I really like hefeweizens, berliner weisses and goses so I started looking into the basic recipes for them. Turns out all are essentially wheat and barley with different yeasts and water additions. I have a friend who really likes these 3 styles also but has no brewing experience. So I thought, why not try and see if I can do all three styles with the absolute most basic recipe and most basic brewing process. With this in mind, I created a plan for all three styles.
Last month I did the hefe. 6 pounds of wheat DME, 1 oz Tettnang hops, 1 smack pack of Wyest 3068 Weihenstephan Weizen. The plan was simple, heat 3 gallons of RO water, add the 6 pounds of wheat DME, bring it to a boil, throw full oz of hops in, add 1 tsp yeast nutrient, boil for 20 minutes, chill by submerging the kettle in ice water, pour wort into fermenter, dilute to 5.5 gallons, put the contents of the smack pack in and ferment at 63 F.
The stats: SG – 1.046, FG – 1.012, 4.5% ABV, 5 IBUs.
The biggest thing I’ve learned from discussion, research and experience, is the hefe yeasts need to be stressed to produce a nice banana aroma. If given too optimal of conditions and or to small of headspace, clovieness can overpower your beer. You may like that, but I sure don’t. So my plan was to keep the conditions so the yeast would be stressed but robust enough to fully ferment the beer. I did not aerate anymore than the pouring of the wort into the fermentor. I pitched only the smack pack which was 63% viable (63 billion cells) based on production date, I used a 6.5 gallon fermentor so I had plenty of head space (I did use a dose of anti foamer in the boil which helped keep the kraussen from blowing off).
Results: I think it turned out pretty well. I wish it was just a bit more creamy which is most likely due to the use of extract only. I don’t detect any clove or bubblegum but the banana seems to be just right for my liking.
With the berlinner and gose, I will be using White Labs Lactobacillus Delbrueckii, WLP 677. I’m most concerned with two issues, the first being the activity of the WLP 677. WLP 677 can and will chew up a lot of the sugars which will result in a much lower ABV than predicted. I did read that WLP 677 can chew up lactose, so I’ve been thinking of possibly adding some lactose to the berliner and allowing the US05 to ferment fully at 63 then moving the fermentor to the garage to allow for the WLP 677 to finish chewing up the lactose. I’m also wondering if WLP 677 can chew up the sugars left behind with caramel malts. Does anybody have experience with leaving US05 at 80-90 degrees post fermentation? If the WLP 677 doesn’t chew up all the lactose, I will have a wheaty, sweet and sour beer. That’ll be interesting.
The second issue is dependent on the direction that I go with the first issue. If I end up pitching the WLP 677 first then I have to worry about the wort pH being to low for good fermentation of the US05. To counter act the low pH, I plan on pitching a full sachet of US-05 into the 3 gallon batch and 2 teaspoons of yeast nutrient. I will allow the WLP to have several days out in the hot garage to do its thing before I bring it downstairs to cool off for the US05. I’m also curious as to if I can aerate the acidified wort without causing massive oxidation.
Anybody else have any ideas on how to control the lactic acid production? I do not want to use a sour mash or no boil, I want to be in total control of the fermentation process.
Decisions, decisions, decisions. I think I may need to ponder this with a beer.