Despite having two jobs that consume my life seven days a week, I try as hard as I can to find time to dedicate towards one of my real passions – beer. I don’t get to do nearly as much with it as I would like, but I’m working on that because I do want every batch that I brew and every beer that I drink to be better than the one before it. Makes sense right? Sounds like the aspirations of any home brewer. I decided the time had come to stop procrastinating, so I took the day off from my normal Saturday workout routine to get in a few extra hours to brew.
I headed up to Paterson, NJ last week to pay a visit to Mark Spezio at Love2Brew. I had the chance to chat him up a bit, talk some shop and pick up an all-grain batch. I had a number of different options, but I thought that since we’ve reached the end of summer and the beginning of fall, a good German perennial beer would be great. So I opted for the hefeweizen (properly pronounced haifa-veitzen in German for all you English-only types) this time around. En Prosit Oktoberfest!
Das Brew Day
I brewed it at home while the wife was still out doing her weekend thing. She just looooves the smell of a brew day kitchen. To be honest, I think my neighbors knew I was brewing as well. The aroma just seems to carry itself well and travel great distances when I do this. Nobody has complained so far, I think they acknowledge that I’m just “doin’ my thang…”
Here’s the thing about hefeweizens (and for nearly all German/Belgian beers for that matter) – their unmistakable aroma and flavor profile. How this batch came to be was simple – you take five pounds of pilsner malt, four pounds of white wheat malt, and a couple ounces each of aromatic and acid malts (which really have little to do with the overall malt bill) and combine them with a Wyeast Weihenstephan Wheat Yeast (3068) smack pack. This is really what gives the beer its distinct aroma and flavor. While the malt bill will generate a bready or biscuit aroma and flavor, it is the yeast addition that helps to impart that signature banana and clove combo that people love and for which Belgian/German beers are famous. After brewing, cooling and recording my OG (1.060 which is rather high for some reason, we were shooting for 1.051) – I transferred this to a fermenter and pitched the yeast. In about a week I’m going to transfer this to my corny keg and have it ready to go for pouring some into growlers and/or bottles while keeping a good amount left to pour from the tap.
I plan to have this beer as the inaugural batch to kick off the grand opening of my kegerator at Stinky’s Pub & Brewhouse. This is my home brewery and I’ve been spending so much time working on other things that I haven’t taken enough time to get this done. Well that is about to change. Once the beer gets kegged, I’m moving forward with completing the construction on the kegerator and unleashing my own draft house on the world. This should be fun. I have been meaning to get this finished and have found a great time to do it. Perhaps you can see the hint being dropped – a new post will be coming out with information on building a kegerator out of an old refrigerator. Oops, I guess I let the cat out of the bag.
I can’t wait to see how this batch comes out and if we can take something as simple as brewing up a batch of beer – something I already love to do – and turn it into something more. This will be done by way of connecting our draft lines and getting the kegerator to go live. Stay tuned folks. The moment of truth is near. Cheers!
The Grain Bill
5 lb. Pilsner Malt
4 lb. White Wheat Malt
4 oz. Aromatic Malt
2 oz. Acid Malt
1 oz. German Hallertau
Wyeast Weihenstephan Wheat Yeast (3068)