Wheat Beer Recipe
First of all, before you make a batch of wheat beer, it can be helpful to know what exactly wheat beer is.
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You need to understand that wheat beer is brewed with a combination of barley and wheat. The wheat portion makes up about 30 to 70 percent of the total. The wheat extract malts are usually made up of about 60 percent barley and 40 percent wheat. Wheat contains more protein than barley does, which means they have wonderful long lasting heads, but are also hazier. In addition, wheat is much lighter and has less flavor than the barley beers. This means it’s an excellent drink for summer and makes it easy for those who enjoy “Miller” and “Bud” to transition into craft beers.
Styles of Wheat Beer
When it comes to wheat beers, there are several different styles:
German Hefeweizens: these are typically brewed using a special yeast which produce clove flavors as well as esters that produce vanilla, bubble gum, or banana flavors- especially at warm temps. Pale/Pilsner malt is typically used with wheat. In addition, they are lightly hopped and unfiltered. The alcohol volume is typically around 4.5 to 5 percent.
Belgian Witbiers: these are known as white beers and are very similar to the German Hefeweizens. These are made using a special yeast that has a slight tartness to it. In addition, during the last 5 to 15 minutes of the boiling process, things such as orange peel or coriander are added to give it some extra flavor.
American Wheats: these beers use a yeast that is neutral and doesn’t leave a clove or banana flavor. However, there are many different variations that include honey or fruit being added during the end of the boiling process and then fermented- or the fruit flavoring can be added at the time the beer is bottled. Honey is almost totally fermentable and will dry the malt flavor in the beer.
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Making Wheat Beer
You must keep in mind that it’s not any harder to make wheat beer than it is to make any other type of beer. The steps for all is the same. Following are a couple of recipes for wheat beer:
Wheat Beer Recipes
- Malt Base: 6 pounds wheat malt extract- liquid/5 pounds wheat malt extract- dry (choose one)
- Specialty Grains: ½ pound oats (flaked)& ½ pound wheat (flaked)
- Hops: 1 ounce Hallertau Hop Pellets (for bittering)
- Yeast: Wyeast 3068 Weihenstephan and White Labs 300 Hefeweizen
Place your grains in a muslin bag and steep in 2 gallons of water for 20 minutes. The water should be 160 degrees. Then, remove and discard the bag. Next, stir in the malt extracts and return it to the heat, bringing to a boil. Add your hops and boil for one hour- this becomes known as wort. Pour 3 gallons of cold water into your fermenter, then pour in the hot wort. Cool to under 80 degrees, then add in the yeast and attach the air lock. Fermentation temps over 72 degrees will increase the banana flavors and below will increase the clove flavors.
Belgian White Beer
- Malt Base: 7.2 pounds Wheat Liquid Malt Extract/6 pounds wheat dry malt extract (choose one)
- Specialty Grains: ½ pound flaked wheat and ½ pound flaked oats
- Hops: 1 ounce Saaz Hop Pellets (for flavor) and 1 ounce Styrian Golding Hop Pellets (for bittering)
- Yeast: Wyeast 3944 Belgian Wit and White Labs 400 Belgian Wit
- Other: 1 ounce dried orange peel and 1 ounce coriander seed
You will need to start by crushing your coriander seed to get the flavor out. If you can’t find coriander seeds, use ¼ teaspoon of ground coriander. Heat 2 gallons of water to 160 degrees and place grains in a muslin bag- steep the bag in the water. Then, remove and toss the grain bag. Add your malt extracts and bring to a boil. Add the bitter hops and boil for 45 minutes. Add the flavoring hops, coriander, and orange peel and boil for an additional 15 minutes. Add 3 gallons of cold water to the fermenter and then add the hot wort. Cool to under 80 degrees, then add the yeast and attach the air lock cover. Ferment and then bottle.
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