Sunday, April 6, 2014

#20 Hoppy American Wheat - Brewday

Recipe     -     Brewday     -     Tasting

Well balls.  This brewday started off with a minor catastrophe.  When I was making my water adjustments, I added too much lactic acid.  Way too much lactic acid.  I needed just a bit to bring the pH down into the optimal range (wheat is more basic than most base malts, and there were no dark grains to lend some acidity), but when I went to look up a unit conversion on google I got the ratio flipped.  After a couple teaspoons (when I only needed half), I decided that couldn't be right so I went back and double checked my math, so it's not as bad as it could have been.  I ended up adding some baking soda and chalk in hopes that the carbonates would neutralize some of the acid.  Hopefully that helps.

Other than that the rest of the brewing went smoothly.  Chris stopped by to hangout and help with the brewing, which was awesome.  The mash temperatures were again out of control--not as bad as the Irish stout--but I don't think I'll really be able to fix that until I move on to a traditional mash.

Efficiency was a bit lower than expected, and boil-off was a bit more than expected, so in the end the gravity came out dead on but just missing a quarter gallon.  The hops certainly didn't disappear however so the IBUs will be a little higher than I would like.  I used first wort hops for bittering, which is said to give more IBUs than bittering hops added to the boil, but with less perceived bitterness.  So far it doesn't seem overly bitter, so fingers crossed it stays that way.

This beer will be a glorified yeast starter for my next batch, a clone of Oaked Arrogant Bastard, so I'm pitching straight from the Wyeast smackpack.  Pure O2 for 30 sec., yeast pitched at 60F, and placed in fridge set to 62F.

After 2 days it looks like fermentation is happening, but not aggressively.  I bumped the temperature all the way to 68F to get it going.

1 Week: Racked onto dry hops.  Gravity has dropped to 1.017 which is four points higher than expected.  Part of it could have been imprecise temperature control in the mash, but maybe the yeast weren't quite ready to work.  (EDIT: The Wyeast and White Labs pages for this yeast list the minimum fermentation temperature as 64F and 65F respectively, so temperature was likely the culprit.)  Between the under pitch from not using a yeast starter and the low temperature, maybe they never really built up enough steam to ferment it as low as I hoped.  The sample doesn't taste too sweet, though that could be because it's a bit tart from the lactic acid. Thankfully the lactic acid isn't overbearing, only noticeable if you know to look for it.  It's almost like someone squeezed a bit of lemon in my glass...  Anyway, this is going back in the fridge next to the Arrogant Bastard clone at for the next week.

2 Weeks: Racked to a keg.  The SG hasn't budged, but it tastes a little more dry/thin/bitter after the dry hop.  The hop aromas aren't as prominent as I expected either.  I think both these observations will change once it's carbonated, but I'll just have to wait and see.

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