Monday, May 30, 2011

Transatlantic Threesome

I awoke early on Saturday, as is my routine, but once the dog was walked, I immediately hopped in the car to buy water for brewing. I use purified drinking water for my beer and so I was at our local Food Lion right on opening time to buy 9 one gallon bottles for the brewing session that I had planned.


The seed for the brewing session was planted last May when I did a comparative tasting of two versions of my LimeLight witbier, one fermented with my usual 3944 Belgian Wit yeast, and the other with 3942 Belgian Wheat. Using the 3942 was a case of having to use what was readily available in order to meet a deadline, and the local homebrew shops not having any 3944. When I tasted the two versions, I was struck by the difference in colour, but from the comments that followed the post, it became clear that the age of the extract was the most likely cause of the differences. I thus hatched a plan.


My plan was really very simple, brew three batches of the beer in a single day and ferment with three different yeast strains. Thankfully LimeLight is an incredibly simple recipe, because it is the only beer I brew that gets all its fermentables from dry malt extract. The recipe for each 2.5 gallon batch was as follows:
  • 3lbs Muntons Wheat DME
  • 0.5oz 3.9% Saaz hops @ 60 minutes
  • 0.25oz 3.9% Saaz hops @ 15 minutes
  • 0.5oz fresh lime peel @ 15 minutes
  • 0.5oz cracked coriander seed @ 15 minutes
  • 0.15oz dried sweet orange peel @ 15 minutes
  • 0.25oz 3.9% Saaz hops @ 1 minute
The orange was a late addition to the recipe as I had forgotten that it was in the fridge and I won't be brewing with peel again until the autumn when I make my Christmas beer.

To ensure, as much as possible, consistency across the three batches, I made sure that I followed the extract same procedure for each. The DME was added to 1.5 gallons of water, while 1 gallon was chilled in advance and put into the fermenter when required. I had played with the idea of brewing a single batch and then splitting it into the three fermenters, but my brew pot would not have been big enough. Thankfully all three brews were remarkably similar, all with an OG of 1.050 and looking like the sample below.


On the yeast front, I used:
  • 3944 Belgian Wit
  • 1010 American Wheat
  • 3068 Weihenstephan Weizen
I decided to put the fermenters in my storage room rather than in the utility room as it maintains a fairly constant 66ºF as opposed to the mid 70s. 24 hours after the yeast had been pitched, this was the sight that greeted me.


The beers are the Belgian at the back, American in the middle and German at the front. As ever I named the beers and created labels. LimeLight itself remains LimeLight, but the version with weizen yeast is called Rampenlicht, the German word for "limelight", while the American is Broadway American Witbier. The beers will stay in primary for 14 days before being bottled and left for a few weeks, being ready around the middle of July.

2 comments:

  1. Nice, we brewed a basic wheat beer for a friends wedding (he is also brewing up an IPA)

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