Author Topic: First batch, looking for feedback  (Read 857 times)

Offline darkmorford

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First batch, looking for feedback
« on: May 10, 2011, 07:24:05 PM »
For my first batch, I brewed Midwest Supplies' 740 Raspberry Wheat extract kit using White Labs 300 Hefeweisen Ale yeast. It fermented for two weeks in primary, about 70–72 degrees the first week (while I was building a cooler) and 62–65 degrees for the second week. No secondary since I don't have a carboy yet. I bottled it and it's been carbonating right around 70 degrees for two weeks.

A couple nights ago I pulled the first bottle and placed it (along with a beer glass) in the fridge, so both the bottle and glass chilled to 35–40 degrees. I just pulled them out and poured, and the first thing I noticed was that there was very little head. (Or at least it seems small; I haven't had too many wheat beers, so I'm not sure how much head to expect.) And that head completely disappeared in just a couple of minutes. On top of that, the raspberry flavor is so faint I'm not even sure if it's actually there or if I'm imagining it. It tastes okay otherwise, but again I don't have much to compare against.

I realize that it's hard to offer feedback without being able to taste it yourself, but can anyone offer some tips as to the head retention issue at least?
« Last Edit: May 10, 2011, 07:26:34 PM by darkmorford »

Offline bluesman

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Re: First batch, looking for feedback
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2011, 07:37:48 PM »
The one thing that stands out is your fermentation schedule. I usually start my ales in the low 60's and allow them to rise on their own. Pitching your ales in the low to mid-sixties will render a cleaner less estery beer. Some beers like Saisons and other Belgians can be fermented in the 70's but for the most part I like to stay in the low to mid 60's for most of my ales.

Poor head retention can be caused by a few things one being the mashing schedule but it sounds like you brewed an extract kit. The second thing could be carbonation level. The better the carbonation typically promotes better head as long as the head building protiens are available in the beer. Highly hopped beers can also lead to better head but wheat beers are generally not so highly hopped. The last thing is dirty or soap stained glass will inhibit head formation.

Check out this article from BYO.

http://www.byo.com/stories/article/indices/35-head-retention/625-fabulous-foam
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Offline weazletoe

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Re: First batch, looking for feedback
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2011, 09:12:17 PM »
+1 for low carbonation. Goose the temp up a coupe degrees, and try it again in a week. Alos, you are really doing you and your beer a dis-service by serving it that cold, and especially chilling the glass. The reason BMC are served cold, in frosted mugs, is because tehy suck. So, get the beer cold, near freezing, and your taste buds will be numb, so you can't taste it. Ever notice how a Bud really sucks the warmer it gets? That's why.
  Try serving your beer around 42-44*, in a room temp mug, and I bet it taste better, and you might even pick up some raspberry.  ;)
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Offline thomasbarnes

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Re: First batch, looking for feedback
« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2011, 04:31:08 AM »
Try serving your beer around 42-44*, in a room temp mug, and I bet it taste better, and you might even pick up some raspberry.

A couple other things you can do to get better head and body when kit brewing:

1) Add a bit of dextrin sugar. Dextrins are unfermentable starches; they're partially responsible for perception of body and maltiness. They also help head formation and retention.

2) As you gain experience, consider using some steeping grains or even a "mini-mash" by soaking specialty grains (e.g., crystal malt) in hot (but no more than 168 F) water. It doesn't take that much extra time or equipment and expands your options as a brewer. Again, steeping some crystal malt will help with head retention/formation.

If you want more raspberry flavor, consider adding fruit, concentrate or syrup to your secondary fermenter next time around. Concentrates or whole fruits give a nicer flavor and aroma than flavorings. With a style like hefeweizen, you could even add a shot of raspberry syrup to the beer when you serve it. It's traditional with Berlinerweisse, but some Germans do this with hefeweizen, which is a much more popular style these days.