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Thursday, March 23, 2017

March Brew of the Month: Mark's Weizenbock

By Mark Iacopelli

Raise your steins to spring! For this month’s brew I decided to do a Weizenbock. I must confess that I was hesitant to brew this beer as I am not a personal fan of many wheat beers or the banana esters found in many german ales. For this reason, this was only my second brew in my years of brewing that is German in origin (the first was a failed Berliner Weisse). That being said the point of homebrewing oftentimes is the ability to brew to one's personal tastes, and this was an opportunity to create a German wheat beer that conforms to what I enjoy.

The recipe design started with my selection of yeast. Yeast character often is the defining feature of German ales, but as I previously stated I try to avoid the banana esters. After reading the descriptions on a number of yeast strains I chose WLP351. This strain is more dominated by its spicy clove character and has little banana. I also fermented cooler in order to restrain the yeast’s ester production for a cleaner-tasting beer. The malt bill was fairly straight forward with some dark wheat at the center, munich for added maltiness, and pilsner malt to aid in starch conversion. I also splashed in a little Carafa I to darken things up and give final product a slight reddish hue. Lastly, traditional Northern Brewer hops were used late in the boil to accentuate the spiciness I expected from the yeast I choose.

The appearance on this beer is a medium brown with ruby highlights, clarity has a slight haze, and the head is pillowy cream colored with medium retention. The nose is bready and slightly sweet from the munich malt and spicy clove from the yeast. With the first sip you get bread and clove flavors that fade away to more subtle notes of vanilla, nougat and banana. The finish is medium dry with a lingering clove. Despite its alcohol strength it is not hot or boozy. This recipe was designed to try to bridge the rich maltiness of winter brews and more bright flavors of spring and summer. I feel this beer does meet those expectations.

The final result is a german wheat beer that fits my current taste, and I am very happy with it. I hope that this article will serve as a reminder that as a homebrewer we don’t have to accept beer the way it is served to us commercially, and we have the ability to create beers uniquely designed for us personally. This beer would pair well with steak and mushrooms or a spicy German sausage on a pretzel bun. It is strong enough to keep the last bit of winter chill away and bright in flavor for your next grill out. Cheers!

Vital Statistics OG: 1.072, FG: 1.015, IBUs: 19.6, SRM: 16.6, ABV: 7.5

All Grain Brewing ($30.61)

    • 6 lbs Weyermann Dark Wheat
    • 5 lbs Avangard Pilsner Malt
    • 2.25 lbs Pilot Munich
    • .25 lbs Carafa I
    • 1.5 lbs Rice Hulls
    • 1oz Northern Brewer 8.50%AA (30 mins)
    • 1oz Northern Brewer 8.50%AA (0 Mins)
    • WLP 351 Bavarian Weizen Yeast or Lallemand Munuch

Extract Brewing ($39.66)

    • 9.75 lbs Wheat Liquid Malt
    • 1.5 lbs Amber Liquid Malt
    • .25 lbs Carafa I
    • 1oz Northern Brewer 8.50%AA (30 mins)
    • 1oz Northern Brewer 8.50%AA (0 Mins)
    • WLP 351 Bavarian Weizen Yeast or Lallemand Munuch
The staff at Siciliano's is always eager to answer your homebrewing questions. Stop by for help developing custom-made recipes like this one!

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