Beer Tasting: von Meyer Weizen

My von Meyer Weizen has been in the bottles for over three weeks now, waiting for the “official” tasting at the homebrew club meeting tonight. In advance of that, I did my own evaluation. This is cautioned, of course, by the fact that I don’t normally drink a lot of weizens, so I’m not entirely up on what makes a “good” or “bad” one. At any rate, here we go!

  • Basics
    • Starting gravity = 1.047; final gravity = 1.012; abv = 4.6%. Estimated IBU = 10
  • Aroma
    • Tangy and clove-forward; not much in the way of banana.
  • Appearance
    • Deep gold, almost orange in color. The beer is fairly hazy with yeast. The head is cream colored and fine in texture; persistent but not terribly tall on the pour. Head retention is quite good.
  • Flavor
    • Clove-dominant and slightly malty, with a moderate banana flavor on the finish. There’s a touch of citrus tang, too.
  • Mouthfeel
    • Body is modest, but carbonation is excellent, with fine bubbles.
  • Would I brew this again?
    • I think so! This wasn’t the most technically challenging beer to brew, but that’s alright…the overall result is pretty tasty; nice and refreshing as the weather starts to warm up. Truth be told, I like having a recipe that is quick turnaround!
  • Overall rating
    • 7/10
I did this tasting last weekend, in advance of the formal club meeting, and was curious to see how my personal assessment would compare. Somewhat to my surprise (there are some talented brewers in my club!), I placed first out of seven entries (two of which were commercial examples, and another two were good beers but brewed in other styles). If I were to guess, commercial wheat beers are handicapped a bit by long storage. According to most things I’ve read, this is a style to be consumed quickly, and homebrew might have an edge in this regard.
My weizen wasn’t the most technically challenging brew I’ve done–not by a long shot–but I am quite pleased with the results. The only minor thing I might change would be to find some way to improve the head; maybe by a partial mash to get some extra proteins into the mix? I’d definitely use the cool fermentation profile again–the balance of clove vs. banana was perfect for my taste. In any case, it’s nice to get affirmation that all-extract brewing produces great beer!

von Meyer Weizen Bottled

Tonight I bottled my von Meyer Weizen; it had been in the fermenter for 3 weeks. This was a touch longer than originally intended, following various unexpected interruptions. The final gravity was 1.012, down from 1.047. This works out to 4.6% abv. The beer has the prominent banana and clove aroma/flavor that’s expected with this style–I shall be curious to see how these mellow and taste after a little aging and at proper serving temperature under carbonation.

I primed the beer with 2.6 oz. of corn sugar boiled in 2 cups of water, targeting 2.7 volumes of CO2. My final yield was 6 12-oz. bottles, 12 18-oz. bottles, and 3 22-oz. bottles.

 

von Meyer Weizen

My homebrew club is focusing on German wheat beers for its March meeting, so today I brewed up a batch in preparation. Based on past experiences, I knew that German wheat beers are tasty, but maybe not something I wanted five gallons of (especially given the relatively short shelf life for the style). Given my brewing equipment and available time this afternoon, I decided to go for a 2.5 gallon batch of an all-extract beer. My mash tun holds 10 gallons, so I was worried that a half batch (2.5 gallons) wouldn’t hold temperature for a sufficiently long time, and I didn’t feel like simultaneously learning BIAB, so extract seemed the way to go. As I read up on the style, I ended up thinking that a simpler brew would be best.

Because I was using all-extract, I elected to use distilled water to keep the mineral concentrations down. In my reading, it became apparent that extracts already have the minerals from the mash. For a lighter beer like this, using my (already heavily mineralized) tap water to rehydrate might ding the flavor a little bit. We’ll see how it works out!

The recipe itself is named after Christian Erich Hermann von Meyer, a nineteenth century German paleontologist who studied Plateosaurus, perhaps one of the best known dinosaurs of Germany. I was using a Bavarian malt extract, and Plateosaurus are plentiful in Bavaria, so all of the elements add up!

von Meyer Weizen

  • 3 lbs. Bavarian wheat dry malt (Briess, 8.0 SRM; 65% malted wheat, 35% malted barley)
  • 0.35 oz. Hallertauer hops pellets (4.3% alpha, 5.6% beta)
  • 3.5 gallons distilled water
  • Hefeweizen Ale Yeast (White Labs WLP300)
Anticipated statistics
  • 1.047 o.g., 1.012 f.g., 4.6% abv
  • 10.3 IBU
  • 6.4 SRM
Procedure
  • I heated 3.25 gallons of distilled water to a boil, turned off the heat, and added the dry malt extract.
  • Once the mixture returned to a boil, I added the hops pellets and boiled for 60 minutes.
  • After 60 minutes, I cooled the wort down to 70° using my chiller and transferred it into my carboy. The gravity was a little high (1.052), so I diluted the wort slightly by adding another 0.25 gallons of water. This brought my starting gravity exactly where I wanted it to be.
  • I pitched the yeast directly from the vial into the wort (no starter needed for this small of a batch), agitated the mixture, and set it in my fermenting chamber. I plan to ferment at 64°. Based on what I read, this temperature can result in a more balanced clove/banana aroma than fermenting at a higher temperature.
  • Starting gravity was 1.047, with ~2.67 gallons in the fermenter.
  • After 10-14 days, I will bottle the beer.

This project reminded me of one of the great pleasures of extract brews–rapid brewing and short clean-up! I spent maybe 2.5 hours max on this, for everything from pulling out the equipment to washing the brew pot.