And now for something a little different…

June 3rd, 2010 by The Guru

I really have no idea when or how the idea for this beer came to me. I lived with it for a long time before finally deciding I’d better brew it or go mad… With some perspective, it’s really not that weird or unusual a beer, just not on a logical radar screen…

I’ve decided recently that I am just not a big fan of wheat beers, especially true-to-style hefeweizens. I can certainly appreciate a well-made one like the one my friend Ben gave me the other day. I do like a good Belgian Witbier from time to time, and I can appreciate a wheat-based lambic or other fruit beer. But the banana/clove/bubble gum aromas and flavors of the typical weizen or weissbier just don’t do it for me. I do feel the need to brew with wheat, however, and will on occasion make what I call an “American Wheat Beer” – which is basically a Pale Ale with a substantial percentage of wheat in the mash, hopped like a West Coast ale, and using a neutral (i.e. non-fruity) ale yeast. But this one is even less like a Hefeweizen. It’s amber to reddish, with some nice roasty notes, substantial hop bitterness but little aroma, and I decided to use an Irish ale yeast just to mix things up… It will be on the light side in terms of body and alcohol, so it will be a summer beer, but because of the color and malt flavors I expect it should still be my kind of beer…

Amber Waves Red Wheat Ale

5 gallons, all-grain

Ingredients:

  • 4 lbs. lager malt
  • 2 lbs. dark wheat malt
  • 1 lb. light wheat malt
  • 1/2 lb. 120°L crystal malt
  • 1 oz. roasted barley
  • 1 oz. Styrian Goldings hop pellets (@ 7.0% aa)
  • 1 oz. Cascades hop pellets (@ 7.3% aa)
  • White Labs Irish Ale yeast (WLP004)
  • 3/4 cup corn sugar (for priming)

Procedure: Crush grains. Heat 14 quarts water to 165°F. Mash in grains and hold at 154°F for 60 minutes. Heat another 14 quarts to 170°F, begin runoff and sparge. Collect 26 quarts sweet wort. Bring to boil, add Styrian Goldings hops. Boil 75 minutes, add Cascades hops. Boil 15 more minutes (90 total), remove from heat. Chill to 80°F, take hydrometer reading. Pour into a sanitized fermenter, splashing well to aerate. Add yeast, seal and ferment at 70°F for 8 – 10 days. Rack to secondary, age 10 – 14 days at 65°F. Prime with corn sugar, bottle and condition 10 – 14 days.

OG: 1050

IBU’s: 40.6

Notes on style: There are none, as this is something I made up. Well, there are dark wheat beers and amber ales with wheat in them, but not like mine… I expect this will be like a medium-bodied “amber ale”, whatever that is, with a slightly breadier/more cracker-like malt profile… not much hop aroma, more focus on the malt in general…

Notes on brewing: Wanting to get a dryer, less full-bodied beer, I went with a higher mash temp than I usually do, as well as a shorter mash and a bit thinner consistency…

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