Monday, January 10, 2011

Bavarian Hefeweizen, beer #1

I have recently brewed my first beer: Northern Brewer's Bavarian Hefeweizen.  The recipe is only very slightly modified from the kit instructions but is listed below:

3 lb Northern Brewer Wheat Malt Extract (Liquid)
3 lb Northern Brewer Wheat Malt Extract (Liquid, 15 min)
1 lb Briess Wheat Extract (Dry)
.75 oz. Tettnang hops (60 min)
.15 oz. Tettnang hops (45 min)
~5 gallons filtered tap water

Other Notes:
Cleanser used was OneStep
Temp. appeared to be in lower 60's.
Brewed 12/26/10
Bottled 1/8/11
Should Open on: 1/22/10

The brewing process took several hours as it was my first.  Several improvements which I have noted prior to even tasting the beer:

  • Cooling time was too long, next time I will buy a bag of ice to have an ice bath rather than just water and the few cubes I had laying around
  • Boiling time was also very long, this might not be avoidable (without purchasing a burner which I'm not ready for) but top off water could be boiled at the same time as wort rather than separately.
  • Not all liquid malt extract came out of bottle, next time I will be sure to soak in hot water first
  • Slightly overfilled carboy, making possibly an extra 1/5th of a  gallon and weakening the beer
  • Did not measure OG (this may have been inaccurate if I had and I was informed to use manufacturers OG)
  • dropped and broke thermometer before ever using it

After pitching yeast I headed out for the night and, many hours later, found it rapidly fermenting when I came home.  A healthy foamy krausen and bubbling through (jack daniel's filled) airlock continued for several days and began to slow.  The beer was fermented in a basement closet and wrapped in towel to avoid light access, and maintain a temperature in the low to mid 60's.  After vacationing for several days I returned to find fermentation had all but ended.  Several days later FG was measured to be 1.012 (close to expected) and beer was racked to bottles along with 5 oz. of priming sugar (dextrose) dissolved in 2 cups of boiling water.

  • During bottling I realized how much easier and better for the beer the task is when using a bottle filler over pouring straight from spigot of bucket
  • Beer was bottled into primarily brown bottles, with several clear and green bottles for visual effect.
  • 54 beers (several more than expected, but not surprising due to over top up water) were bottled

A quick run down of equipment used:
-5 gallon stainless steel brewpot
-6 gallon glass carboy (Primary fermenter)
-Northern Brewer bottling bucket w/ spigot attached to tube and bottle filler
-54 glass, non-screw top, 12 oz. bottles capped by black beauty capper
-3 piece airlock filled with jack daniel's whiskey

Tasted some of the beer while bottling and a few notes on the (flat) beer:

  • Smell is weak, might have somewhat to due with lack of carbonation, but with light fruity notes and just a touch of spice
  • Taste is fairly fruity with banana and a slight clove shining through but overall a cider like impression, might be due to low carbonation or "greenness" of the beer (acetalaldehyde).
  • A little watered down tasting, again hoping this is more due to flatness than anything else, but excessive top off water may have slightly diluted the taste and strength of the brews.
  • Looks beautiful, a little like a cloudy cream soda, seems to be just right for the style, just lacking that nice head

Bottles should be ready to drink in two weeks, here's to hoping it turns out well and I've made a good beer. I'm currently humbly optimistic and will be happy with a drinkable beverage.

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