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Bavarian Weizen

I brewed up a Bavarian Wheat beer on Saturday. A Bavarian wheat is a beer that ought to be strong in the banana and fruity esters (along with some clovey and vanilla phenolics) given off by the particular yeast strain used to make it (which, in this case, was Wyeast’s Bavarian Wheat yeast (Wyeast 3638).

I got somewhat poor efficiency with this batch (getting a gravity of about 1.040 instead of 1.048), perhaps because I did this batch brew-in-a-bag or, more likely, because of the less-than-optimal grain crush on both the wheat and the pilsner malt I used. Oddly enough, it’s pretty rare I actually have the house so cool that it’s optimal for ale brewing, and funnily enough, I was hoping it’d be warmer for this batch. (So the banana may be a bit understated. If so, I’ll try with this yeast again in the spring.) I haven’t decided whether to boil up a little more dry malt extract to bring the beer up to 4.5% ABV, or just let it land at what will probably be a lighter~ 4.0%.

The grains I used were mostly wheat (hence the brew-in-a-bag approach) and a little pilsner, plus some dried malt extract, and I hopped it lightly with Cascade just because I had some, even if it’s a bit out of style. The exact recipe is here.

Otherwise, though, the brewday went pretty smoothly. Very few issues and problems, and while the yeast took some time to take off, it’s now bubbling away pretty steadily. (Which is a nice thing, because this was the first time I had a yeast smack pack malfunction: somehow, the yeast baggie inside the smack pack didn’t break (or maybe didn’t break much) when I hit it, and so I ended up pitching  a bunch of yeast nutrient first, and then realizing the yeast baggie was still intact in the smack pack, bursting it, and pitching that. Well, some of that–the rest ended up on the floor, argh.

But it’s fermenting now, and that’s all that matters, I guess. The aroma coming out of the airlock is vaguely sweet, but also somewhat fruity, so I am hoping some of those same compounds are also hanging around and getting locked into the beer flavor.

This batch is one of the beers I’ll be donating to the fundraiser we’re doing down in Bundang for the Red Cross fund for Japan. (I’ll also be donating a keg of Saison, assuming I can get both kegs to Bundang.) I’ll reserve some of the yeast when I keg it, for a second try at the style when it’s a little warmer, to see how fermentation temperature affects the final outcome.

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