Sunday, October 24, 2010

Schönweisse and Bonus Kettles

10/10 - Brewed a 5gal batch of my German-style Wheat Beer, Schönweisse. Got a pitch of the Wyeast Weihenstephan yeast from my Doctor and I want a Weizenbock for Christmas this year, so I figured a batch of my weissbier was necessary. I really like this style of beer; really, really like it. I'm partial to Fransiskaner but I like the Schneider biers best. Schneider Original has a great balance of yeast character; nice spicy phenols just edged by banana esters & great balance of grain character; the texture of malted wheat combined with a rich malt flavor for an excellent toasted bread-like quality. I've brewed my Weiss over the years with varying amounts of malted wheat trying to find the sweet spot; always figuring more was better anywhere from 50% to 100% of the grain bill. Pretty decent results, but as I got closer to the high end of malted wheat I liked the beers less and less because of a heavy milkshake-like texture. The current version is 30%-35% wheat with the balance made up of equal parts Vienna and Dark Munich malt; great for nice deep toasted bread flavors and just a bit more color than most commercial versions. I schedule for 18 or so IBU and ferment at standard ale temps for a relatively mild yeast character. My preference is for a more refined flavored Weissbier, yeast flavor should be just moderate for a well balanced flavor profile and drinkability. I had just finished Stan Hieronymous' new "Brewing with Wheat" book; I mashed in at 90F to hydrate and the first rest was at 113F for a ferulic acid rest in order to promote clove phenol production during fermentation & I split the 5 gal brew length into two 5 gallon carboys thinking that a shallower fermentation would promote ester production. The gravity sample wort was very tasty but I haven't been into the beer since. I had planned on brewing the Weizenbock this weekend but couldn't get it together, oh well, another week in the tank isn't fatal. The Weizenbock is just a bit short of being a Double Schönweiss; same base grain bill but with the addition of Cara-Munich, Chocolate malt, and Special-B. The Wyeast 3068 yeast flavors compliment the rich dried plum & chocolate malt flavors of those specialty grains very nicely. Alcohol just a bit on the high side for style and a robust terminal gravity will make for a very festive bier indeed.

So, I couldn't get a brew in this weekend but there was an interesting development in the home brewery. An old North Seattle Homebrew Club-mate posted to the list that he was selling his setup. Boom! I'm all over that and now I'm the proud owner of 2 converted keg brewing vessels (work done by Bob at Bob's Homebrew Supply; killer, high quality work), the goods for HERMS-style brewing (March pump, copper manifold, copper coil, hoses, etc.), a high efficiency copper counter-flow chiller (with the convoluted interior for acres of surface area), another 20# CO2 tank, another burner, and another 6.5 gal carboy. Yay! This will all come in handy for plans I've been mulling over to get equipped for two 10gal batches at a time. We'll see, if I'm feeling frisky next weekend I'll roll two batches at the same time. Really need to get on the ball with the rest of the Christmas beers.

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