There’s Nothing To It: Get Creative with an Easy-to-Modify Wheat Ale Recipe

BYOB by | Oct 2017 | Issue #129
Illustration by Michael Rapa

We’re right around the corner from the American Homebrewers Association’s Learn To Homebrew Day on November 4. The usual practice is to invite folks over, brew a batch of beer, and send them on their merry way after a day of brewing (and let’s face it, imbibing). But if the goal is to fill someone with the homebrew spirit, we’re missing a big component—the thing that draws so many of us in: the fascinating alchemical process of fermentation.

You know what I mean: the krausen’s rise and fall, the churning, whirling mass of yeast and goop, the inevitable (and lauded) sniffing of the airlock as it gently clicks. Simply having someone over to create the beer and then back again to package or enjoy it doesn’t capture the real magic. They need to walk by the closet and hear sounds, or look into their spare bathroom and smell the yeast at work. Every day with a fermentor is a reminder, and you probably have spare equipment to get them hooked.

But it’s not just the fermentation. You need to provide them with that other addicting aspect: control over flavor (we’ll keep the ingredients simple to avoid overcomplicating things). Think beyond the brew day. What’s a fun way for them to put their own spin on the beer? Dry hops? Flavored syrups? Fruit? Plan your beer for maximum modification potential, or at least offer your new brew partner a say in the final product. Give your friends a “to go” package they won’t forget!

Learning on the Fly Wheat Base
For 5.5 gallons at 1.052 OG | 24 IBU | 6.0 SRM | 5.2% ABV

5.0 lbs two-row pale malt
5.0 lbs wheat malt
0.5 lbs Caramunich malt

Single infusion mash at 153°F.

Hops (base charge only)
0.5 oz Magnum pellets | 14% AA | 60 minutes

Wyeast 1056 American Ale, Safale US-05, or WLP001 California Ale

Extract brewers should replace pale and wheat malt with 7.3 lbs of liquid wheat extract.

Possible Flavor Additions
Add 1–2 oz of knockout/whirlpool hops for a more American profile.
Add 1 can of fruit puree for something fruity.
Add 2–4 oz of spice tincture for a bit of intrigue.
Or switch up your yeasts, etc. The possibilities are endless!