Thirsty Squirrel Summer Wheat (6 Gallons)

Posted: April 23, 2011 in Wheat

Thirsty Squirrel Summer Wheat (6 Gallons)
5.76 lbs Briess White Wheat Malt
3.84 lbs Briess 2-Row Brewers Malt
0.97 lbs Caramel Vienne
0.61 oz Simcoe Whole Hops 11.6% (First Wort Hop)
0.61 oz Amarillo Pellets 9.6% (15 mins)
0.61 oz Amarillo Pellets 9.6% (5 mins)
1.20 oz Amarillo Whole Hops 10.6% (0 mins)
1.20 oz Amarillo Whole Hops 10.6% (Dry hop 2 weeks)
1.20 oz Simcoe Whole Hops 11.6% (Dry hop 2 weeks)
1.20 tsp Irish Moss
0.60 tsp Wyeast Yeast Nutrient
3.60 grams Gypsum
Wyeast 1275 0711055 Manufactured 03/01/11 (.8L starter on stir plate) – 3 Gallons of Wort
WLP029 Lot #1029PLE8137071 EXP 08/06/11 (1L starter with shaking) – 3 Gallons of Wort

Mash @152ºF with 1.3qts/gallon.  Mash out with 7 qts of boiling water.  Sparge to reach 7.2 gallons.

Expected OG = 1.053
OG = 1.049 (74.6%)
1275 FG = 1.010
1275 ABV = 5.1%
WLP029 FG= 1.011
WLP029 ABV = 5.0%
IBU = 33.6
SRM = 6.1

04/23/11 – I haven’t brewed for 4-5 weeks and I’ve been going crazy.  I’ve brewed two Gumballhead clones in the past.  I LOVE GUMBALLHEAD, but a)You can’t always find gumballhead b)It’s time to make a Summer wheat beer of my own conception that’s even better than Gumballhead and tweaked to my tastes.  I should end up with a nice crisp, pleasing to the pallate, hop-infused, grapefruitesque, summer wheat beer.

I’ve gotten a much better handle on all grain brewing over the course of a year, from both experience and reading.  In that time, I haven’t done much experimentation with different yeast strains.  So, I decided to brew 6 gallons of this batch and primary each half of it in two different carboys with two different yeasts.  The Wyeast 1275 Thames Valley I is an English yeast usually suited for english milds/bitters/pales.  It’s supposed to produce highly attenuative ales with a nice crisp finish, while adding a light malt and fruit character to the beer.  This should go excellent with the grapefruit quality this beer should have from the Caravienne and Simcoe/Amarillo combo.  The other yeast, WLP029 Kolsch yeast, is more of an experimental crapshoot.  Kolschs (Kolsches? Kolschi?) are normally clean crisp ales made with German hops and Pilsner malt that mimic a German lager.  Kolsch yeast works well with hops when it’s just pilsener malt.  I read a forum post about a guy who used Kolsch yeast in a wheat with excellent results, so I figured I’d give it a shot.  Plus, I’m going to wash and save all yeast from this batch to use for later batches, so I’ll be brewing a Kolsch this summer as well.

In my recent homebrew meeting, one of the members mentioned how he added gypsum to his dIPA to harden the water and really bring out the sharp hop character of the beer.  In spirit of this I added 3.6 grams of gypsum to my wort (would have been 3 grams for 5 gallons) to really help bring out the hop character of this beer.

I’m also going to be giving certain people a bottle of each and have them tell me which one they like better without knowing which has which yeast and ask which one they liked better and why.

I think I always get a little bit lower efficiency with wheat and rye because some of the water gets held up in the gummy mash and I don’t collect all the sugars that are possible to collect.  Sparging twice probably would have helped this, but I probably would have had more issues with a stuck sparge from the wheat if I did that.

05/02/11 – Dry hopped both.  Kolsch yeast definitely gave more a lager tone to the wheat.  I can’t notice too much hop or malt character in the 1275 as of right now.  I’m guessing both will showcase their strengths better after a little aging and having been dry hopped.  Currently harvesting both yeasts.

05/15/11 – Bottled 2.4 gallons of the Thames Valley version with 2.05oz of Corn Sugar (2.55 volumes).  Bottled 2.9 gallons of the Kolsch version with 2.50oz of Corn Sugar (2.55 volumes).  Due to crappy carbonation in the past, I added the corn sugar after putting in the bucket to get a more accurate final amount and stirred lightly with a sanitized spoon.  The Thames Valley tasted amazing.  Very very slight hints of a Trix cereal like fruitiness that you could almost miss if you weren’t looking.  Much more subdued than the Fuller’s strain or Pride of Ringwood.  It tastes amazing, bitter, yet quenching and hoppy.  I’m very pleased.  The Kolsch version has a sharper bitterness to it with just a hint of pear/apple fruitiness that’s in the aftertaste.  The hop aroma does not come through as well with the Kolsch yeast.  The hop taste is also somewhat subdued in this one.  The Thames Valley definitely wins out and I can’t wait to use it in my Flying Squirrel IPA.

05/28/11 – Tried to bottles today.  Stirring the priming sugar worked wonderfully as everything is well and evenly carbonated at 2 weeks time.  I was quite surprised at the results of both beers.  The Kolsch beer lost all its sulfur characteristics and tastes more like fresh grapefruit, rind and all.  It is barely that fruity, really clean tasting, and the wheat really comes through in the finish and is lip smacking refreshing for summertime.  The only place it lacks is in aroma as it doesn’t smell much like anything except wheat to me.  The Thames Valley beer tastes just a tad fuller, and has a slight piney, grapefruity, citrus aroma.  Fruity esters come through a little bit and has a more “blended” flavor.  It is not as grapefruity as the Kolsch and the wheat character seems a little subdued but has more hop quality and aroma.  Overall, I like the Kolsch one better.  Two weeks ago, I would have told you the opposite way around.  A real winner here and I’m brewing this again for summers to come.


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