Honey wheat

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Honey wheat

Postby rcwebrew on Sun Dec 07, 2014 7:55 pm

Last year I made a Wheat-Rye honey beer (Wheats-up? Honey-Rye) that turned out ok, and it had no big flaws, but just didn't really do it for me. I recently got a jar of backyard 'urban' honey from a friend in Huntington Beach and decided to make that beer again but tweak it, just a bit.
I lost the Rye and reduced the wheat by half and used Crisp Maris Otter instead of 2 row. Also added a pound of Vienna because I like the color it brings. Guess tweaking wasn't the right word...

After drinking several pints of LexusChris' delicious Honey Blonde at Casitas last year I have been looking for an excuse to use Kolsche, this seemed to be a good time to do it. So, I lost the SD-superyeast and pitched WLP-029 Kolsch. Also went with NB instead of Nugget for the 60min hop. This is now a brand new beer, (hope it tastes good).

So, here is my question, what category does it go in... it does have honey, but not much and there is wheat, but only 2 pounds.
Does this still fit in the light hybrid category 6D, or with Kolsch is it 6C?? Anyone know?
If it works out, I will post the recipe. If not I will deny... :cheers:
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Re: Honey wheat

Postby lexuschris on Mon Dec 08, 2014 1:07 am

Hey Randy,

When I started brewing all-grain, I had no idea I would end up brewing so many American Wheat beers. They can be a nice crisp clean alternative to a Hefe, and go down easy all year long!

As for competition category for your brew, it is always good to try a few and see where it fits. However, in general, I would not expect any beer made with Kolsch yeast, to fit well in that 6C category, just because of the yeast. IMHO, a Kolsch gets a lot of its character from the pilsner malt, low IBU and clean fermentation.

For an American Wheat beer, I would stay in the 6D category. The crisp tang of the wheat (provided its 40%-60% of the grist) is a quality not easily missed. It doesn't belong in the 6C category. However, the bigger question in my mind is whether the honey takes it out of 6D and into 23!?!

I always put some honey in my American Wheats, so I kind of think it is fine there. However, category 23 is also suggested to include 'honey beers'.

When I entered that Blonde into competitions this year, I started off putting it in both 23 & 6B, and it seemed to do well in both. Later on, I just put into 6B and kept getting mid/high 30's. Ultimately, I did not feel the honey was of such strong character that it was the focal point, thus I kept entering it in the 6B category.

Hope that helps! :cheers:
--LexusChris
"A woman drove me to drink, and I hadn't even the courtesy to thank her." – W.C. Fields
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Re: Honey wheat

Postby rcwebrew on Mon Dec 08, 2014 1:15 pm

Thanks, It certainly does help, exactly what I was looking for! On a separate topic, I am noting a very slow start. 14 hrs in and no krausen, zero, zip. Yes a few bubbles in the blowoff tube, but this is the first lower temp ferm I've done. Started at 62 and it is now 63. Does this sound ok? Every other yeast has been rocking by now.
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Re: Honey wheat

Postby rcwebrew on Mon Dec 08, 2014 1:17 pm

By the way, grist is only 20% wheat.
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Re: Honey wheat

Postby brahn on Mon Dec 08, 2014 1:17 pm

It really comes down to how it tastes and not the recipe in terms of which category you would want to enter. Does it taste like an American Wheat, or a Kolsch, or an English Honey Wheat?

If you're looking to win a medal, my best guess without tasting it would be to enter 6B - Blonde Ale. Like Chris said, you need that pils malt character for a Kolsch. The MO and Vienna are probably going to make it too malty for American Wheat, not to mention the low percentage of wheat. I assume 2lbs isn't anywhere near 50% of the grist. Category 23 might be the best fit technically, but it would be tough to describe and I don't think it would stand out enough against the competition in that category.

If you want to do a fun experiment, enter 6B, 6D, and 23 and compare the comments you get back.
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Re: Honey wheat

Postby brahn on Mon Dec 08, 2014 1:20 pm

rcwebrew wrote:14 hrs in and no krausen, zero, zip. Yes a few bubbles in the blowoff tube, but this is the first lower temp ferm I've done. Started at 62 and it is now 63. Does this sound ok? Every other yeast has been rocking by now.


Sounds normal to me. I'm more concerned if there is significant activity in the first 12 hours. :)

How much yeast did you pitch?
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Re: Honey wheat

Postby lexuschris on Mon Dec 08, 2014 2:52 pm

brahn wrote:
rcwebrew wrote:14 hrs in and no krausen, zero, zip. Yes a few bubbles in the blowoff tube, but this is the first lower temp ferm I've done. Started at 62 and it is now 63. Does this sound ok? Every other yeast has been rocking by now.


Sounds normal to me. I'm more concerned if there is significant activity in the first 12 hours. :)

How much yeast did you pitch?


+1

--LC
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Re: Honey wheat

Postby dhempy on Mon Dec 08, 2014 3:32 pm

brahn wrote: I'm more concerned if there is significant activity in the first 12 hours. :)


That's an interesting viewpoint... with starters and repitching, I as often as not have "significant" activity in the first 12 hours. I'm presuming that you mean regular bubbles in the airlock when you say significant. I would also say that those fermentations are typically vigorous in 18-24 hours. Not to say that there aren't fermentations that start slower like rcwebrew's ... especially when starting them out on the cooler side. What in particular would you be concerned with in that situation?

IMHO seems to me that as long as you have _ANY_ activity in 24 hours it can be "normal' depending on the strain, pitching rate, and ferm temp.

All of that said, I agree with Brent that this is probably as "normal" as the rest of your fermentations are and that you just have different conditions.

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Re: Honey wheat

Postby brahn on Mon Dec 08, 2014 4:02 pm

If you're in a properly sealed system, bubbles are a good indicator. In the past I've relied on seeing krausen as well.

Most of the beer I brew, certainly any made with WLP-029, are aiming for a neutral fermentation profile. That means pitching cool and fermenting cool. Typically pitching around 60-62F with the controller set at 64F until fermentation is complete. In my experience if I'm seeing activity in less than 12 hours it's too warm or I've over pitched.

If I'm looking for some ester production, I'm probably under pitching a little to get there so I'm still looking for a longer lag phase since that's when most of the esters are going to be produced.

I wouldn't start worrying until at least 48 hours of no activity, then I'd pick up some dry yeast to pitch if there's still no activity after 72.
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Re: Honey wheat

Postby rcwebrew on Mon Dec 08, 2014 4:57 pm

Pitched 1 vial w/ 1.2L+120g DME starter. (More than BS recco.) Also hit it with O2.
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Re: Honey wheat

Postby rcwebrew on Mon Dec 08, 2014 5:08 pm

Good feedback, thanks. Yes there are bubbles, but no krausen this morning as I have experienced on all but my first couple (lame) attempts;). Yes this is my first lower temp yeast so I now feel better it is in the norm. Will post a pic when I get home and report how it looks at 24 hrs. Given the feedback I don't expect to need more yeast. Thanks!!
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Re: Honey wheat

Postby rcwebrew on Mon Dec 08, 2014 5:45 pm

@dhempy.. in general, by significant at 12 hrs, I mean at least 2 inches of krausen and the bubbler going rapid-fire. Sounds like low and slow is what this batch wants and will get. :)
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Re: Honey wheat

Postby rcwebrew on Tue Dec 09, 2014 7:23 am

Ok, didn't check it last night,but here is a shot first thing this at 32 hrs. Krausen got as high as the carboy neck and is now ~2in. Bubblin steadily. Temp held at 63. If the chamber looks familiar, it's SamIa m's old one working great. Smells good too, no sulfur yet.
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Re: Honey wheat

Postby dhempy on Tue Dec 09, 2014 9:33 am

brahn wrote:If you're in a properly sealed system, bubbles are a good indicator. In the past I've relied on seeing krausen as well.


Seems to me that in a closed system (e.g. a conical) bubbles may well be your only indicator. I only get to see evidence of Krausen once we get to cleanup ... I certainly agree with the "Krausen Indicator" test though! :happybeer:

By the looks of everything I would say you're good to go. I can only think of one time when I had a lag that went closer to 48 hours ... I had seriously underpitched a lager ... it was a nailbiter (I can be impatient!) but it turned out fine. Learned my lesson about pitching rates though. Thing was that I didn't see any bubbles at all until closer to the 48 hour mark .... I was probably too impatient to wait and see if the bubbles were just coming very slowly and didn't think to open the relief valve to see if there was any pressure.

My experience has also been that lower temps can "curtail" certain yeasts in terms of their fermentation vigor but not always (WLP-001 being a recent case in point). Also, I've used "smaller beers" to build up a yeast cake for a larger beer and have had monster ferments even when temp controlled to the cooler side of their range.

So my takeaway from this is that I can afford to be more patient ... especially when on the the cooler side of the range. I don't know if I'd ever embrace 48 hours :) but I can be trained!

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Re: Honey wheat

Postby rcwebrew on Tue Dec 09, 2014 10:28 am

Concur, I could be more patient too. My mentor at work always says "...patience is overrated!", but then he does not brew..
all us well. Will bring some in when it is done...and not before. Thanks everyone!
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