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.
I last brewed this recipe awhile back, and it was high time to make it again! It’s basically the same recipe as before, just modified slightly for the efficiency of my current system and on-hand ingredients. It’s super simple, but really tasty!
2021 Orange Summer Wheat Ale
- 6 lb. white wheat malt (Briess)
- 3 lb. 2-row malt (Viking Xtra Pale)
- 8 oz. caramel 10L (Briess)
- 8 oz. rice hulls
- 1.5 oz. Mt. Hood hop pellets (4.6% alpha), 60 minute boil
- 1 tsp. Fermax yeast nutrient, 10 minute boil
- 1 pkg. American Hefeweizen Ale yeast (WLP 320)
- 1.044 s.g., 1.011 f.g, 4.3% abv, 26 IBU, 4 SRM
- Full volume infusion mash, 152° for 60 minutes
- Claremont tap water
- I made a 1L shaken-not-stirred starter around 4 hours before pitching. It took off pretty well!
- I mashed in with 7.25 gallons of water at 158°, to hit a mash temperature of 152°. I added 5 mL of 88% lactic acid to adjust the pH.
- After a 60 minute mash, I removed the grains.
- In total, I had 6.5 gallons of runnings with a gravity of 1.040, for 72% mash efficiency.
- I brought everything to a boil, adding hops and finings per the recipe.
- After 60 minutes, I chilled down to 66° and transferred to the fermenter. I pitched the yeast, and let it ferment at 66°.
- I brewed the beer on 13 February 2021, with a starting gravity of 1.045.
- I had 5.5 gallons in the fermenter, and fermented it at 64° to 66°, as I moved it in and out of the house and garage.
- While I started the beer, I zested three Valencia oranges that I had picked, putting the zest in 3 oz. of vodka. This steeped for 3 weeks, and then I strained it to add to the keg.
- I kegged the beer on 27 February 2021. It had great flavor and aroma on the base beer, even before I added the orange extract.
- Final gravity was 1.010, down from 1.045. So, it had an estimated abv of 4.6%.
- Pale gold color and hazy, with a thin white head that is moderately persistent.
- Fresh orange zest, with a faint doughy wheat character behind that. Really awesome!
- Orange juice flavor at the forefront, with a bread dough malt character behind that. Bitterness level is moderate, perhaps a little higher than works for this beer. Yeast character is very clean, with no noticeable esters.
- Medium-light body, moderate carbonation, off-dry finish.
- Would I brew this again?
- This is a really, really nice recipe…the orange character is absolutely perfect. It’s a bit more bitter than I envisioned in the early tastings, so when I brew this again I’m going to back it down to 20 IBU. Interestingly, as it has aged a bit in the keg that overly bitter edge has been reduced. Otherwise, I wouldn’t change a thing.
I am many weeks past kicking the keg of my latest orange wheat beer, but fortunately I did a tasting for posterity–on the very last pour for the batch. This recipe has earned its place in my regular rotation!
- The Basics
- Original gravity = 1.043; final gravity = 1.010; abv = 4.3%; estimated IBU = 22.
- Light orange blossom aroma, absolutely delightful!
- There is a moderate haze in the medium-yellow beer. The head is white, medium-fine and of moderate size and decent retention.
- The flavor is primarily a low-level of bready maltiness, with a low bitterness and a gentle orange flavor on the finish.
- The beer has a light body and moderate carbonation. The finish has a gentle bitterness, but nothing too overpowering.
- This is a darned fine beer; it hits pretty much every note I was looking for. I am particularly pleased with how the orange came through; just the right amount, without being too far in the background or too much in the front.
- Overall score: 9.5/10
One of the better brews during the “early” stage of my homebrewing career was an orange wheat ale. Inspired by Hangar 24’s offering, my overall recollection is that I got some nice orange flavor into the mix. I would like to make this again, but with the massive changes in my brewing techniques (particularly the switch to all-grain), I needed a nearly complete reformulation. I’m also adjusting the recipe for the hops I have on-hand.
It’s still a fairly simple recipe, and one that I hope turns out well. My other experimental change this time is to modify the way I handle the oranges. In the previous batches, the whole oranges (crushed) went into the fermenter along with the zest. For this iteration of the recipe, I’m going to soak the zest in vodka and add it at kegging.
2016 Orange Summer Wheat Ale
- 5.75 lbs. white wheat malt
- 2.5 lbs. 2-row malt (Great Western Malting Co.)
- 0.5 lbs. 10° L crystal malt
- 0.25 lbs. rice hulls
- 1.25 oz. Mt. Hood hops pellets (5.75% alpha, 30 minute boil)
- 1 pkg. American Hefeweizen Ale yeast (White Labs WLP320), prepared in 1.25 L starter
- Zest of 3 medium to large oranges (1 navel, 2 Valencia), steeped in a few ounces of vodka
- The day before brewing, I made a starter of 1.25L water and 125 g of light DME. I added the yeast culture, and let it run for around 20 hours.
- I mashed in with 3.6 gallons of water at 164.5°, to hit a mash temperature of 152°. The temperature was down to 149.5° after 40 minutes.
- After 60 minutes, I added 1.25 gallons of water at 185°, which raised the mash temperature to 154°. I let it sit for 10 minutes, vorlaufed, and collected the first runnings. Then, I added 3.75 gallons of water at 190°, and a little ice to cool the mash down, and got a temperature of 165°. I let it sit for 10 minutes, vorlaufed, and collected the rest of the runnings.
- All told, I collected 6.9 gallons of wort with a gravity of 1.036. This equates to 74% mash efficiency.
- I started the boil, and added the hops after 30 minutes. After 60 minutes total, I turned off the heat and chilled the beer to 72°. I pitched the yeast and sealed the fermenter.
- Starting gravity was 1.043, with 5.5 gallons into the fermenter. Fermentation had taken off within 12 hours. Because my fermentation chamber was currently on hold for lagering, I am fermenting this beer at ambient temperature. This means the brew is about 68°, give or take a degree.
- I brewed this up on Monday, February 9.