SOLO BIAB#4: Wheat is this?

SOLO BIAB#3: Wheat Is This? (Wheat Wine)

As is often the way with blogs, I imagine, I have fallen very behind with posting, but do want to try and get all the recipes up here. So, I’ll keep this fairly brief.

Wheat Wine is an unusual beer style (certainly in the UK) and something that I’ve heard tell of, but never drunk before. I needed no further incentive or encouragement to give this a go. I found a Wit Wine recipe in Radical Brewing, made a few changes here and there, especially around removing the wit-style spicing, and came up with the following:

Wheat Is This? (6l)

GRAIN
1000g Wheat
430g Pale
390g Lager
400g Brown Sugar
HOPS
25g Hallertau Hersbrucker @ 60m
20g Saaz @ 20m
30g Saaz @ 5m
YEAST
White Labs Strong Belgian Ale Yeast (WLP545)

VITAL STATISTICS
OG: 1.006
FG: 1.085
ABV: 10%
IBU: 41
SRM: 9

This was my first properly big beer and found this really useful set of advice (originally from @thornbridgedom) on high gravity brewing from the Manchester Homebrew website. Thanks to the tip-off from @mpdutton.

Following this advice, I did a 90 minute mash and shook the bucket very vigorously both immediately after pitching (having remembered to fit the lid first!) and about 24 hours later. This, plus the persistence of WLP545, did a great job of fermenting the beer.

I only did a 6l batch of this as that was all that one vial of WLP545 could comfortably handle. The plan was to treat this as a kind of hybrid between a beer and a yeast starter… the yeast cake from this beer will be washed and used to make a second batch of something similar in the future.

I’m really happy with how this is starting to taste at three months old.  Still quite hot, but I’m pretty confident that will settle down and improve in time.  I was also really pushing the gravity/volume that one vial could handle without a starter, so some more undesirable/interesting (depending on how generous you’re feeling) flavours might have come from underpitching too.

I’m really happy with this beer, though.  Tasty in it’s own right, will give birth to a full 10l batch of something similar soon and was a generally successful foray into high gravity brewing.

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