Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Hefty Hefe

Although there are many reasons I would like to forget about the last batch of beer I brewed, something fun may have come from it all (besides an "ah-ha" moment).

My original idea was to make my super simple and tasty Paulaner clone even better. I had been kicking around the idea on an Imperial Hefeweizen for a few weeks, as that would satisfy Mrs. Brew Meister's love of summer beer and my love of strong, unusual beers...

I remember the first description of an Imperial beer by some local brewery that said, "We doubled everything but the water." That sounded like the type of reasoning I could use. So I tried the following:

8oz Munich Malt 30 minutes at 152F
8.8lbs DME 55% Wheat 45# Barley
1 oz Hersbrucker for 45 minutes
1 oz Cascade for 15 minutes

As stated boiled all over the place and caused the world's largest mess. After that, I transferred 3 gallons to the primary fermenting bucket. Then I went off the reservation...

I was unable to cool the wort, as my wort chiller plumbing would not fit the sink of the new house. I decided to throw in a couple of trays of ice, a gallon of lukewarm distilled water, and put the whole mess in the basement. It was still 100F at 6PM. I decided to set the lid on the bucket, but not fill the airlock. With the cooling wort, I knew the vacuum in the bucket would pull the water from the airlock into the bucket.

In the morning, around 5AM, the wort was around 77F in my 67F basement. I pitched White Labs Liquid Hefeweizen Ale Yeast (WLP380) and a pack of Dry Ale Yeast. I figured one would kick in, and the sooner the better. Fermentation started within a few hours and chugged along for 5 days at 65-67F.

After ten days, we kegged the results. Initially, it smelled a bit bitter. The Cascade hops were very present, but blended well with the malt and some caramel aroma. We decided to pull some of the liquid from the bottom of the fermenter. It tasted REALLY GOOD! It is a good sign when Mrs. Brew Meister is filtering the dregs with a cheese cloth into a pint glass. It was also really strong. I had two cups and felt the warm contentment set in.

I am force carbonating the beer now and will drink it over the next 2 weeks. I would let it age a little longer but:

a. It already tastes really good.
b. I think the beer may begin to taste oxidized if I wait too long. It spent too many hours in the relative open before fermentation started.

I will post a full review next week.


1 comment:

Mrs. Brew Meister said...

This beer tastes amazing, even uncarbonated. It is warm, sweet, toasty, has depth, and must have a high % alcohol because I am "done" after a pint and a half! Actually, I think the fact that it is not yet carbonated enhances its drinkability.