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Honey Wheat Ale

honey-wheat-ale-07After trying out a Honey Rye, I’d had a request to brew a Honey Wheat Ale.  I’ve created some decently successful Wheat Ales, so I decided to refer to a few of my older Wheat Ale recipes for inspiration.  For the honey, I went with a honey malt instead of actual honey.  I’ve never been that impressed with the flavor I’ve gotten from real honey, and I wanted the flavor of honey.  In my experience, the honey malt provides a better honey flavor than actual honey does.  Real honey tends to ferment away and dry things out.

The all-grain recipe is mostly wheat malt and pilsner malt.  Honey malt and Munich are used for a little character.  The hops are the same as you might find in a Pilsner, but also what I’ve liked in Blond Ales I’ve made.  The attempt is a spicy blond ale / wheat ale hybrid.  In my mind this all makes sense…

All-Grain Recipe: Honey Wheat Ale

Ingredients:

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  • 4 lb. – Pilsner Malt
  • 4 lb. – Wheat Malt
  • 12 oz. – Honey Malt
  • 12 oz. – Munich Malt
  • .5 lb. – Rice Hulls

Hop Additions / Boil Additions:

  • 1 oz. – Hallertau (4.5%) – added during boil, boiled 60 min
  • .5 oz. – Saaz (5%) – added during boil, boiled 20 min
  • .5 oz. – Hallertau (4.5%) – added during boil, boiled 20 min
  • 1 Whirlfloc Tablet & Wort Chiller – added during boil, boiled 10 min
  • .5 oz. – Hallertau (4.5%) – added end of boil
  • .5 oz. – Saaz (5%) – added end of boil

Yeast:

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  • Safale US-05

Additional Details / Notes

  • Style based on American Wheat Ale – 6D
  • OG 1.047 / TG 1.012
  • 4.6% ABV | Color: 8.1 °SRM | ~26.8 IBU’s
  • Brewed 03/10/2013, Secondary ?, Kegged 04/14/13
  • Mash Temp: ~152°, Thickness: 1.3 qt/g, Efficiency 67%, Attenuation 82%

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Brewing the Honey Wheat Ale

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The Mash. Poured the rice hulls in to the mash tun before the grains in an effort to keep from getting a stuck sparge.  I’ve had that problem with wheat before, and it’s a pain.  Not a lot of grains for this one, didn’t require much water to mash.  Did a loose mash, 1.4 qt/lb.    3.5 gallons of water at 162° to get it to 151°.   Recirculated 3 gallons of wort back over the grain bed after an hour to set the grain bed.

honey-wheat-ale-03The Boil. Nothing very exciting here.

Cooling. Outdoor cooling using hose water.  ~30 min.

Fermenting. Added 30 seconds of oxygen.  Fermented at about 68° in basement closet. About 63° ambient temp.

Racking to Secondary & Bottling. Skipped the secondary on this batch (not sure why). Kegged entire batch.

Drinking the Honey Wheat

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This one turned out okay, but I missed the mark a little in my recipe creation.  I’m on a run of batches that are coming out just a little bit too sweet.  I need to add a higher ratio of the base malt to let the Munich and Honey Malt be a lot more subtle.  Not to say this was a bad batch, but it was nothing I will rush to make again.  It’s also not a style that I’m particularly fond of drinking.

This batch didn’t age particcularly well.  As with a few other batches lately, it started to take on a certain level of green apple flavor.  Best I can research, that is an indication that my yeast health wasn’t where it should have been when I started.  I’m hoping to get better with yeast starters going forward.

The nice thing about a Wheat Ale is that you’re brewing something that rookie homebrew drinkers have a decent shot at liking.  This batch was a decent crowd pleaser, and a good recipe for new drinkers.

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