Author Topic: Eric Warner's "German Wheat Beer" and wheat brewing techniques  (Read 3778 times)

Offline nateo

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I read Warner's book last night, and I had a few questions. I know people say that parts of the book are outdated. Is it outdated because malt quality is better today? Which parts, in particular, should I ignore? Can any of the advice be used to brew better beer?

This passage jumped out at me, because my malt's S/T is 34%: "The most intensive mash program commonly used for brewing a Weissbier is the double decoction mash. This mash program is chosen for malts that not highly modified, particularly if the degree of soluble protein is less than 36%. . ."

He also recommends an extended boil (90-120min+) because of the higher level of coagulable protein.

The way I've been brewing my wheat beers: I dough-in around 100*, keeping the barley separate from the wheat. Through direct heat, I raise the temp of the wheat portion to 120-130*, hold for 15-20min, raise to a saccharification temp of 150*-ish for 15-20min, then bring to a boil for 10-15min. I then add that portion to the barley portion, and the temp will hit around 150*. I let that rest for 30-45min, then start to vorlauf and lauter. I generally use a 60min boil for the wort.

I've tried doing single infusions with this malt, but in large amounts it gets really gummy and my sparges stick. My batch efficiency is also really poor (around 60%) when using a single infusion.

Using the above-mentioned method, I can brew with around 55-60% wheat malt, and my sparges are slow but they don't tend to get stuck, and batch efficiency is around 70%.

Here are the specs for my wheat malt:
Fine/Coarse - 78.5/77.1
DP - 188
Total protein - 15.24
Soluble protein - 5.2
S/T - 34.12
Mealy/Half/Glassy - 90/10/0
pH - 6.1

So, any thoughts?
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Offline majorvices

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Re: Eric Warner's "German Wheat Beer" and wheat brewing techniques
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2012, 01:55:05 PM »
My thoughts are, I don't think that book is outdated at all. It is a thoroughly written book on the process of brewing traditional german wheat beers. It's also probably the best book in the series, along with his Kolsch book. The bock book is pretty great too.

That said, I do believe you can single infuse hefeweizens (or any wheat beers) but you might have problems with a gummy mash if you don't break down the beta glucans. It's not as much of a problem for homebrewers with a 10-20 lbs mash, obviously and can be worth the risk of simplicity by simply doing a single infusion. I do personally think the beers tastes better with a step mash (starting with ferulic acid rest) and double decoction though.

Offline tomsawyer

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Re: Eric Warner's "German Wheat Beer" and wheat brewing techniques
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2012, 03:12:58 PM »
I've done hefes several ways and a step mash or decoction does give me a 5% boost to efficiency, but it also results in a higher FG.  More body is nice in this style though.  I havne't done protein rests on these, not sure it'd be productive and I want cloudy beer anyway.  I fight my way through the extra wheat protein, I do have to rake the mash and the occasional stuck sparge.  Theres a lot of break in the kettle.  Don't know that more than a 90min boil is needed but I do leave more trub in the kettle so the brewhouse efficiency takes  a bit of a hit.  You just adjust the recipe to account for that as well.
Lennie
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Offline mabrungard

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Re: Eric Warner's "German Wheat Beer" and wheat brewing techniques
« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2012, 12:48:12 AM »
I think Warner's writings are still applicable to large degree.  His German Wheat book is one of my favorites. 

For a Hefe, a Ferulic mash rest is imperative to give you a chance at good clove character.  A single infusion mash isn't going to give your beer this.  I also think its imperative that either infusions or decoctions be used to step the mash temperature up quickly to the sacharification range.  Trying to ramp the mash temp up with RIMS, HERMS, or direct heat is going to leave the mash in the head-killing range (130F's) for too long.

I don't really buy the need to extend the boil time as long as he suggests.  This is a wheat beer and coagulating extra proteins doesn't seem like a worthwhile goal. 
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Offline majorvices

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Re: Eric Warner's "German Wheat Beer" and wheat brewing techniques
« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2012, 01:51:22 AM »
I havne't done protein rests on these, not sure it'd be productive and I want cloudy beer anyway.

A protein rest, or more specifically in this case, a protease rest, isn't necesssarilly for beer clarity but also to break down beta-glucans that make sparging/lautering less gummy and less likely to clog.

Offline bo

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Re: Eric Warner's "German Wheat Beer" and wheat brewing techniques
« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2012, 02:04:35 AM »
I'm really burned out on wheat beers, but I think a single infusion will work just fine for you. That's what I always did.

Offline tomsawyer

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Re: Eric Warner's "German Wheat Beer" and wheat brewing techniques
« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2012, 09:20:38 PM »
I really haven't had all that many problems lautering my hefes.  I do rake quite a bit to keep the protein from clogging the top of the grist.  And I seem to get adequate clove character without the ferulic acid rest.
Lennie
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Eric Warner's "German Wheat Beer" and wheat brewing techniques
« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2012, 12:20:52 AM »
I had problems every once in a while but usually the lauter went without a hitch. I think there is something to the ferulic acid rest, but I think yeast choice is way more important. As I said above a single infusion works very well. It's what I usually use.

Offline nateo

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Re: Eric Warner's "German Wheat Beer" and wheat brewing techniques
« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2012, 05:13:50 PM »
I think I'll try Warner's way, just for kicks. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. I think my wheat malt is suitably old-fashioned for the mashing schedule he recommends. If nothing else, it'll convince me that it's not worth it, and I'll happily do single-infusions once this bag of malt is used up.
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