Brewing Hefeweizen Beer, Part I

“Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.”

-Benjamin Franklin

Today, one day after the 75th anniversary of Repeal Day, I am brewing five gallons of Hefeweizen beer. According to the Beer Advocate, Hefeweizen is

A south German style of wheat beer (weissbier) made with a typical ratio of 50:50, or even higher, wheat. A yeast that produces a unique phenolic flavors of banana and cloves with an often dry and tart edge, some spiciness, bubblegum or notes of apples. Little hop bitterness, and a moderate level of alcohol. The “Hefe” prefix means “with yeast”, hence the beers unfiltered and cloudy appearance. Poured into a traditional Weizen glass, the Hefeweizen can be one sexy looking beer.

I bought a hefeweizen kit from Austin Homebrewers that came with the yeast, grain, malt, and hops. I sanitized all of my equipment, set everything on our counter, then heated 2 1/2 gallons of water to approximately 155 degrees Fahrenheit in my stockpot.

The Starting Inventory
The Starting Inventory

Once the water reached that temp, I turned off the burner and  placed a muslin bag containing the grains in it, much like a teabag, for 15 minutes.The grain bag, if you are interested contained 1/2 pound of crushed carapils, and 1/2 pound of German pilsner.

Steeping the Grain Bag
Steeping the Grain Bag

Tragedy: right after steeping the grains, I accidentally knocked my hydrometer and thermometer off the counter, shattering both of them! I will be brewing blind for the rest of the morning, now. Too late to stop, too, since I am already soaking the grains.

After steeping for 15 minutes (and sweeping up all of the glass!), I lifted the grain bag, letting the remainder of the water drip back into the pot. I then discarded it (into the worm bin!), covered the pot, and turned the burner on until the water reached its boiling point. Once there was a rolling boil, I placed the stockpot on a cold burner and added 7 pounds of liquid malt.

Adding the Malt
Adding the Malt

I stirred the malt in, placed the stockpot back on the hot burner, and continued stirring until the malt had dissolved. Once the water reached a rolling boil once again, I added the bittering hops (3/4 ounces of spalt), and continued boiling and stirring for 55 more minutes. I then added the finishing hops (1/4 ounces spalt), and continued boiling the wort for five more minutes.

At the end of the hour I transferred the stockpot into my sink, which I had just filled with ice and icewater (bottom left). Additionally, I placed two more bags of ice around the stockpot to cool it. Ideally, I would like to get a wort chiller (bottom right) to make this process a bit smoother.

Ghetto and High Rent
Wort Chilling: Ghetto and High Rent

Once it had cooled sufficiently, I poured the wort into the primary fermenter, where it joined 2 3/4 gallons of water already in place.

Pouring the Wort
Pouring the Wort

I stirred the wort into the fresh water, and then added my vial of Wyeast liquid yeast (Weihenstephan Weizen 3068). Last night I took the yeast out of the fridge so that it would be active. Once added, I stirred it in, also.

Adding the Yeast
Adding the Yeast

I then covered the primary fermenter, placed a bung and airlock on it, and put it in the basement, right next to my pumpkin wine.

Fermenting in the Basement!
Fermenting in the Basement!

In about seven days (I will use time instead of measurements, since I broke all of my measuring devices, brewing blind I tell ya!) I will rack this into the secondary fermenter, so stay tuned. Also, I ordered a new thermometer/hydrometer set from Austin Homebrewing, which I will take better care of than my previous set!


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4 thoughts on “Brewing Hefeweizen Beer, Part I

  1. Thanks, syn; I am going to put it straight into a keg in about 4 days, and not use any priming sugars; it will be a true hefeweizen, German-style brewing! Keep tuning in, you will see it from start to finish,

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