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)
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
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.
The beer is cloudy and a sort of muddy reddish orange color. The head is white and persistent.
A fairly pleasant orange and orange blossom aroma is prominent, but not much else.
Orange and doughy malt flavors, with a moderate level of bitterness.
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.
For a variety of reasons, I haven’t been able to blog about every single batch I brewed in 2018. Many of the ones that didn’t make the cut were repeat brewings of successful recipes. Because I’m not likely to get all of them with full blog posts at this stage, I’m giving myself semi-amnesty by listing them with brief comments.
Cerveza de Jamaica 1.1
This was a rebrew of the first version, which I really liked. Version 1.1 was modified very slightly to add a little more hibiscus and a little more orange peel, and the result was an incredibly tasty beer!
Double IPA / Hoppy Blonde Ale
This was an experiment with parti-gyle techniques, co-brewed with a friend. The double IPA ended up at around 7.8% abv, and was fairly tasty. The blonde ale rounded out at 4.6% abv, and was also pretty nice. The experiment was a lot of work on brew day, but a fun attempt.
Raspberry Belgian 2018
I rebrewed a house favorite recipe for a beer festival, and thus didn’t really get to taste the final result (sadly). Everything on the process was tasty, though, so I’ll be doing this one again too.
Bavarica Session IPA
This one was pretty disastrous! The flavors clashed horribly (never again will I use Munich malt in a session IPA), and I dumped most of the batch.
Grab Bag IPA
Basically to use up a bunch of ingredients. Nothing memorable here, although it was pretty drinkable.
Grapefruit Wheat Ale
I don’t have many notes on this, other than that I used Amoretti grapefruit craft puree for some of the flavoring.
Hazy light straw color, with firm and persistent white head. When poured well, it’s like a topping of meringue. Gorgeous!
Light citrus (slightly lemony) and slightly bready aroma
Citrusy forefront, with a smooth and doughy middle, fading then into a lingering but pleasant bitterness.
Light body and moderate carbonation, with a medium-dry finish
Would I brew this again?
In a second! This is solidly in the running for favorite beer of 2017 so far. It’s just about the perfect summer beer–light, refreshing, and ridiculously drinkable. I’m burning through this keg at a pretty quick pace! The Lemondrop hops are a fun addition, too. Although I wouldn’t call them distinctly “lemon” in all aspects of their character (i.e. it’s not “lemon oil” or “Lemon Pledge”), they definitely have a citrus note that contributes nicely to the overall character of this beer. The only, very minor, flaw in this batch is that the finish has gotten just a touch harsh over time, likely due to the extended keg dry hopping. That’s easily fixed in the next iteration, though. I am quite pleased with just about every other aspect of this recipe; the balance between pilsner and wheat malt is perfect, and the yeast is also a true winner. WLP320 has just a touch of character, but it’s not overwhelming like European wheat beer yeasts. Also, it stays in suspension forever, which also helps with appearance and presentation. I don’t think this would be as good of a beer with a Chico strain yeast. I also think my water adjustments paid off; it’s not overly minerally in character like some of my past lighter beers.
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!
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°.