Original Post: Trap Weiss
Brew Date: July 3, 2014
Tasting Date: August 11, 2014
IBUs: 20For a quick refresher: this is meant to be a hefeweizen, but we bumped up the amount of wheat to about 70% of the grist, filling out the rest with German Pilsner Malt. We pushed the gravity and IBUs just past the upper end of the BJCP guidelines and then we threw a real monkey wrench into the mix by using White Labs’ Trappist Ale yeast (AKA Chimay’s house strain). This yeast dried the beer out much more than a normal Weizen yeast and pushed some different fruit characters in the beer… well, that’s what I’m guessing, but I’ll get to that. And, by the way, all this “we” business is because I collaborated on this beer with my buddy Kory. I’m hoping to get some tasting notes from him sometime soon, but for now, you’re stuck with me.
The beer pours very hazy with a yellow-tan hue and a huge, lively and fluffy white head. In other words, it looks like a hefeweizen. Then the aroma hits and something is obviously a little bit different. It is at first bready, then the fruit comes out. There are hints of the normal banana aroma, but there is also a wider range of fruit. The peppery, spicy clove aroma is almost completely absent. Fresh, light bread and lots of fruit.Taking a sip, it is very prickly. Between the high carbonation and the extreme dryness, it comes off a bit harsh at first. It is slightly unpleasant on the tip of the tongue, but as it works its way back, the fruit comes out. As I mentioned, there is a bit of banana, but the predominant flavor is cherry. Slightly sour, like a pie cherry.
This tastes like it was fermented quite a bit warmer than I think it actually was. I know we didn’t get it cooled quite as much as I hoped and maybe those few degrees made a bigger difference than I thought. This is an enjoyable beer, but the fermentation character pushes it much further into the the Belgian wing of beer categories than I expected. I have not used this yeast before, maybe this is just what it does, but I was expecting a little less.
This tastes less like a hefeweizen and more like a lighter version of a Tripel. That bodes well for my Tripel, currently aging in the basement, but I’m afraid Kory will be disappointed as he picked Hefeweizen for the style of this beer and I pushed to use the Abbey yeast strain. I’m down to a couple sips and there is still a bit of fluffy head on this thing.Personally, Hefeweizen is not my favorite style and I think I like this more than most of those beers. A judge expecting hefeweizen would probably find this cherry pie bomb to be unacceptable, though. You’ll have to stay tuned to see if where Kory falls on this issue. While I wait, I’m going to open another and put some sausage on the grill.