Saturday, April 5, 2014

#20 Hoppy American Wheat - Recipe

Recipe     -     Brewday     -     Tasting

One of the first beers I really liked was Widmer Hefeweizen.  It was one of my Dad's favorites and much better than the cheap stuff that was everywhere in college.  April 2nd was the 30th birthday of Widmer Brewing Co., so it seems like a good time to brew my version of the style they pioneered.

For their "Hefeweizen," the Widmer brothers took a grain bill similar to a Bavarian hefeweizen--half malted barley and half malted wheat--and fermented it with a clean German alt yeast, dropping the signature banana and clove flavors in the process.  Since then, many others have imitated the beer, spawning the American wheat ale style.  While I still enjoy Widmer, I definitely prefer Little Sumpin' Sumpin' from Lagunitas.  It takes the style and bumps up the alcohol to around 7.5% and adds a metric boatload of American hops.  You could say this makes it more of an IPA, but whatever.  It's still tasty and goes well with barbecues, concerts, and/or volleyball.

I brewed a clone of Lil Sumpin Sumpin last summer that turned out well, but now it's time to try my own version.  I think the 7.5% ABV is a little excessive for something that I want to be fairly light, so I'm going to dial it back to around 5% or so with some Munich malt like the Widmer version.  Still enough malt to make it flavorful and full bodied without putting you to sleep after one beer.

For hops I want to feature Amarillo.  It's bright and citrusy, with a very smooth orange/mango flavor that fits well in lighter summery ales like Fremont Summer Ale.  Not to mention I have a ton of it.  However I'm not as in love with Amarillo as some brewers; I think it tastes pretty one dimensional on its own, and can easily overwhelm the hop aroma if used in the dry hop (the biggest flaw in my Little Sumpin' Sumpin' clone).  Simcoe is a popular dance partner--as in Ballast Point's legendary Sculpin IPA--but I just polished off the last of my Simcoe stockpile on my pseudo-Kolsch, so I'll have to be a bit more creative.  Instead I'm going to use the sharper character of Centennial--I get lemon and black pepper--in the boil to add some texture to the hop profile.  While I like all this citrus action in the flavor hops, I'm going to add some piney Chinook in the dry hop to keep the Amarillo from overwhelming the aroma.  Traditional wisdom advises against loading too many hop varieties into a single beer to avoid muddling things, but I think aromas are easier to distinguish than flavors so it should be fine to throw that extra variety in the dry hop.  Lil Sumpin' Sumpin' features 6 varieties in the dry hop after all.  Given all that, here's the recipe I've put together:

American Wheat #2
Batch Size (fermenter): 5.00 gal
Estimated ABV: 5.4 %
Estimated OG: 1.054 SG
Estimated FG: 1.013 SG
Estimated Color: 4.4 SRM
Estimated IBU: 54.4 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 60.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 69.0 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Amt          Name                                    %/IBU
5 lbs        Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM)           41.7 %
5 lbs        White Wheat Malt (2.0 SRM)               41.7 %
1 lbs        Munich Malt (6.0 SRM)                    8.3 %
1 lbs        Wheat, Flaked (1.6 SRM)                  8.3 %
1.00 oz      Amarillo Gold [10.60 %] - First Wort 60m 36.6 IBUs
0.50 oz      Centennial [10.30 %] - First Wort 60m    17.8 IBUs
0.25 tsp     Irish Moss (Boil 10.0 mins)
1.00 oz      Amarillo Gold [10.60 %] - Boil 0m        0.0 IBUs
0.50 oz      Centennial [10.30 %] - Boil 0m           0.0 IBUs
1.0 pkg      British Ale Yeast (Wyeast Labs #1098)
0.50 oz      Amarillo Gold [10.60 %] - Dry Hop 5 Days 0.0 IBUs
0.50 oz      Centennial [10.30 %] - Dry Hop 5 Days    0.0 IBUs
0.50 oz      Chinook [13.00 %] - Dry Hop 5 Days       0.0 IBUs

Mash Schedule: BIAB, 152F
Total Grain Weight: 12 lbs
Estimated Cost: $28.17

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