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Impatient in PA... been waiting 15 years... is it done yet???

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by Applecrew135, Mar 7, 2013.

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  1. Applecrew135

    Applecrew135 Initiate (48) Jul 18, 2012 Pennsylvania

    I'm like a little kid on a long road trip... is it done yet???

    I've been out of the homebrew scene for 15 years, and have decided to jump back in. I started a small batch (2.5 gal) of Dunkelweizen (an extract recipe with steeping grains and WLP300 yeast) last Friday. The fermentation kicked off in about 13 hours and went gang-busters for the next 24... Since then the action has slowed down (I suspect my bucket fermenter is not as air-tight as it was 15 years ago), but I am confident all is well. I want to leave it in the primary for two weeks, but I am getting soooo impatient. I'm dying to see how this turns out. I just barely peeled up a tiny corner of the lid, just enough to get a whiff, and DAYUM... it smells SOOO good. Bananas & cloves!!!

    Fortunately, I will be out of town for a week, so there's no way I give in to the temptation of getting my brew into bottles too soon.

    The anticipation is killing me!
  2. inchrisin

    inchrisin Defender (654) Sep 25, 2008 Indiana

    Don't bottle yet. It's not worth ruining your beer by bottling gushers or bottle bombs. You picked a good beer to start back with, as it will be done fermenting in a week or 10 days. Be patient and let it set up for a few weeks, bottle, and let them carb for another week.
  3. VikeMan

    VikeMan Meyvn (1,336) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    Do you have a hydometer? IMO Weizens are a style that should be bottled almost as soon as attenuation is finished. (With other styles I like to give the beer a few (or more) extra days on the yeast to clean up.)
  4. mikehartigan

    mikehartigan Aspirant (297) Apr 9, 2007 Illinois

    I interpreted the subject line to mean you had an IPA that you had been conditioning for 15 years and were wondering if it was ready. My answer would have been 'No - you don't want to touch it before 18'

    Seriously, this sounds almost like recapturing your virginity and looking forward to your second 'first' time. As inchrisin said, you picked a good style if you're short on patience. If you had kegs, you could be drinking it by this weekend. But, and I'm sure there are those who will disagree, even a Weizen can be too fresh. Relax - I don't think a week will do any harm. FWIW, I envy you the thrill of tasting your first batch again!
  5. Applecrew135

    Applecrew135 Initiate (48) Jul 18, 2012 Pennsylvania

    Well, my enforced absence is over... I wound up bottling my brew yesterday, 15 days after it hit the fermenter. Time will tell after conditioning is complete.

    I've been reading/re-reading German Wheat Beers in Classic Beer Styles, and really wished I could have bottled sooner... but it is what it is. Terminal gravity was 1.013 from 1.055 OG, so BeerSmith appears to be right on the mark (1.014). Color looked good, I just hope conditioning really helps. Aside from tasting flat (duh.... go figure!), the raw beer was not as sweet as I thought it should be. It had a decent banana nose, mouthfeel a little on the thin side, and flavor a little bland, but I expect that will change when fully conditioned (aiming for 3.5 - 4 volumes CO2).

    Going to condition at 68 - 70 for about three days then two weeks chilled. I'll have more taste impressions in a couple of weeks when I crack the first bottle.
  6. minderbender

    minderbender Disciple (301) Jan 18, 2009 New York

    You might want to leave it at 68-70 for longer than three days to make sure it is fully carbonated. Personally I would reverse your numbers, let it sit at room temperature for two weeks and then refrigerate it for a few days.
    koopa likes this.
  7. WickedSluggy

    WickedSluggy Devotee (400) Nov 21, 2008 Texas
    Beer Trader

    Have patience. Find something else to take your mind off that beer. Take a ride on your Speed Triple!
  8. Applecrew135

    Applecrew135 Initiate (48) Jul 18, 2012 Pennsylvania

    >SIGH<... I don't own one yet... Yet another source of frustration. And I can't even have a homebrew yet! Guess I'll have to make do with a Raging Bitch...
  9. Applecrew135

    Applecrew135 Initiate (48) Jul 18, 2012 Pennsylvania

    Well, it's done! In the bottle two weeks at 68-70 degrees, a couple of days at serviing temp, and I cracked my first homebrew in 15 years yesterday!

    I use Grolsh swing-top bottles, and was rewarded with a champagne-bottle POP at opening. The pour raised a nice tan head and the beer had a nice banana nose that I expected. Over-all, I'm pretty happy with my first attempt in 15 years. The beer is drinkable and unoffensive, my son thought it was pretty good, BUT, I did not knock it out of the park. The beer is a Dunkel Weizen, and is an extract beer brewed with specialty grains. In a 2.5 gallon batch, this is the recipe I used:

    3 lbs Breiss Dry wheat malt extract
    1 lb Crytal 120 (for color, body & some sweetness)
    Hallertauer hops (15 IBU)
    White Labs WLP300

    The beer spent 2 weeks in the primary fermenter.
    Primed w/ corn suger, aiming for 3.5 volumes CO2 in the bottle

    OG was 1.055, final gravity was 1.013

    Tasting impressions:

    Carbonation was pretty good; I went a little conservative - probably could have had more, was not as effervescent asn some Weiss biers I've had.

    Head retention: pretty poor, actually. Not sure why. I expected much better.

    Mouth feel: Not too bad, but a little on the thin side, felt a little watery

    Aroma: Nice banana nose - probably the best part of the beer!

    Taste: Lacking phenolic character I was expecting, and actuall, aside from some sweetness from the crystal malt, was kind of bland. I was expecting a little more character, and certainly more body. The two major flaws, for me, was lack of body and head retention.

    I'm probably my own worst critic... but if I were to do this again, I might do the following:

    1) Bottle sooner for this style! I'm certain this beer was ready to bottle after 7 days!
    2) More carbonation
    3) Use a different specialty grain or a mix for body and color?
    4) Reduce fermentation temp from 70 to 65 to raise phenolic character.

    I'm still happy with the result - not a complete failure, and some take-aways for the next time.

    I'd like to hear some some of your suggestions if you have any.

  10. pweis909

    pweis909 Poo-Bah (1,607) Aug 13, 2005 Wisconsin
    Supporter Subscriber

    1. The recipe. I would do this style with zero crystal malt. I know there is the temptation to add crystal just so you are doing more than boiling extract, but extract works so well for this style, IMO.
    2. On bottling sooner. Sooner could be better, but taste it before you bottle. If you detect things that shouldn't be there do not bottle yet. For example, cidery taste could be actealdehyde, butterscotchy taste could be diacetyl; yeast may clean up these compounds if you give them time. This general advice applies to any beer, although some yeasts may be more prone than others.
    3. On more carbonation: I've found the bottle priming calculators on TastyBrew.com and in beersmith to be very good.
    4. On specialty grains; see 1. Hefeweizen doesn't need any. On the other hand, maybe you want to make a dunkelweizen - a coupl ounces of carafa special and up to a quarter of a pound of caramunich is what I might consider.
    5. Reducing temp to promote phenolics over fruitiness. I use this yeast at about 64 deg, IIRC, to get the result I am after. You also might try WLP 380 which produces more phenolic over esters, I believe.
  11. Applecrew135

    Applecrew135 Initiate (48) Jul 18, 2012 Pennsylvania

    I agree on the crystal... probably should not have used it... but live and learn, right? I'm still baffled by lack of body, however. Should have had lots of body!
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