 minutes, vorlaufed, and collected first runnings.
  • Then, I added 2.25 gallons of water at 185°, let sit for 10 minutes, vorlaufed, and collected the second runnings.
  • In total, I collected 4.3 gallons of runnings at a gravity of 1.047. This was only 67% efficiency; it put me well below my target (1.053), but it’s not a surprise given the large amount of wheat in the bill.
  • I boiled for 60 minutes, adding hops and yeast nutrient per the schedule. After 60 minutes, I chilled the wort and transferred to the fermenter.
  • I brewed this beer on March 30, with a starting gravity of 1.060. I fermented the beer a 68°, and gravity was down to 1.014 by 2 April. On 9 April, gravity was 1.010. I kegged the beer at this point; it had reached 6.6% abv.

Tasting

  • Aroma
    • Very bready, with a slight fruitiness behind that. No hop aroma.
  • Appearance
    • Persistent white and very fine head. Beer itself is copper color, with a decent amount of haze.
  • Flavor
    • Lightly fruity on the front, with a nice rounded bready, malty flavor behind that. Hop bitterness is medium-low, with a nice smooth finish.
  • Mouthfeel
    • Great body on this, with moderately high carbonation. The finish is nice and extended, pleasantly balancing the malt and hops.
  • Would I brew this again?
    • This is a really nice beer! I could see myself brewing this recipe again….I wasn’t sure how I’d like this, and it has turned into a pretty enjoyable brew. The flavor is really nice, and it’s a highly drinkable style for its level of alcohol. It’s a great bridge between the beers of winter and the beers of summer. I can’t say there’s anything I’d really change, either to keep it more to style or to make it more to my palate.
  • Overall
    • 10/10

And…the beer won first place in our club competition!

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