Sunday, March 20, 2011

Recipe: American Wheat - A Summer Time Brew

Growing up in Kansas I have a reverence for Boulevard Wheat that no one but people from the region seem to understand. Kansas summers are damn hot and the wheat ale is the perfect thirst quencher. You can drink it all afternoon and not be in a stuper. It is also a excellent gateway beer for your pals who have yet to discover the broad world of beer beyond macro lager.

I have never attempted to clone it. This recipe is the best I could come up with after reading many forums on the subject. Taking the most plausible recipes and cross referencing them to Boulevards sight. Then realizing many of the hops would need to be swapped with readily available hops. Finally getting to my LHBS and finding two commonly available hops not in stock. It was just not my day to make this beer, but being stubborn I pressed on and came out with this.

Batch size: 5.5 gal
OG: 1.046
PG: 1.036
FG: 1.011
ABV: 4.6%
IBU: 17
SRM: 3.4
EFF: 75%

5 lb 2-Row
2 lb 12 oz Wheat
2 lb Flaked Wheat

7 gr Magnum 14% AA 60 min
7 gr each Centennial and Citra 5 min (OG recipe had Summit and Simcoe)
21 gr each Centennial and Citra -1 minute or flameout (OG recipe had Summit and Simcoe)

Protein rest at 125F for 15 min, 149F for 60 min, 165F mash out for 15 min.

Chicago water adjusted accordingly.

Fermented with 1 pack US-05 dry yeast.

2011: The year I nail down an IPA Recipe?

I brew a lot of hoppy beers and refuse to apologize for it. Beer nerds/afficonados are well past this trend but I love a dank IPA in my glass. The pale ale or IPA is the standard I hold most brewpubs too and am quick to dismiss a brand if they have a subpar version. I have done many single hop IPA, traditional cascade pale ales, overdone DIPAs, massively hoppy barley wines and experimental hop beers. Most good, a few great, some down right terrible. So it's about time I practice what I preach and make a truly awesome IPA. This is going to happen in one brew, these things take time.

In January I brewed a sessionable IPA with 2 row, Munich, Caramel Malt, Columbus, Cascade and Citra. I purposely mashed a the low end of things, thinking it would add to the drinkability. It did but the bittering hops charged through and flattened the malt profile. It was not too bitter for my tastes but the average drinker would not appreciate it.

At the beginning of March I took the same recipe but mashed at the higher end of the scale. After hearing a Brewing Network podcast with Lagunitas, the brewer talked about mashing at 160F for the Maximus IPA. Even the brewcasters thought it was a wild concept but he said the body it delivers was right for the beer. I ended up mashing at 158F. Fermentation struggled a bit with the long chain sugars, ending at 1.018 (calculated 1.013). Out of the FV it was tasting great, there was more of a balance with the Columbus bittering charge. I just dry hopped it with 2 oz of Citra and will be kegged in 5 days.

The concept is to keep brewing this recipe, changing one variable until I feel it is locked in. If the change doesn't improve the beer we go back to the last good version and change another variable. Once solidified, I will enter it into a few competitions and see how it fairs against the judges.