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Dunkelweizen Brew

April 29, 2011

Wanting to brew something, but not having a strong desire for anything in particular, I took a look at my brewing calendar to find Dunkelweizen an interesting thing to brew next.  Listening to Jamil’s show on it and adding Gordon Strong’s modified Hochkurz double decoction mash method (to replace Jamil’s single-step infusion), I came up with the recipe.  I’m excited to see how a decoction works out.

Along with his decoction, I’m going to try Gordon’s split-day brewing method – also from his Brewing Better Beer book that I’ve been working may way through lately.  Essentially, I’m going to mash and lauter the evening prior, leaving the hot wort overnight to brew as early as I can the next day.  It should be able to retain quite a bit of heat through the night, but I might try to help it even more by putting it in the oven, pre-warmed to the lowest setting (I would leave the oven off after, otherwise it would get too hot).  I could also just wrap it up in towels or transfer it back to the mash tun after cleaning it.

Recipe

BeerSmith Recipe

Brew Day

The split-day brew didn’t happen because we didn’t get home until late the night before.  Instead, I ended up with a pretty long brew day, but it wasn’t too bad.  It was fun to do a decoction, though I certainly see how someone would rather forgo it and just do a single infusion if possible.  The only real thing that I remember now 2 weeks later, is leaving the valve open on the bottling bucket when I transferred the chilled wort to it.  I didn’t notice until the jar below the vale started to overflow.  Initially the 1-gallon jug was about 1/2 full of sanitizer, so I figure I lost about 1/2 a gallon of wort.

Fermentation

Fermentation started <10 hours after pitching and had increased to the most active fermentation I’ve ever had by 24 hours.  By the time I came home the day after, my ~1/2 full gallon blow-off jar was about to overflow.   Luckily this is also the most prepared I’ve been for an active fermentation.  I’d heard the wheat yeasts were really active so I made sure to set up the blow-off tube right off the bat.

Sample after ~6 days:  1.015.  Very strong flavor of bubble gum.  I couldn’t imagine the flavor could be so strong.  I believe it’s due to the too-high fermentation temperature, though it stayed 66 – 67 F.

Sample at kegging:  1.008.  Wow, that attenuated quite a bit!  The malt flavor sure didn’t suffer, though.  It’s actually very malty in a way that I assume is melanoiden and due to the decoction.  Of course I could just be thinking that because I know it was decocted.  The bubble gum seems to have faded a bit to leave a pretty strong banana.  I’m not getting clove, but I really don’t know how that would taste anyway.  At this point it is actually in the keg, pressurized to 30# and has been rocked for a little bit so there’s some carbonation and it’s really nice.

First Impressions

Not fully carbonated, but it has a little bit of head that lasts for a while.  I really like this beer.  I’ve convinced myself that the maltiness is indeed from melanoidins because it’s not quite sweet.  Couple that big maltiness with the really dry finish and it’s quite an experience and that’s not to mention the contributions of the yeast and wheat.  Now to mention the yeast and wheat…  The yeast brings a very strong banana-like ester aroma.  Certainly stronger than the same aroma in Hacker-Pschorr’s Dunkelweizen.

Pictures

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