10A - Weissbier

BJCP Style: 10A - Weissbier

Overall Impression: A pale, refreshing German wheat beer with high carbonation, dry finish, a fluffy mouthfeel, and a distinctive banana-and-clove yeast character.

Weissbier, or Hefeweizen as it is often called, has not been a style I have ever sought out. So during and after this brew session I sampled a couple from local breweries and one from Weihenstephaner to get a better feel for the style. All of them were darker than I expected and I don't see this one developing that color so I must be missing a malt somewhere but we'll see.

First a quick note on translation/nomenclature for this style, as you might see any combination of these terms on a bottle or description:
  • Hefe = Yeast
  • Weiss = White
  • Weizen = Wheat (see grain bag below)
Since I like to go as traditional as possible with recipes I've never done before, this one seems to line up with the Weihenstephaner grain ratio which, according to this brewer's visit to the German brewery, is 60% wheat and 40% pils. Of course the yeast should be the same.

Full recipe is on BrewersFriend but here's the TL;DR:
  • Brewday: 2019-12-1
  • Malts: Weyermann pale wheat (57%) and pilsner (43%)
  • Hop: Magnum (FWH bitter addition only)
  • Yeast: Lallemand Munich Classic (Weihenstephaner)
  • OG: 13.5°P; FG: 3.8°P; ABV: 5.2%
  • Kegged: 2019-12-7 (+6)
Weyermann Pale Wheat malt

Trying out a quartz heating element. This with the gas got the mash water up to 70°C in 30 minutes

Evil mash temp...

Hefeweizen sample #1 from Resolute. Tasted a bit oxidized and was darker than expected, but all the elements of the style seem to be there.

Sample #2 from Odyssey 5 min from the house. Better, more fresh, but still darker and very clear - I thought these were supposed to be hazy but apparently settling/clearing is to be expected.

And here we are. The classic from Weihenstephaner. This is the yeast strain I used so I would hope I like it. And it's good! A fine, delicate balance of soft wheaty mouthfeel and spicy yeast character. This is what we're going for. And it was clear in the bottle... I moved the yeast around some before opening so it spread through the beer and was cloudy when poured.

Bag out. Hop spider in.

Floor Manager Steve posing

into the fermenter

Lallemand Munich Classic - allegedly this is the Weihenstephaner 68 wheat beer strain

From past experience I haven't had good efficiency with wheat malt. This time was better than expected: 67% instead of 60%.

Away we go. This kicked off pretty quick and there were plenty of airlock bubbles within a few hours

2019-12-7 (+6): Kegged after 6 days - Fresh! FG came out to 1.015/3.8°P 5.2% ABV

2019-12-8 (+7) Carbonated sample with label

2019-12-9 (+8): now that it has settled down and I'm not getting full pours of yeast, this is coming along really well. The distinct yeast character is there but not overpowering.

2019-12-17 (+16): clearing a bit, less yeasty (don't want too much yeast), still quite a bit lighter than Weihenstephaner.

2020-1-3 (+33): bit of yeasty funk on the nose but the taste is spot on. not as spicy as Weihenstephaner but a tasty lighter version. Next time I'll add some munich and let it go a full 2 weeks in the fermenter before kegging.

2020-1-7 (+37): This is foamy. Like stupid foamy. I got this pour (and the one above) after dumping about a full pint of foam. There's no foam in the line. This is just crazy foamy shit. Other beers on the same manifold pour fine.

Also: through this process I have learned that I really don't like weissbier. Under no circumstances would I ever order or seek one out. And it's not that I failed at the style; even the Weihenstephaner, though interesting to try, is tough to get through. It's such a weirdly sweet and spicy beer. Maybe it would make a good pumpkin spice... which is another beer I will never order.

2020-1-10 (+40): Dialing in the foam issue. This is better. And I can't argue with that beautiful head.