I am writing this on Tuesday night. With that in mind, I will now tell you what I’m planning to do on Wednesday and Thursday with the understanding that a lot of that will have changed by Saturday, when this will be posted. Okay, so anyway…
My buddy, Kory is coming with to the cabin this weekend. He joined me on brew day for a couple of early extract batches but hasn’t been around for anything since I’ve started mashing. We’ve been meaning to work this out for a long time, but this week is our first opportunity. We are both off on Thursday while Amy has to work. When she gets home, around 1:00 PM, we are leaving for the weekend. Before that, we are going to brew a beer.
I asked Kory if he had any styles in mind for the historic brew session. His first idea was a hefeweizen. Considering the season, it seemed appropriate. I’ve mentioned that I recently read Brew Like a Monk and plan to do some abbey beers soon, though and I decided that we could probably work these two ideas together.
Last week I had Kory over so we could discuss our ideas for the beer. For someone who is usually brimming with ridiculous ideas, he was surprisingly mum that night, so I had to take over. My big idea was to use a Belgian yeast. Something that I could harvest to re-pitch for my planned Tripel. I decided, after much deliberation, that I wanted to go with Chimay’s yeast.
The two yeast that are commonly cited for this beer are the aforementioned Chimay and the obvious choice, Westmalle. Westmalle created the Tripel style and is, for most people, the gold standard. Chimay’s yeast, though, is supposed to be fruitier, as opposed to Westmalle’s spiciness. As I said, it took a lot of internal debate, but I eventually decided that between the two beers, hefeweizen and tripel, I would prefer more fruitiness.
I also, admittedly, thought that the name recognition of Chimay would be more exciting for Kory. Beyond both of those things, I’ve also heard that the Chimay strain is a real workhorse that will finish any job your throw at it. Since we are leaving for the cabin for a few days immediately upon finishing brewing, that is also very important. I won’t be around to check in, so I need to be confident that I’m not going to come home to a sweet, under fermented wort.
My next idea was to use a whole lot more wheat than normal. I’m not sure what percentage of most German hefeweizen grists are wheat, but most homebrew recipe’s I’ve seen are around half and half with Pilsner malt. I’ve always heard that they should be at least half wheat and that many are more, but recipes don’t usually seem to go much higher. I decided to bump it to 70% just to see what would happen.
The obvious result could be a stuck sparge. Hopefully that doesn’t happen, because we will be in a bit of a hurry. I will, of course add rice hulls, hopefully that is enough. To save time, I’m hoping to try a method I’ve heard of but never attempted. If we have time, I’d like to mash Wednesday night, collect the wort and hold it overnight to brew Thursday morning. I’ve heard that this works well if you don’t leave too much time in between mashing and brewing. If we do have time to mash Wednesday, it will be late and either way, we will be starting early on Thursday, so that should not be a problem.
How will this all work out? Or more accurately, by the time you’re reading this, how did this all work out? I don’t know, but I will update next week about both the brew day, and where fermentation is at by the time I get home from the cabin.
Trap Weiss (TBD)
Style: 15A. Weizen/Weissbier
Brew Date: July 3, 2014
Serve Date: August, 2015
Approximate ABV: 5.2%
IBUs: 20 IBUs
70% White Wheat
30% German Pilsner
1 oz Tettnang @ 60 min
1 oz Hersbucker @ 20 min
White Labs 500: Trappist Ale (Chimay)