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Das OtterWeizen

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TasunkaWitko View Drop Down
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    Posted: 02 June 2016 at 06:40
Recently, I brewed my first beer using a recipe that I had developed from scratch. I'm sure it won't be perfect, but we'll see what happens.

 Here are the particulars:

 Das OtterWeizen

 ABV - 5.61%
 IBU - 23.36

 Batch size - 1 gallon

 1 pound Maris Otter
 1 pound wheat

 60-minute mash between 144 and 152 degrees
 60-minute boil

Hops:

 0.10 oz Mandarina Bavaria at beginning of boil
 0.10 oz East Kent Golding at 30 minutes
 0.10 oz Saaz with 5 minutes left in the boil

Yeast - 5.5g of DanStar Munich

 The brew went off with no trouble at all; in fact, it almost seemed too easy. Mash temperatures effortlessly stayed well within the range described above, the sparge went very quickly, and the boil was without incident. After cooling the wort down below 70 degrees, I pitched the yeast with no trouble, and the fermenter is now sitting in my closet with ambient temperatures in the high 60s. I'm considering bumping that up a bit, in order to promote some of the banana and clove highlights that German wheat beers are famous for.

 I went back and forth over which hops to use and finally settled on an English hop, a German hop and a noble hop, added in descending order according to alpha acids. This is all a little more elaborate than my usual usage of hops, but I figured it couldn't hurt, and my hope is that it will produce a beer with mild bitterness and a fair amount of aroma. 

I considered throwing the peel from one orange into the boil with 2 minutes left, but elected not to. This is definitely something to consider in the future, as it would add a little bitterness and, of course, flavour.

After a few days of healthy fermentation, things settled down a bit and the yeast was free to do its job at leisure. Also interesting is that as the beer settled down, the colour really took on a nice hue; sort of between butterscotch and caramel. I'm not sure how it will end up looking in the end, but I'm liking what I see so far. 

I also caught a whiff of the aroma that is developing; it's really nice!  at first, I was concerned that the hops here might be a bit on the subtle side, but I am happy to wait and see the final result before passing judgment. In any case, as time passed, it sure took on a really nice aroma, making what I think will be an interesting companion to the unique qualities of the Maris Otter. This hop combination/schedule is something that I just knocked together, but it might prove to be a good one - time will tell.

Here is a label that I put together for this beer - 

 

 I usually allow 3 weeks total for fermentation; we're about halfway through that time period now, and I expect to bottle this beer the weekend after this one. I checked on it this morning and it is looking good; smelling good and hopefully turning into something really special.

 More as it happens, etc. &c....

 Ron
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 June 2016 at 11:15
Hmmmmmm? From the title I thought you were talking about a smart river rodent.

Sorry. I couldn't resist.
But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gonefishin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 June 2016 at 10:38
    Nice Tas!  I think you'll like making your own recipes...it really is a lot like cooking.  

   Mandarina is a real special hop...great flavors and aroma...YUM!
Enjoy The Food!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 June 2016 at 06:28
Last night, 8 June, I put this brew in to cold-crash. I'll bottle it sometime this weekend.

It looked and smelled pretty good, so we'll see what we end up with!

"Not THAT weizen, I want Das OtterWeizen!"
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 June 2016 at 23:14
I bottled my OtterWeizen today, 12 June. For this 1-gallon batch, I got 9 bottles, which seems to be about the norm.

I had just enough left over for a very small sample, and I was eager to see how this experimental recipe would taste. 

Keeping in mind that this is not the final flavour of the beer (time in the bottle does change it, as it carbonates, develops and matures), I found it to be very good and certainly interesting. The Maris Otter has a lot of character of its own, and the wheat was a good match for it. 

The hops might have been just a tad bitter, but we'll see how it turns out after a few weeks and carbonation. I didn't catch any of the citrus notes that the Mandarina Bavaria hop is famous for, but that might be my fault; I had intended to dry-hop for a few days with a little of the Mandarina Bavaria, but forgot to do so. The Saaz and East Kent Golding seemed to play well together, and I am reasonably certain that this combination was a good choice. 

Conclusion: at this early stage, it seems like I've got a nice thing going here - we'll see in a couple of weeks!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gonefishin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 June 2016 at 20:51
Hey Taz!

I didn't see any use of Amarillo hops. The East Kent and Saaz were your flavor and aroma hops. The Mandarina Bavaria were used as bittering. Dry hopping does work great and there's different methods to choose from. For getting more flavors and aroma from late addition hops you can also add 1/4tsp gypsum too. This will help lower oh a touch helping brighten hip flavors. For our American IPAd well add 1tsp to hlt and 1 to the boil.

144 is getting pretty low, if it's only for a small portion that's fine, but if it's for a good portion you may want to make adjustments in either time or temperature.

Mandarins is an awesome job...it works really well in the flavor and aroma areas as well as a great single hop ipa. But the classics like Saaz will always hold a special place as well.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 June 2016 at 00:17
Hi, Dan -

Yep, I made a typo above...it should have read Mandarina Bavaria. i' e edited my post to correct that. I' think I'm really going to enjoy this one, but the wait must first be endured!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 June 2016 at 09:22

I sampled this beer last night; it's still pretty young - perhaps the youngest that I've ever sampled a beer - but I was impressed, and this beer definitely deserves some consideration in the future. I'll have more to say later, but here are a few first impressions.

Appearance - on the lighter side, but with an obvious hue contributed by the Maris Otter - maybe like light butterscotch or straw...or a light honey. I'm not good at descriptions like this but will try to get a photo next time. It was mostly clear with a little bit of cloudiness, presumably due to the "weizen heritage." The beer poured with a very nice, white head that I think will get creamier as it develops in the bottle over time. The thing that I liked about this was that it was one of the few where I got some definite, undeniable lacing on the mug that lasted throughout the time that the beer was in there.

Aroma - this was a but muddled; having said that, it was good. It is probably just wishful thinking on my part, but I believe there was some nuttiness in there as well, once again from the Maris Otter. This (or something) did seem to compete a bit with the hops, but I can't say for sure as I am in relatively uncharted territory, at least for my experience.

Taste - Very good indeed, with some room for improvement, I am sure. Carbonation was good, maybe just a bit high, but nothing terrible. Considering my method ("guesstimating" with honey, maple syrup, agave etc., using about 2 tablespoons per gallon as an average), I can't complain at all. The beer itself had a honey-like quality, along with this nuttiness from the Maris Otter - if I throw some oats in this in the future, maybe I have the potential for some sort of Honey-Nut Cheerios thing - I'm not sure. As noted above, the hops seem a bit muddled. It was just a slight hair too bitter, I think, with no real flavour contribution that was immediately discernible, except for just a hint from the Saaz. I didn't immediately detect any of the banana, clove or bubble gum that I expected from the Bavarian yeast; but then again, there was something in the background that could have been it. I'm not sure. The finish was good, and kept me reaching for the mug. There was something there that I couldn't exactly identify - not good or bad, but different.

I shared this beer with my dad, who is a fan of beers at the lighter end of the spectrum. He was much less wordy than I am above, and kept it simple: "this looks like beer and states good."

Conclusion - a little more bottle conditioning will definitely improve this beer, but it really was bloody good to begin with, considering that the entire recipe was a complete guess on my part, every step of the way. I do think that some modification of the hops schedule is warranted for the future; the first thing that came to mind was to switch the Mandarina Bavaria and East Kent Golding hops, using the former for flavor and the latter for bittering. As for the Saaz; I'm thinking that I might want to perhaps double it, next time - or at least add it at knock-out, rather than at 5 minutes. Another possible tweak might be in adding some form of oats, as mentioned above. I may also add some honey at knock-out, in order to develop this unexpected characteristic that cropped up in the results.

I will go over these ideas a bit in my head and come up with a plan. For now, the recipe will stay as-is, pending development. Any thoughts would definitely be appreciated, and I'll try to get a photo posted the next time I open one up.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Sepeptember 2016 at 16:18
On 26 August, I enjoyed my last bottle from this batch, and I have to say I was seriously impressed that such a simple recipe yielded such wonderful things.

The flavour, aroma and other characteristics came into their own really well for this last bottle.

Here's a picture of the beer, which had a wonderful, creamy head:



A little time in the bottle (about 2 months after carbonation, by my reckoning) seems to have achieved the balance that I was looking for, and missing with the first sample. The flavour had always great, but the aroma had been a little ... "muddled," for lack of a better word. However, with my last beer of the batch, I noticed that the hops and aroma had balanced out really nicely, and I really liked it. It was just a tiny bit bitter for my own personal tastes, but to anyone else, I am betting it was just right; the bitterness was not over-powering, but such that it gave the beer just a bit of a bite, which is probably exactly what it should be doing.

I've been thinking about this, and I am wondering - is it "normal" for hops to come forward after some time in the bottle? I would have through that under most circumstances, they would fall back a bit. If anyone has any thoughts on this, I'd be grateful. The hops aromas were definitely more developed as time passed - they started out very "non-descript" with the first bottle I tried, but by the final one, they had settled in very nicely, giving a wonderful aroma and adding a nice, crisp character that complimented the beer very well. I'm not complaining at all, I am just not sure of the reason.

I think that this recipe might be a keeper, but I'd like to experiment a bit by reversing the first two hop additions before saying for sure.

Not bad at all for a first attempt at a completely from-scratch brew!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 February 2017 at 11:01
On 20 February 2017, I brewed this beer again.

In order to be able to measure the effect, I only changed one thing compared to the first time I made this. Instead of the scrambled mess of a hops schedule that I had before, I chose one hop, the Kazbek hop, that had been recommended by a member of another forum. According the its profile, it looks like the Kazbek might achieve something close to (or better than) what I was trying to do with my combination of hops that I used for my first attempt. You can read more about Kazbek hops here:

https://bsgcraftbrewing.com/hop-profile-kazbek

Here are some additional stats relating to this change:

a) The Kazbek hops that I have come in at 4.1% AA

b) I added 0.1 oz @ 60, 0.1 oz @ 30 and 0.1 oz @ 1 minute left in the boil.

c) The adjusted IBUs for this updated version of Das Otterweizen are 15.09; to my knowledge, this puts the bitterness more in line with what would be expected from a wheat beer.

The brew went quite well, with no complications. I took a look at it the next day after work, and we were definitely making beer.

On 24 February 2017, I took another peek at this beer, and it looked as though everything is on schedule. It looked exactly as I have described before, with my first brew, and smelled very good. The Kazbek hops seemed to be having their desired effect, as I did detect a bit of brightness that was just slightly "citrusy," which made a nice accent to the expected earthy and spicy qualities found in its parent, the Saaz hop. The citrus touch was reminiscent - to me - of lemon, but it wasn't over-whelming or over-powering...just there, riding gently above the other aromas of the beer.

Here is the updated label for this beer -



I'll most likely bottle it the second weekend in March - maybe a few days before; at that time, I'll probably have a little left over for a sample, and we can get an idea of what we're ending up with.

Ron
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 March 2017 at 09:34
I put this second batch of Das OtterWeizen in to cold-crash last night, 8 March 2017. I did this mostly to compact the sediment a bit, in order to insure that I get as much as I can into the bottles.

It was looking pretty good, with the same colour as before, and a nice, fresh aroma that might (or might not) have had just a touch of sulfur in it. I'm not sure what the reason for that would be, but it has happened before on another hefeweizen that I made, and the final product did not suffer for it.

We'll see where we end up.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 March 2017 at 07:48
I bottled my second brewing of this beer on 15 March, 2017.

Note to self - I used the "Gold" caps for this brew.

For carbonation, I used Brewer's Best Conditioning Tablets:

http://a.co/c2t2lox



I am a big fan of these tablets, for two reasons: a) they give very consistent, reliable results and b) a person is able to tailor the amount of carbonation with them - ranging from low to medium to high - in order to push the beer in a desired direction. I was looking for a medium carbonation with this beer, so I used 4 tablets per bottle. They are made from corn sugar, which as far as I can tell is the standard for priming sugar in homebrewing.

Thanks to cold-crashing and care taken when racking, I was able to get 9 bottles from this batch. The beer was fairly clear, with a slight wheat haze, and looked really nice, with a colour somewhere between straw and butterscotch. As before, there was a slight orange tinge to it, presumably from the Maris Otter. It smelled really, really good, with a bready, malty quality accented by the promised attributes of the Kazbek hops: floral, earthy, spicy...with a nice, unobtrusive overlay that is slightly citrusy (lemon). This hop has been described as "like Saaz, but turned up to 11," and based on my limited experience with Saaz, I'd say that it is an accurate description.

I had just barely enough left over for a small sample, and found the first impression of my second brew of this beer to be very positive. This is not carbonated yet, of course, but based on the first brewing and this sample, it is proving to be a great malt combination, with the best characteristics of both the Maris Otter and the wheat working quite well together to produce a malty, bready, slightly-nutty ale with what seems to be great body and a tasty, almost addicting flavor. My previous brewing of this beer revealed some hop issues that could best be described as "muddled" in aroma and flavor; this is not surprising, considering my overly-complicated hop additions, but early indications are that this second brewing using just one hop has solved that issue, and I am very grateful to @jjeffers09 for suggesting the Kazbek hop. The bitterness seems to be just right - low, but noticeable and in good proportion. The previously-mentioned characteristics of the Kazbek hop appear to be just the right thing for this beer. I was immediately a big fan, and anticipate that everything will work very well together once there has been some time to carbonate and condition.

I'll be able to properly sample this beer in about 2 weeks or so, and will have more on it, then. We're still a little early to say for sure, but I think that I might finally have this recipe dialed in where I want it to be!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 April 2017 at 15:56
I sampled the first bottle out of my second batch of this on Saturday, and it was great - I think I've got the recipe just about dialed in.

I'm usually too busy taking it all in when I try the first bottle of a batch, but early impressions are that it was just right. The beer was fairly clear - especially for a wheat beer - and had the same colour as before, which was of course expected. The head could have been just a little higher and the beer could have been just a little more carbonated, but if there is any fault there, it is probably due to my error, not the recipe. it had an aroma that I really liked, but can't yet describe - maybe next time.

The taste was as good as before, only a little better. It is a malt-forward beer that is extremely drinkable and full of all the things we love about Maris Otter and Wheat. The hops were not in any way "muddled" this time around, and the Kazbek profile is a very good one for this, I think; in fact, I might bump up the presence just a little bit with my next brew - then again, maybe not. At 15 IBUs, it might be just right.

I think this beer is very close to being pronounced as "ready" for sharing; I'll mull it over and decide on that by the end of this batch. As I said above, there might or might not be a small tweak to the hops, but if it doesn't need anything else, I'll call it "good" just the way it is.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 April 2017 at 15:24
I sampled this beer again last night - here's a photo:



The beer was a little clearer than the photo seems to indicate, but not by a drastic amount. It smelled nice and malty, with a bit of spice and something else from the Kazbek hops.

The taste was really good, as well - the Maris Otter really gave it some nice character, and the hops were present to balance the beer without being obnoxious. My dad described it as "very drinkable," which is pretty nice praise coming from him.

I am sure that someone with more experience could find some constructive ways to improve this beer, but I thought it was pretty darned good, and can't think of anything to mess with at this time. I'll reserve judgment until after a little time has passed and I am able to evaluate it better, but I think we've got some good stuff here.
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