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Brewing a Blonde Wheat Ale

My 3rd attempt to make a great beer with unmalted, locally grown, MT Wheat. The beer’s name simply comes from the last name of the guy who hooked me up with the wheat. Clever names never stick as easy as the ones that are the easiest to remember. My first two attempts to use the wheat were both Wit style beers. Not my favorite style, but both beers were plenty easy to drink. This time around, I wanted to take a different direction and aim more for an American Wheat style beer. I more or less combined elements from my Ledbetter Blonde and second Wit receipes.

Ingredients:  MT Witbier Version 3

All-Grain Recipe

  • 3.5 lb Raw Wheat
  • 2.3 lb American 6-row
  • 2 lb German Pils
  • 1 lb Munich malt
  • 1 lb Wheat Flakes
  • .5 Carapils
  • 1 tablet Whirfloc – added to during boil, boiled 10 min

Hop Additions

  • 1 oz Hallertau (3.2%) – added during boil, boiled 60 min

  • .5 oz Hallertau (3.2%) – added during boil, boiled 20 min

  • 1.5 oz Saaz (3.8%) – added during boil, boiled 20 min
  • .5 oz Hallertau (3.2%) – added during boil, boiled 0 min
  • .5 oz Saaz (3.8%) – added during boil, boiled 0 min

Yeast

Additional Details / Notes

  • SG 1.048 / FG 1.009
  • 5.1% ABV
  • Brewed 09/17/11, Secondary 10/06/2011, Kegged 10/23/2011
  • Fermentation temps:  ~63° in Primary, ~75° Secondary

Brewing the Wishman Wheat V3

One of my least favorite processes, the unmalted wheat must be cracked, then converted in a cereal mash.  Not sure how necessary the cereal mash is, but I’ve been playing the better safe than sorry card so far.  I start off the brew day by running the 3.5lbs of Wheat through my corona mill.

I did a 2.5 gal cereal mash for this batch with 2 gal RO / .5 tap water.  With the Wheat and 6-row, I added 5.8 lbs of grain to the 130° water, aiming for the first rest of 122°.  After 15 minutes at that temp, I raised to 155°, staying there for another 15 min.  Up next is raising the heat to a boil for 15 min., stirring constantly.  Easily the biggest pain of the cereal mash is the constant stirring.

Upon cooling, it’s time to add the grains to the mash tun with the other 4 lbs of grain. I needed to add a fair amount of cool water and ice to get the temp down from the cereal mash.  Eventually I was settled in around 155°, which I left for an hour.

I didn’t remember to buy rice hulls for this batch… which I quickly regretted.  I was barely able to drain any wort from the mash tun before I was stuck.  Not a little stuck, but a lot stuck.  I was forced to dump the whole mash in to another container and hack at the cement hard mass at the bottom of the cooler.  After adding the grains back in, I was unstuck enough to complete my sparge decently well.

The boil went well.  I made my Hallertau and Saaz additions, as well as a Whirlfloc tablet and Wort Chiller addition with 10 minutes left in the boil.

Upon cooling to about 80°, I transferred the wort and pumped in about 40 seconds of Oxygen.  I capped at 73° and added about a half gallon of water to the fermenter to get to 5 gallons.

Drinking the Third Wishman Wheat Ale

It’s been said that the third time is the charm… and it was!  This turned out to be a great beer!  Easily my best Wheat beer yet.  The German Pils has a heavier flavor and body than the 2-row I’ve generally used, and the wheat does a great job of adding nice body and fullness.  I’ve been a huge fan of the Hallertau / Saaz combination since my first Blonde, so I was happy to have them taste great once again.

My complaint about the last two Wheat Ales I’d made was the flowery Chamomile dominating the flavor, even in moderate amounts.  Well… it turns out I’m clueless, because this batch had the same flavor.  Turns out this wheat just has a flowery character to it.  Not bad, just something that gives a little different flavor than you might expect.  I must apologize to the Chamomile for all the previous blame.

While I’m done using the Wishman Wheat, I’ll certainly make this recipe again.  It’s a really unique Wheat Ale that is mellow enough to serve to the beginners, and flavorful enough to keep even beer snobs entertained.

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