Author Topic: Recreating the Past  (Read 881 times)

Offline gogreen437

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Recreating the Past
« on: May 07, 2013, 07:10:33 AM »
The first beer I ever drank that wasn't a BMC offering was Bert Grant's Hefeweizen.  In retrospect it was pretty middle of the road, and certainly more a Hefeweizen in the mold of Widmer than anything from Germany.  Still, I loved that beer.  Since it was my first and I can no longer buy it, it has achieved Holy Grail status for me in my beer world.  So why not brew it?

I did some research starting with Bert Grant's "The Ale Master" and poking around on line.  From what he wrote about the beer, they used 30% wheat malt and packaged with a Bavarian yeast strain.  I know that they used North American 2 Row as the base malt for most of their beers and I doubt as though that would have been different in the case of the Hefeweizen, so my basic starting point is 70% North American 2 Row and 30% malted wheat.  Their house yeast was an English strain, I know that.  When Grant wrote of his Scottish ale he described it as having a distinct "butterscotch flavor" in a positive manner.  The commercial description of the Hefeweizen also states that there are "hints of butter" in the flavor.  So from my understanding, diacetyl was not an automatic fault for Grant.  Another known fact is that he loved Cascade and again in the commercial description of the Hefeweizen cascade is mentioned.  Finally, according to Ratebeer, the ABV was 4.2%.  Given these items, this is my rough recipe so far with my ensuing questions below:

Grain
7.3 lb North American 2 Row
3 lb Malted Wheat

Hops
1 oz. Cascade (~6 AA) 60 mins
0.5 oz. Cascade (~6 AA) flame out

Potential Primary Yeast Candidates:
Wyeast 1187 Ringwood Ale
WLP 005 British Ale
WLP 004 Irish Ale

Bottling (??) Yeast:
WLP 300 Hefeweizen Yeast

For anyone who remembers this beer, has some knowledge of it, or maybe just some good insights, here are my questions:

1) Does the grain bill look about right, or do you think some Munich or light crystal or something of that nature was used?

2) I know Ringwood is known for diacetyl, but would I be getting more than I bargained for?  The Irish Ale yeast from white labs is described as creating a "hint of diacetyl" and fruitiness, but it is most often used for stouts....I'm a little lost here.

3) Is it smart to just dump a vial of the Hefeweizen yeast in my bottling bucket?  Especially with the high flocculation rate of a yeast like Ringwood and maybe some under attenuation going on?  Would it be better to pitch this 3 or so days into fermentation?  Or rack to a secondary when it is near it's final gravity and add the yeast then?

Any and all insight/comments/suggestions are appreciated.   
« Last Edit: May 07, 2013, 07:14:48 AM by gogreen437 »

Online a10t2

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Re: Recreating the Past
« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2013, 10:03:22 AM »
I haven't had the beer, so take this with a grain of salt, but I can't imagine that recipe would taste anything like a hefeweizen, or even an American wheat a la Widmer. I'd try a weizen strain for the primary yeast first and go from there. Maybe start with a hybrid like Wyeast 1010 if you think the weizen strain is going to be too much.

Logically, I just can't imagine a brewer keeping a highly specialized strain like that and using it just for bottling. Was the beer bottle-conditioned, or force-carbonated?

Edit: I misread "Bavarian yeast strain" as "Bavarian wheat strain". It could be a lager yeast. That would help to explain a little diacetyl too.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2013, 12:48:03 PM by a10t2 »
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Offline denny

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Re: Recreating the Past
« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2013, 10:05:50 AM »
It's been a long, long time, but I would swear that Grant's didn't have any traditional hefe flavor to it.  In addition, as long ago and primitive as it was, I agree with Sean that it's really unlikely they'd use a different strain for bottling.
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Offline jeffy

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Re: Recreating the Past
« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2013, 12:04:39 PM »
It did not use a hefe yeast.  It was very clean.  I don't think it was bottle-conditioned, but I don't remember for sure.
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Offline gogreen437

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Re: Recreating the Past
« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2013, 05:42:45 PM »
I haven't had the beer, so take this with a grain of salt, but I can't imagine that recipe would taste anything like a hefeweizen, or even an American wheat a la Widmer. I'd try a weizen strain for the primary yeast first and go from there. Maybe start with a hybrid like Wyeast 1010 if you think the weizen strain is going to be too much.

Logically, I just can't imagine a brewer keeping a highly specialized strain like that and using it just for bottling. Was the beer bottle-conditioned, or force-carbonated?

Edit: I misread "Bavarian yeast strain" as "Bavarian wheat strain". It could be a lager yeast. That would help to explain a little diacetyl too.

To quote from "The Ale Master":  "The cloudiness comes from a second, Bavarian yeast strain that we add after primary fermentation."  So I recalled incorrectly that it was added at packaging, but he states later that the secondary yeast "remains in the bottle or keg." I don't believe it was bottle conditioned, but the hefeweizen was unfiltered, unlike his other ales. Again, he does not state what the primary yeast used was, but it is clear that a Bavarian strain was used after primary fermentation.  I assume they used their house yeast, which was an English strain for the primary. 

I don't remember much (none really) of banana, clove, or bubblegum flavor.  And since it was added after primary, and seemingly just to enhance the cloudiness, that is likely why.   But I don't remember it being quite as clean as other American Wheats.  Either way I think I sort of answered one of my questions as when to add it.  I believe I'll rack to a secondary and add it then once primary is largely complete.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2013, 05:47:17 PM by gogreen437 »