Wheat X Experiment

Author: Isaac Brickett

Wheat X

The Wheat X Project was started in July 2017 with the idea to develop a great standard American Wheat recipe that could be used, with minimal alterations, to create a variety of styles.

Type: All Grain Date: 10 Jul 2017
Batch Size (fermenter): 5.00 gal Brewer: Isaac Brickett

Ingredients

 
Amt Name Type # %/IBU Volume
4 lbs 8.0 oz Wheat – White Malt (Briess) (2.3 SRM) Grain 1 45.0 % 0.35 gal
1 lbs Vienna Malt (Briess) (3.5 SRM) Grain 2 10.0 % 0.08 gal
4 lbs 8.0 oz Pilsner (Weyermann) (1.7 SRM) Grain 3 45.0 % 0.35 gal
1.00 oz Tettnang [4.50 %] – Boil 60.0 min Hop 4 15.0 IBUs
1.0 pkg Kolsch Yeast (Wyeast Labs #2565) [124.21 ml] Yeast 5

The 1st Experiment:

In which we seek to find a suitable canvas and play with some interesting flavors.

 

Background:

The first set of experiments involved the creation of Control, Cherry, and Chamomile. A single 5 gallon batch was brewed and fermented as one batch. It was then split into 5 single-gallon batches for the experiment.

 

Control:

A standard American Wheat, bottled with Domino Dots after a month in secondary. I absolutely loved how this came out. Mouthfeel was pillowy and soft, bready flavor, an easy drinker. I deem this a success at making a great standard American Wheat.

 

Cherry:

Three gallons of Control were separated on to three blends of Knudsen’s Cherry Juice – Tart Cherry, Black Cherry, and a 50/50 blend of the two juices. These ended up sitting in secondary for a few months. At bottling, all three had distinct cherry character. The Tart was the best overall, the Black was too much in-your-face black cherry, and the blend wasn’t too bad, but still too much of the sweet black cherry character. I love black cherry, but it’s probably best reserved for a porter or stout to make a Black Forest Stout of some kind.  The three gallons were then combined together and bottled because, life.

 

Chamomile:

Used a French press to make a chamomile tea, (about 1oz of dried flowers). The tea was left to cool down a bit before adding to the secondary fermenter. This beer came out great, if a little strong on the chamomile — I’d back it down to 0.2oz/gal from 1oz/gal. Typical chamomile character was prominent with pear/apple flavors, floral character, and a hint of sweetness. An unintended side effect is it enhances drowsiness which is another reason to back the dose way down.

 

Conclusions:

 

  • American Wheat was very tasty, but perhaps adding a touch of honey malt or more Vienna would give it a bit more character if it were to be brewed as-it.
  • Tart Cherry Juice is the way to go for a cherry wheat, but black cherry juice could make in interesting Black Forest porter or stout.
  • I loved the chamomile, but it’s best left as a supporting flavor to add depth, and the drowsiness is a concern at this dosage level.

 

 

The 2nd Experiment:

In which we apply new colors to the canvas in two very different ways

 

Background:

I was presented with an opportunity to serve homebrew at the New Haven Land Trust Oyster and Beer Festival through the club. Having just moved into the new house, I wanted to make something simple, but also try something new. I decided on doing Wheat X and making on a Belgian Wit and the other a Hoppy Wheat as I had a few ingredients around to do both. I made a single 10 gal mash and split the wort into two batches. The two beers would be quick to ferment and I would decide which to bring a week before the event. The other would remain on tap for Oktoberfest.

 

Spirituel

In the Belgian Witbier Style

Using Wyeast 3944 Belgian Witbier Yeast

Fermented at 70F

This was the beer that I brought to the Oyster and Beer Festival. It was well received by the attendees and some of the pro brewers. The best compliment of the day was an older gentleman that beckoned me closer after sampling and simply said “Hoegarten”.  It was the only compliment I needed.

 

Mosaic Wheat Ale

In the American Wheat Style

Using Wyeast 2565 Kolsch Yeast

Fermented at 70F

Mosaic is a personal favorite hop of mine, but what I found interesting was how long it took to come into its own. It started out with a very powerful grapefruit pith flavor that originally had me bummed, but then a few weeks later in the keg it started to soften its character and develop those berry notes Mosaic is so well known for.

 

Conclusions:

 

  • Both of the beers came out fantastic, but the Mosaic took an extra week or so to finish rounding out what it wanted to be.
  • I’d make either of these again in a heartbeat, but I look forward to trying different hops in the Hoppy Wheat as it was a great showcase for the hop flavors without being a Pale Ale or IPA.

 

The 3rd Experiment:

In which we learn from the fruits of our labor.

 

Background:

Bill had gone on vacation to Maine where he encountered Sea Dog Blueberry Ale and wanted to try to make something like it. I was skeptical at first, but I figured based on the success of the cherry juice we could adapt the delicate flavor of blueberry. I’m not a fan of using extracts and would rather use whole ingredients in the beers but I knew based on my research that the fruit alone wasn’t going to be enough. What we settled on was to split the 5 gallon batch in two and to use juice in one and puree in the other.

 

 

Blueberry Juice Wheat Ale

In the Fruit Beer Style

Using Wyeast 2565 Kolsch Yeast

The juice had a rich purple/red color and a good amount of blueberry flavor, but was thin on the mouthfeel and missing …. something.

 

Blueberry Puree Wheat Ale

In the Fruit Beer Style

Using Wyeast 2565 Kolsch Yeast

The puree gave the beer a more muted color than the juice, but maintained the body and provided a more “bite-into-a-blueberry” flavor characteristic. It wasn’t perfect but it was closer to what we were trying to achieve.

 

 

Conclusions:

 

  • We ended up blending both together and were much more satisfied with the mouthfeel and flavor profiles. On a whim, we added just a touch of vanilla extract and it really pulled all the flavors together and added a touch of sweetness that made the blueberry pop!
  • This was our most “popular” beer amongst people who aren’t really into beer. And it went really fast at parties.
  • I’d do a blend again with the puree and juice, maybe the same about of puree and 50% less juice.

 

I’m going to take a break from the Wheat X for now to focus on other styles, but it’s nice to have a fine-tuned quick-turnout beer in my back pocket that can be modified to a variety of styles!

 

 

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