Making beer is as much about taste as it is about sustenance. Beer, properly made without fillers, is like drinking a loaf of bread. It is the yield of the grain, the staff of life. What can be more basic than wheat beer?
On this edition of Me and the Homebrews, WBN chronicles the making of a Dunkelweizen, or dark wheat, beer.
Like the name implies, this beer is simple: malted wheat, malted barley, hops, water, and yeast. Nothing else.
The Argentina Cascade hops were very different from the Czech Saaz and German Spalt hops that we used last time for the Belgian Dubbel. These hops were lighter and more citrus-y in aroma.
We had a better setup this time for both brewing and cooling the wort. We brought it up off the grass and up to table height by using a pair of sawhorses and plywood. Being on the deck meant a more comfortable beer watch with the benefit of chairs close to the house.
It was still a hot August day, which meant that we needed extra help from an ice bath and our trusty wort chiller. The last 10 degrees took an agonizing 20 minutes. We had to get from 212 degrees to 68 degrees F. It still took the better part of an hour; last time I thought it only took us 40 minutes, but we didn't have the benefit of the shade this time.
One really interesting effect occured when we brought the cooled wort into the cooler basement. The fermentation lock showed that we had negative pressure in the carboy as the wort continued to cool which almost drew the lock water all the way into the beer (oh no!). However, as the temperature stabilized, and the yeast began to do its work, we now have positive pressure in the carboy, and the fermentation lock is happily bubbling away.
Five weeks to beer!