2022 Orange Summer Wheat Ale

This was a quick brew to serve at a homebrew festival…I roughly followed past recipes, and used zest from 5 Valencia oranges soaked in 4 oz. of vodka for the orange flavoring (added at kegging). It was my first brew back on my batch sparge system (while my Anvil Foundry was temporarily down). I had some major efficiency issues–I suspect maybe a poor crush for the grains–and thus had to improvise heavily with extract. The brew definitely didn’t go as planned, but at least it got done. My subsequent brews in the old mash tun went much better, thank goodness, and now I’m back on the Foundry!

2022 Orange Summer Wheat Ale

  • 6.5 lb. red wheat malt
  • 3.25 lb. 2-row pale malt
  • 6 oz. Viking dextrin malt
  • 8 oz. rice hulls
  • 0.8 oz. Sterling hop pellets (7.5% alpha), 60 minute boil
  • 1 tsp. WLN1000 yeast nutrient (White Labs)
  • 1 pkg. German Ale Yeast (SafAle K97)

Target Parameters

  • 1.043 s.g., 1.011 f.g., 4.3% abv, 21 IBU, 4 SRM
  • Full volume mash, no sparge, 152°
  • Claremont tap water, Campden tablet added to remove chloramines

Procedure

  • I added 8 gallons of water to the mash tun, letting it settle to 157° before adding the grains and 8 mL of 88% lactic acid to adjust pH. The mash settled around 152° initially, and I let it sit for 75 minutes before vorlaufing and collecting the runnings.
  • In total, I collected 6.3 gallons of runnings with a gravity of 1.027, for barely 45% mash efficiency. This is some of the worst efficiency I have ever had, and I’m not sure why. I suspect either I had a poor crush with the high volume of wheat malt, or perhaps the wheat malt didn’t have the enzyme potential expected (which doesn’t make complete sense to me), or some other factor. In any case, I had to improvise major-time and add 1.5 lb. of extra light Briess DME to bring the gravity into a tolerable range.
  • I brought the runnings to a boil, boiling for 60 minutes and adding hops and finings per the recipe. After 60 minutes, I turned off the flame and chilled down to ~70° before transferring to the fermenter.
  • I brewed this beer on 10 April 2022. Starting gravity was 1.044. Once I pitched the yeast, I fermented at ~65°.
  • Prior to brew day, I zested 5 fresh-picked Valencia oranges and put the rind into a 4 oz. bottle topped up with vodka. On kegging day, I strained out the zest.
  • I kegged the beer on 23 April 2022, and added the orange tincture at that point.
  • Final gravity was 1.010, for 4.5% abv.
  • I force carbonated, and it was served at a beer festival on April 30. I couldn’t attend, and got the keg back. Two weeks later, I transferred to a pinlock keg for serving. I didn’t have my usual ball lock quick disconnect handy, so I had to do the less-than-desirable task of transferring directly into the keg and then purging it with CO2 via the pressure relief valve.

Tasting

  • Appearance
    • The beer is cloudy and a sort of muddy reddish orange color. The head is white and persistent.
  • Aroma
    • A fairly pleasant orange and orange blossom aroma is prominent, but not much else.
  • Flavor
    • Orange and doughy malt flavors, with a moderate level of bitterness.
  • Mouthfeel
    • Light body, moderate carbonation, dry finish. There is a somewhat unpleasant astringency on the finish.
  • Would I Brew This Again?
    • This was a very disappointing version of my normally likable orange wheat ale. The orange character is nice, and K97 is an awesome American wheat ale yeast, but the astringency and muddy coloration keep this from being a winner. So many things went sideways on this brew that I have no doubt my next iteration will be far superior. All blame goes to technique flaws, not the recipe itself. This batch is not a complete dumper, but it comes very close.
  • Overall
    • 3/10

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