Author Topic: Lemon Wheat Ale - Recipe Advice?  (Read 1663 times)

Offline Andy Farke

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Lemon Wheat Ale - Recipe Advice?
« on: June 04, 2017, 05:46:38 PM »
Later this week, I want to brew an American wheat ale for easy summer drinking. My goals are to create something tasty and play with Lemondrop hops. I've put together a draft recipe, and was wondering if anyone had feedback or suggestions.

LEMON WHEAT ALE -- DRAFT RECIPE

4.5 lb. 2-row malt
4 lb. white wheat malt
0.3 oz. Warrior hop pellets (15.5% alpha), 60 minute boil
1 oz. Lemondrop hop pellets (6.2% alpha), 5 minute boil
1 oz. Lemondrop hop pellets (6.2% alpha), dry-hop in keg

- 152 degree infusion mash, batch sparge
- Current parameters work out to 1.045 s.g., 1.011 s.g., 23 IBU, 4 SRM, 4.3% abv

A few constraints/comments:
- I batch sparge, and don't have much interest in doing various temperature rests
- I want to keep the focus on Lemondrop hops, because I haven't brewed with them before
- I plan on using WLP320 (American Hefeweizen Ale)
- For this batch, I don't particularly care about BJCP guidelines (although I don't object to them, either)
- I'd like to keep this in the sessionable range (<5% certainly, <4.5% if possible)

And a few questions:
- For those who have experience with Lemondrop hops, is it worth bolstering the citrus with some lemon extract? (I have a decent bit of homemade extract)
- I have been going back on forth on whether to use flaked wheat for some portion of the grain bill in place of wheat malt.
- 2-row or pilsner malt? I have both on hand.
- Other grains or hops I should consider? I have a decent stash, but also don't want to cover up the Lemondrop (part of my goal, of course, is to learn what that variety is like).
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Offline erockrph

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Re: Lemon Wheat Ale - Recipe Advice?
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2017, 05:57:24 PM »
I think it depends on how strong you want the lemon character to be. Lemondrop is pretty citrusy for a hop, but it still tastes like hops, if that makes sense. If you want the hops to be the primary focus, then leave it as-is. If you want it to be even more lemon-forward, then add the zest of a lemon or use your extract.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Lemon Wheat Ale - Recipe Advice?
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2017, 06:03:42 PM »
Sounds good to me. As for the extract, go with what sounds good to you - if a little more hoppiness is ok, you could bump up the late hops. If you don't want the beer to be more hoppy but want more lemon character, a little extract would bolster the lemon. To be clear, Lemon Drop hops IMO aren't a big lemon bomb. They're citrusy in a general way, a little pine, with some lemon character. Nice medium alpha hop.
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Offline mabrungard

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Re: Lemon Wheat Ale - Recipe Advice?
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2017, 06:16:53 PM »
I make a nice apricot wheat that has high appeal with consumers.

Of course, the recipe uses a significant percentage of wheat malt like your recipe does. I've vacillated between Pils and Pale malt and have finally settled on the slightly sweeter and softer notes from the Pils malt.

While your proposed bittering isn't very high, I do use a lesser bittering level in the range of 12 to 15 IBUs. To help provide balance, I acidify the finished beer with lactic acid to a pH of about 4.1. That level is just a bit lower than typical ale yeast will take a beer and it certainly helps make the beer crisp and lively. Of course, its imperative to make sure the wort pH is in the proper 5.2 to 5.4 range to avoid other brewing problems.

Lemondrop has a pretty strong and notable flavor and I'm not sure that you'll want to hop this beer that heavily, but its worth a try. I've never used lemon extract, so there is no help here. I have zested a few beers and that can be effective when added at flame out.

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Offline Andy Farke

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Re: Lemon Wheat Ale - Recipe Advice?
« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2017, 10:04:24 PM »
Thank you, all! So I think I've come to the following decisions, based on the feedback:

1) I'll see what happens with pilsner, rather than using 2-row.
2) I'll just use the hops, and only add the lemon extract in the keg if I feel like it needs it.
3) Most everything else will stay the same.

Hoping to brew this later this week...
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Offline erockrph

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Re: Lemon Wheat Ale - Recipe Advice?
« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2017, 03:13:34 AM »
Sounds like a solid plan

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Offline DockDogsBeer

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Re: Lemon Wheat Ale - Recipe Advice?
« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2017, 01:09:02 PM »
Looks like a solid recipe and plan. I have done the same exact thing a few times lately (American Wheat with new hop varieties). Personally, I do 4# 2-Row, 5# White Wheat, 0.5# Flaked Wheat, and then some acid malt to help mash pH. A couple things I would recommend:

- Skip any extra extract additions. They always taste fake to me - if you think it needs more lemon flavor, you can always serve with a slice of lemon.
- Push that 5 minute hop addition back to flameout. Or chill to 185F and then add the hops, letting them steep for 10-15 min. That way you're not boiling off any of the hop flavor.

My favorite batch lately used the Experimental Lemon Zest hops from Yakima Valley - tons of citrus. It would be interesting to try to blend the two varieties and see what happens, but since you're just looking to test out the Lemon Drop hops, I would stick with that.
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Offline Andy Farke

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Re: Lemon Wheat Ale - Recipe Advice?
« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2017, 04:50:41 PM »
Looks like a solid recipe and plan. I have done the same exact thing a few times lately (American Wheat with new hop varieties). Personally, I do 4# 2-Row, 5# White Wheat, 0.5# Flaked Wheat, and then some acid malt to help mash pH. A couple things I would recommend:

- Skip any extra extract additions. They always taste fake to me - if you think it needs more lemon flavor, you can always serve with a slice of lemon.
- Push that 5 minute hop addition back to flameout. Or chill to 185F and then add the hops, letting them steep for 10-15 min. That way you're not boiling off any of the hop flavor.

Thank you for the feedback!

I've been going back and forth on flaked wheat...still straddling the fence. Are you adding it mainly for body?

For extracts, I always make my own, and have had pretty good luck with them (orange, lemon, and vanilla). I agree that most of the commercial ones out there are pretty artificial in taste.

Good thoughts on hop additions. Perhaps I will do a flame-out addition and let it ride for a bit before chilling.
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Offline DockDogsBeer

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Re: Lemon Wheat Ale - Recipe Advice?
« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2017, 06:27:58 PM »
Looks like a solid recipe and plan. I have done the same exact thing a few times lately (American Wheat with new hop varieties). Personally, I do 4# 2-Row, 5# White Wheat, 0.5# Flaked Wheat, and then some acid malt to help mash pH. A couple things I would recommend:

- Skip any extra extract additions. They always taste fake to me - if you think it needs more lemon flavor, you can always serve with a slice of lemon.
- Push that 5 minute hop addition back to flameout. Or chill to 185F and then add the hops, letting them steep for 10-15 min. That way you're not boiling off any of the hop flavor.

Thank you for the feedback!

I've been going back and forth on flaked wheat...still straddling the fence. Are you adding it mainly for body?

For extracts, I always make my own, and have had pretty good luck with them (orange, lemon, and vanilla). I agree that most of the commercial ones out there are pretty artificial in taste.

Good thoughts on hop additions. Perhaps I will do a flame-out addition and let it ride for a bit before chilling.

Well in that case, go for it with the home made extract. My preference would still be to see how the beer turns out before doctoring it, since you are interested in getting a feel for the Lemon Drop hops.

I do the Flaked Wheat mainly for head retention and to help ensure that the beer doesn't clear up as quickly in the keg.
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Offline Andy Farke

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Re: Lemon Wheat Ale - Recipe Advice?
« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2017, 07:11:25 PM »
Well in that case, go for it with the home made extract. My preference would still be to see how the beer turns out before doctoring it, since you are interested in getting a feel for the Lemon Drop hops.

Absolutely!
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Offline santoch

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Re: Lemon Wheat Ale - Recipe Advice?
« Reply #10 on: June 06, 2017, 02:19:20 AM »
I'm with Martin on the Pilsner malt.
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Offline mabrungard

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Re: Lemon Wheat Ale - Recipe Advice?
« Reply #11 on: June 06, 2017, 12:14:49 PM »
I'm with Martin on the Pilsner malt.

I have to say I was disappointed that regular 2-row pale malt didn't work better since it seems more domestic or American, but my palate said that Pils and Wheat were more pleasing together.
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Offline Andy Farke

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Re: Lemon Wheat Ale - Recipe Advice?
« Reply #12 on: June 10, 2017, 04:09:21 AM »
Thank you to everyone for your advice and suggestions! It was super helpful. The final recipe ended up as follows:

- 4.5 lbs. floor-malted Bohemian pilsner malt (Weyermann)
- 4 lbs. white wheat malt (Great Western)
- 2.7 oz. rice hulls
- 0.3 oz. Warrior hop pellets (15.5% alpha), 60 minute boil
- 0.5 tsp. Fermax, 10 minute boil
- 1 oz. Lemondrop hop pellets (6.2% alpha), 15 minute steep/whirlpool
- 1 oz. Lemondrop hop pellets (6.2% alpha), dry hop in keg
- 1 pkg. American Hefeweizen Ale yeast, WLP320 (White Labs)

Depending on how the beer tastes in the keg, I _might_ add lemon extract partway through to change things up a bit, but in any case I'm definitely going to try it without first. And I'll do the lemon slice test prior...we've no shortage here in SoCal!

Full brew details are on my blog: https://andybrews.com/2017/06/09/lemondrop-wheat-ale/
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Offline GarretD

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Lemon Wheat Ale - Recipe Advice?
« Reply #13 on: July 15, 2017, 08:09:59 PM »
Wondering  how did the final product turn out? Looking to brew a similar wheat....
« Last Edit: July 15, 2017, 10:27:10 PM by GarretD »
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Offline Andy Farke

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Re: Lemon Wheat Ale - Recipe Advice?
« Reply #14 on: July 20, 2017, 05:06:24 AM »
Wondering  how did the final product turn out? Looking to brew a similar wheat....

It turned out really nice! I'm loving the beer...the base recipe is pretty fantastic, and the touch of dry hops did well too (but I think it would do just as well without). Here's my detailed evaluation: https://andybrews.com/2017/07/16/beer-tasting-lemondrop-wheat-ale/
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