Sunday, May 15, 2011

Recipe 56 - Screwy's Noble Wheat

In my never ending search to re-brew the same great recipes I've already brewed and enjoyed, well the same recipes with a few new twists that is, I decided to re-brew my previous interpretations of a Weizen/Wiessbier wheat beer style. This recipe would include steeping Carahell grain and then adding Hallertauer (Germany) hops and Briess Bavarian Wheat DME to the boil, along with a pound of honey just for good measure.

The finished beer should come out a light golden color, dry and with some hints of banana and that faintly sour finish typical of a Bavarian style wheat beer. The alcohol by volume will be somewhat higher than the BJCP style guidelines, giving this beer enough kick to slow folks down from drinking it all too quick. The Noble in the name of this beer comes from the fact that Hallertauer hops were selected and used for this recipe.

The brewday started off at the computer using qBrew to quickly put together this new recipe using the same recipe I brewed last in October 2010. I then decided after some Internet searching that I should add some steeping grains to the recipe and increase the amount of honey as well. Once the steeping water was around 160F I placed the muslin sack with the Carahell grains into the steeping pot and very quickly adjusted the temperature to 153F and held it there for a full 30 minutes.

The steep went pretty much as planned, I found that by using a thicker walled stainless steel pot and keeping the gas burner on the very lowest setting the steep held a steady 153F from start to finish. I also filled my 20 quart pot with filtered water and gave it the gas to get it hot enough for the boil ahead of time. This helped by reducing the wait time, had I added cold water to the steeping wort, to reach my full boil volume in the other pot.

The only stressful part of the brewing day was when I turned my back on the boil pot a little while after I added the DME! I watched in shock as the hot break suddenly rose to about a quarter inch above the rim of the boil pot as I fumbled to quickly turn the gas burner off. It was a miracle the whole thing didn't boil over the pot and onto my nice clean stove.

I added my hop schedule as planned which gave the wort time enough for a good hard 30 minute boil, leaving the top off the entire time. I was able to cool the wort down to 70F for pitching in less than 20 minutes which helped to make quick work of pitching the yeast.

qBrew had estimated the OG to be 1.063 and my initial hydrometer reading showed 1.061 at 70F which for me was close enough to my estimated target. To take the hydrometer reading I filled the tube with clear wort, being careful not to include any trub, then spun the hydrometer around with my fingers to shake loose any bubbles that would otherwise throw the reading off.

The fermentation took off really fast and by the next morning, about 12 hours later, there was a nice healthy layer of krauzen on the top of both fermenters and a whole lot of activity inside. The inside thermometer probe read 72F and was around 3-4F higher than the room temperature of my office where I do most of my ale fermentations. I was able to split an 11 gram package of Safbrew WB-06 which allowed me to pitch half a package into each Mr. Beer fermenter and save a few dollars on yeast in the process.

 Click to download Screwy's latest qBrew database   

Click to download this recipe file for qBrew 
Size 2.13 gallons: Estimated IBU=14, SRM=6, OG=1.063, FG=1.016, ABV= 6.1%

1 pound honey
1/2 pound CaraHelll
2 pounds Briess Wheat DME - 65% Wheat/35% Barley
1/4 ounce Halleteur pellet hops boiled for 30 minutes
1 pound of Honey for 25 minutes
1/4 ounce Halleteur pellet hops boiled for 17 minutes
1/2 ounce Halleteur pellet hops boiled for 7 minutes
11.5 gram Safbrew WB-06 dry yeast
Pitched at 70F and fermented at 70F

** Steep grains at 153F for 30 minutes **
Remove grain bag, stir and pour into 12 quart boil pot
Top pot off with filtered water and bring to a boil
Add hops at 30 minutes
Stir in honey and boil for 25 minutes
Add hops and boil for 17 minutes
Stir in DME and boil for10 minutes
Add Whirlfloc and boil for 9 minutes
Add hops and boil for 7 minutes
Place in ice bath, or use wort chiller until wort temperature cools to 70F
Aerate and pitch yeast
Ferment at 70F temperature until final gravity is reached

To split the Safbrew WB-06 yeast package into 2 equal parts, for pitching one into each fermenter, I used a couple of left over White Labs yeast tubes which were perfect for the job. The whole process was very simple to do and worked out perfectly. You can substitute the White Labs yeast tubes with any other small containers that are equal in size, the idea is to get equal volumes of yeast into both containers.

Step 1: Fill both yeast tubes with water, empty them into a small container and mark the water level on the side of the container. This will tell you how much boiling water to add to the bowl for rehydrating the dry yeast.

Step 2: Soak the bowl, thermometer, small spoon, and yeast tubes in One-Step for 10-15 minutes while boiling about a cup of filtered water.

Step 3: Pour the boiled water into the small container until it reaches the water level mark.

Step 4: Set the emptied bowl in a small dish, pour the water in the small container into the bowl and place some ice cubes in the dish to help cool it off.

Step 5: Once the water cools to 90F sprinkle the dry yeast evenly over the top of the water in the bowl, cover it with a paper towel and let it sit for 20 minutes.

Step 6: Stir the yeast every 5 minutes or so until it has the consistency of a thin cream then pour the contents of the bowl into the 2 empty yeast tubes and screw on the caps until you're ready to pitch.

This morning I walked into my office and the fermentation was in high gear. There is a nice banana aroma coming from each of the fermenters, a very good indication of a perfect fermentation. Using viable yeast, enough of it, pitching and fermenting at the yeast's optimal temperature and sanitizing your brewing gear properly are important to producing great beer. After brewing for a while I've leaned the importance of saving time and money wherever and whenever possible without hurting quality as I'm sure you have as well.

The samples I tasted at bottling and kegging time were great they had that nice wheat beer taste that let those great Hallertauer hops come through in the background. They final gravity reading I took read 1.010 which says how well this beer attenuated. I didn't notice any obvious honey flavor or aroma but this is one very interesting wheat beer recipe with lots of interest.

This beer was brewed on May 15th moved to secondaries on May 20th and cold crashed until I kegged it on May 26th. We began drinking it on May 30th for Memorial Day and it tasted really good, proving a wheat beer can be turned around in as little as 2 weeks.


  1. We are on the same page, allot!

    This past weekends brew:

    All Grain / Belgian Honey

    Ingredients: 7 lbs. Domestic 2-Row barley, 4 lbs. Wheat malt, 8 oz. Caravienne, 8 oz. Carapils, 2 oz of liberty and 1/2 oz of styrian goldings hops, 1/2 oz. Bitter Orange Peel, 1/2 oz Coriander, 1 lb. Light Belgian Candi Sugar, 1 lb. Clover honey, and Belgian Abby Liquid Yeast.

    When I secondary, I'm going to add 1/2 oz of the Orange Peel and maybe 1/2 oz of Coriander.

    Have you tried Fermcap-S Foam Inhibitor? From what I hear its magic for reducing boil-overs.

  2. Sounds like a nice beer, toss in some grains of paradise and call it a Blue Moon. I'll be doing some all grain wheats in the coming months, thanks for sharing your recipe and let me know how it comes out.