Saturday, June 19, 2010

Bavarian Wheat Beer

I just have this "thing" about making it myself that has extended into beer. This is the 34th batch of beer I've made. The wheat beers are fairly simple and straight forward to make. This recipe assumes some knowledge of home brewing. If you've never made beer, go to youtube and watch some videos. There are also plenty of websites with information. The only thing to remember is to keep it clean (as in clean & sanitize) and have fun with it. It is so satisfying to brew the beer, watch it ferment, bottle it and then drink it. Cheers!

Bavarian Wheat Beer (5 gallons)
6.25 lbs. liquid wheat extract
1.5 lbs. dry light extract
1/2 ounce Tettnanger hops (boil 60 minutes)
1 ounce Tettnanger hops (boil 30 minutes)
1/2 ounce Tettnanger (steeped after boil)
1 packet of Wyeast 3638 Bavarian Wheat yeast

My beers have been most successful when I've made yeast starters. It takes forethought and several extra days but it is worth it. Trust me. If you're brewing on Saturday, begin your starter on Tuesday.

2 cups water
1/2 cup dry malt extract

day one
Boil water and extract for 10 minutes. Put a lid on the pot the last couple of minutes to sanitize the lid and keep stuff from flying in while it's cooling. Watch the pot closely to make sure it doesn't boil over. Cool pot in water. Have a sanitized 1/2 gallon jug ready. Add cooled extract, add yeast, cap and shake till foamy. Put on stopper with airlock. I like to wrap a hand towel around the bottle. Everytime you pass by it, give it a few swirls to add oxygen to the mix and keep the yeasties happy.

day two
2 cups water
1/2 cup dry malt extract
Boil as above for 10 minutes. When cool, add to the 1/2 gallon jug that's already going. Keep paying attention and swirling as above. It needs you.

day three
Repeat all the steps from day two.

day four
Everything should be all settled down (i.e., no foam). Time to "cold crash" the starter. Put it in the fridge for 24 hours before brewing. If it sits a day or two, that's okay.

I have a 4 gallon pot I brew in. If you have a bigger one, use that. Fill with water about 2/3 full. Bring to boil. Take off heat and add DRY extract. Put back on heat, stir to dissolve and bring back the boil. Add the "60 minute" hops. Cook for 30 minutes and add the "30 minute" hops. Boil for 15 minutes and add the 6.25 lbs. of liquid extract. This is called a "late extract addition" and it will make your beer tastier. Get it boiling again and boil for 15 minutes. Add the "steeping" hops and take off the heat. Cool pot in sink filled with cold ice water. I like to drain and add more water and ice after about 20 minutes. The main thing is to cool it as quickly as you can. If you can get it to around 80-90 degrees that's great.

Add to sanitized 6 gallon fermenting bucket or 6 gallon jug. Add enough cool, clean water to bring the level to 5 gallons. Aerate the hell out of the wort. I like to use my immersion blender. DO have one of those self-stick temperature gauges on the side. When the temperature is down to 62-68 degrees (lower is better if you can wait that long) get your starter ready. Take it out of the fridge, drain off all the liquid, leaving the yeast layer on the bottom. I have some sanitized water that I add, maybe a cup or so, and swirl it to loosen the yeast layer. Pour in to the fermenting jug. Put on the lid with stopper and airlock.

If you're fermenting in a clear jug, you will see fermenting begin in just a few hours. If you're using a bucket, you'll just have to peek every now and then. I use a bucket and it doesn't fit tight enough for the airlock to bubble. Not to worry; I peek and I see activity - nice big head of foam. After 10-14 days when the krausen (foam) has dropped, you're ready to bottle.

Have ready 2 cases of clean, sanitized beer bottles and caps. Make a priming solution with 3/4 cups dextrose and 2 cups water; boil 10 minutes. Cool and add to bottling bucket. Siphon beer from fermenting bucket into bottling bucket. Bottle. Let bottles sit in 66-70 degrees for about a week and try one out. If it's nice and carbonated, move the rest to a cool, dark spot. Enjoy!

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