Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Hefeweizen Brewday

Part II of the Hefeweizen trilogy. This version was inspired by the plethora of blooming dandelions in my yard and around the neighborhood—which I ruthlessly plundered to make this beer—hence it is also the newest member of the Yard Beer series as well. For those of you unfamiliar with the Yard Beer series, it features items I can procure from in or around my neighborhood. It was inspired in part by reading Stephen Buhner’s Sacred and Healing Herbal Beers. Past Yard Beers have included a Blackberry Wheat, a Mulberry Wheat, a Mulberry Cider, a Wild Wet Hop Ale (well, those we actually found on one of the local bike paths, but you get the idea), and a Dandelion Ale.

69. Dandelion Hefeweizen
Added to brew pot, brought to boil (65 minutes):
4 lbs. Breiss Bavarian Wheat DME
1 oz. German Hallertauer leaf 4.1% AA
2.5 oz. fresh dandelion flowers

w/ 5 minutes to go:
4 oz. fresh dandelion flowers
5 grams coriander
1 gram grain of paradise

Cooled wort and pitched on Wyeast 3068 Weihenstephan Weizen pancake (2nd batch)

Brewed: 4/14/2010 @ 68° F
Secondary: no secondary—straight to bottling
Bottled: 4/29/2010 with 7.0 oz. Bavarian Wheat DME (62-3° F)

OG: 1.030
FG: 1.007

Tasting Notes 7/17/2010: The goal was this beer was to see what a whole bunch of dandelions flowers would do when added into the brew; while the yeast choice might have impeded some of the more subtle aromatics and flavors, the beer does contain elements that I would attribute to the dandelion flowers. But let’s not get too far ahead of things. The beer pours the color of fresh baked bread, is hazy in appearance, and the nose is predominantly a slight sweetness that smells more barley than wheat (no real grainy or wheat characteristics) with lower levels of what I would describe as a dry bitterness or biscuit-like component with a touch of creamy and chalky vegetal aroma that has subtle banana hiding in the background. While I’ll admit that sounds nasty, the nose is actually quite nice—although not very hefeweizen-esque—I just lack the sensory descriptors to make my description sound more positive. Flavors open slight sweet with a touch of graininess that quickly moves into a chalky, almost mineral-ly bitterness, which I am guessing is from the dandelion flowers (I used the whole flower, including the green parts surrounding the petals—I wasn’t plucking all those flowers). The finish has a touch of sweet breadiness in both the flavor and mouthfeel before ending with a light lingering chalky bitterness that has slight fruit and banana flavors dancing lightly across the back of the tongue. The body is medium and the carbonation is as well—it is bright and spritzy on the palate, but also gentle. All in all I’d call this beer a success, even lacking as it does many of the more distinctive characteristics of a regular hefeweizen—traditional banana and clove flavors are more subdued, but the floral bitterness from the flowers and the light mineral components offer interesting elements of their own. The beer is light and easy drinking, and goes down well. I’ll be interested to see how it stacks up against the Blood Orange Tea Hefeweizen.

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