Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Tiller Batch #1 (Bavarian Hefeweizen) -- Decoction Brew Day

** Update:  This beer received bronze in the Philly Beer Week Mash Bash for German Wheat & Rye Beers **

Traditional Bavarian Hefeweizen has been a style that I've brewed a couple of times and ended up with good, but not great beers.  There's always been something in a Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier that I just couldn't replicate with my homebrewed version.  Their's was always a bit chewy/creamy with a nice citrus-like sweetness to it.  Mine always came out a little cloying with an overwhelmingly grainy finish.

The style has never been an absolute favorite of mine but it is a clear favorite of my wife.  Also, seeing as warmer weather is just around the corner, I figured it would be a decent time to have some wheat beer on hand.

I've traditionally done a single step infusion mash when I've done my hefeweizen, but this time I'm going to go all out and do a decoction mash (see details below).  I've read all of the back-and-forth between the proponents and haters of decoction mash.  Many say it is the pivotal character in their German beers while others contend it is an unnecessary headache given the well-modified nature of contemporary malts.  I'm incorporating a ferulic acid rest for around 10 minutes at 114f as I've read some brewers insisting that the compounds created during this rest are vital to creating the right balance of 4-vinyl guaiacol which determines the prevalence of the clove character in the finished beer.  Others claim that few protease enzymes make it through the modern malting process so this rest step is unneccessary.  Well, we'll see.

The recipe is indicated below, but despite trying to adhere to the mash schedule perfectly, I was consistently under my sacc rests by around 10-12 degrees.  I'm thinking next time I'll run a thicker mash, perhaps thats why the temperature was so stubborn.  Also, this is the first time that I've done either an acid or a protein rest and I was surprised by how milky the mash liquor appeared.  Later, during the sacc rests, the mash turned more normal looking, so I'm assuming this is just a function of resting at those temperatures.

Acid rest mash liquor looking quite milky
Decoction getting started

As for the decoction part, I pulled closer to 2 gallons of thick mash, heated it to boiling over 20 minutes and then boiled/stirred constantly for 10 minutes.  It definitely darkened the wort quite a bit (super light hefes have always been a complaint of mine with single infusion mashing) and it smelled fantastic.  I was however, a little disappointed with my efficiency, which came in around 70%.  My understanding is that people's efficiencies usually increase when utilizing a decoction mash, but I'll chalk my low efficiency up to weird temperature issues.

Bavarian Hefeweizen
Size: 5.25gal batch -- 90 minute boil
Est OG: 1.048
Est FG: 1.012
Est ABV: 4.7%
IBU: 11
SRM: 4

6lb German Wheat Malt
4lb German Pilsner Malt
1lb Light Munich Malt
8oz Carafoam Malt

0.6oz Hallertauer @ FWH (8 IBU)
0.4oz Hallertauer @ 15min (3 IBU)

1000ml Weihenstephaner Weizen (WY3068)

Mash Schedule
1. Acid Rest @ 114f for 10 min (Infuse 3.6gal @ 120f)
2. Protein Rest @ 125f for 10min (Infuse .75gal @ 185f)
3. Saccharification Rest I @ 144f for 40 minutes (Infuse 1.4gal @ 209f)
4. Decoct (pull) 2gal and bring to boil for 10 minutes stirring constantly
5. Saccharification Rest II at 161f for 10 minutes (add decocted portion to achieve rest temp)
5. Batch sparge as usual

3/30/2014 -- Brewed by myself.  Hit the first two mash temps perfectly, surprised at milky color of mash liquor.  Undershot sacc rest by around 10 degrees, added boiling water to get it closer.  Pulled decoction after 10 minutes in first sacc rest, brought to boil over 20 minutes and then boiled/stirred for 10 minutes and added to mash.  Tempt was almost 15 degrees below expected.  Not sure why this was.

Gathered 7.25gal of 1.040 wort, equates to a 69% efficiency -- pretty damn shitty.  Decided to not add any DME as my original recipe was probably too big for the style.  Just rolling with what I got.

Boil proceeded as normal and after chilling to 65f, I gathered 5.25gal of 1.050 wort and pitched the yeast starter.  Fermentation began in 6 hours.  Massive krausen and already some blowoff.

4/1/2014 -- ...and explosion.  Blew the stopper out (even though there was a blowoff tube) and shot gunk all over.  SWMBO surprisingly tolerant.  3068 has a reputation for being aggressive, but I figured I would be somewhat safe given the low gravity.  Or not.

4/7/2014 -- Krausen dropped.

4/13/2014 -- Bottled with 5.25oz of corn sugar to get 3.0vol carbonation.  FG 1.010, not bad considering the mash temps came in WAY low.  Tastings going into the bottles were amazing.

5/18/2014 -- Tasting notes.  Great hefe.


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