Klinkerweizen — All-Grain Hefeweizen

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A classic German hefe-weizen is an all-around balanced and refreshing beer.

Here is my “straight up” hefe-weizen recipe — everything I love about German hefe-weizens, but brewed fresh at my house. This recipe uses a decoction mash, but you can simplify it to a step infusion mash if you’d like. If you find undermodified Pilsner malt to use in the recipe, all the better.

 

Klinkerweizen

All-grain; English units

 

DESCRIPTION

A classic Munich-style hefe-weizen. The brewing methods described here are mostly traditional. A decoction mash is employed, for example. However, some steps are simplified. The beer is primed with sugar, for example, rather than Spiese (fermenting wort, usually inoculated with lager yeast). If you follow these steps, your beer’s aroma will show a balance between the clove and banana character typical in hefe-weizens. You will need to bottle this in heavy bottles, so enjoy some commercial hefe-weizens before brewday and while the beer is fermenting.

INGREDIENTS (for 5 gallons)

 

Water

Make the necessary adjustments so that the mash falls into the pH range of 5.2–5.6. You can do this by adding mineral salts, direct acidification or by adding some acidulated malt to the grist. The latter would be a traditional (Reinheitsgebot-compliant) way of accomplishing this.

Malts (for an OG of 1.053 at 70% efficiency and 5 SRM)

7.0 lbs. red wheat malt
3.0 lbs. Pilsner malt

Hops (for 20 IBUs)

Hallertau hops (20 IBUs)

1.4 oz. (at 4% alpha acids), boiled for 60 mins

Yeast (for an FG of 1.013 and 5.1% ABV)

Wyeast 3068 (Weihenstephan Wheat) or White Labs WLP300 (Hefeweizen) yeast

(1.5-qt. yeast starter)

Other
10.5 oz. corn sugar (for priming to 3.5 volumes CO2)

 

PROCEDURE
Make yeast starter 2–3 days ahead of time. Heat 3.75 gallons of water to 120 °F and combine with the crushed grains in your kettle (not your mash tun). This is a mash thickness of 1.5 qts./lb. Your mash should settle in to around 109 °F. It’s OK if it’s lower. Very slowly, over about 10 minutes, heat the mash to 113 °F. Then, heat more quickly — at about 2 degrees per minute — to 122 °F. Let this rest for 30 minutes. After letting the mash settle for a couple minutes, pull a thick decoction from the main mash, roughly one-quarter the volume of the main mash. Put the decoction in a separate pot and heat to 162 °F. Hold this for 5 minutes, then boil the decoction until the 20-minute rest in the main mash is done. (Stir the decoction constantly.) Stir the decoction back into the main mash, which should yield a temperature of 153 °F. Rest at 153 °F for 45 minutes, then heat full mash — at about 2 degrees per minute — to 162 °F. Hold for 5 minutes, then transfer the mash to your lauter tun, adding boiling water to raise temperature to 168 °F. You will need about a gallon of boiling water for this. Let mash settle for about 5 minutes, then recirculate the wort for 20 minutes. Runoff wort, sparging with hot water to collect about 6.5 gallons of wort. Boil wort for 90 minutes, adding hops with 60 minutes remaining in the boil. Chill wort, transfer to bucket fermenter and aerate thoroughly. Pitch yeast sediment from starter. Ferment at 68 °F. Once fermentation starts, remove airlock and then the bucket lid (so you don’t suck airlock liquid into the beer). Replace airlock and leave bucket lid on loosely for next 2–3 days (while fermentation is vigorous and the fermenting beer is topped with kräusen). Seal bucket again after this time.

Bottle in heavy bottles, such as 500 mL hefe-weizen bottles. (You’ll need about 40.) Siphon the beer into the dissolved sugar in your bottling bucket and stir well enough to even out the distribution of sugar. However, don’t stir so hard as to splash or otherwise aerate the beer. Keep the bottles somewhere warm (optimally between 70 °F and 75 °F) for a couple weeks while carbonation develops. Move to cold storage when a test bottle indicates the beer is fermented. As an option, you can add a teaspoon of dried lager yeast to your bottling bucket to help with bottle conditioning.

 

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Klinkerweizen

All-grain; metric units

 

INGREDIENTS (for 19 L)

 

Water

Make the necessary adjustments so that the mash falls into the pH range of 5.2–5.6. You can do this by adding mineral salts, direct acidification or by adding some acidulated malt to the grist. The latter would be a traditional (Reinheitsgebot-compliant) way of accomplishing this.

Malts (for an OG of 1.053 at 70% efficiency and 5 SRM)

3.2 kg red wheat malt
1.4 kg Pilsner malt

Hops (for 20 IBUs)

Hallertau hops (20 IBUs)

40 (at 4% alpha acids), boiled for 60 mins

Yeast (for an FG of 1.013 and 5.1% ABV)

Wyeast 3068 (Weihenstephan Wheat) or White Labs WLP300 (Hefeweizen) yeast

(1.5-qt. yeast starter)

Other
300 g corn sugar (for priming to 3.5 volumes CO2)

 

PROCEDURE
Make yeast starter 2–3 days ahead of time. Heat 14 L of water to 49 °C and combine with the crushed grains in your kettle (not your mash tun). This is a mash thickness of 3.1 L/kg. Your mash should settle in to around 43 °C. It’s OK if it’s lower. Very slowly, over about 10 minutes, heat the mash to 45 °C. Then, heat more quickly — at about 2 1 degree per minute — 50 °C. Let this rest for 30 minutes. After letting the mash settle for a couple minutes, pull a thick decoction from the main mash, roughly one-quarter the volume of the main mash. Put the decoction in a separate pot and heat to 72 °C. Hold this for 5 minutes, then boil the decoction until the 20-minute rest in the main mash is done. (Stir the decoction constantly.) Stir the decoction back into the main mash, which should yield a temperature of 67 °C. Rest at 67 °C for 45 minutes, then heat full mash — at about 1 degree per minute — to 72 °C. Hold for 5 minutes, then transfer mash to lauter tun, adding boiling water to raise temperature to 76 °C. You will need about 4 L of boiling water for this. Let mash settle for about 5 minutes, then recirculate the wort for 20 minutes. Runoff wort, sparging with hot water to collect about 24 L of wort. Boil wort for 90 minutes, adding hops with 60 minutes remaining in the boil. Chill wort to 18 °C, transfer to bucket fermenter and aerate thoroughly. Pitch yeast sediment from starter. Ferment at 20 °C. Once fermentation starts, remove airlock and then the bucket lid (so you don’t suck airlock liquid into the beer). Replace airlock and leave bucket lid on loosely for next 2–3 days (while fermentation is vigorous and the fermenting beer is topped with kräusen). Seal bucket again after this time.

Bottle in heavy bottles, such as 500 mL hefe-weizen bottles. (You’ll need about 40.) Siphon the beer into the dissolved sugar in your bottling bucket and stir well enough to even out the distribution of sugar. However, don’t stir so hard as to splash or otherwise aerate the beer. Keep the bottles somewhere warm (optimally between 21 °C and 24 °C) for a couple weeks while carbonation develops. Move to cold storage when a test bottle indicates the beer is fermented. As an option, you can add a teaspoon of dried lager yeast to your bottling bucket to help with bottle conditioning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Chris, what is the purpose for letting the bucket lid be loose during the first few days of fermentation? Is it to prevent blowoffs, or is it just kind of a standard practice for hefeweizens?

    • Chris Colby says:

      To mimic an open fermentation.

      • Hi, I used your recipe and it’s coming along nicely. Just finished the 3 days of fermentation of having the lid loose and sealed it up last night, i did a gravity reading and found it has moved along very fast I’m already at 1.014. Just wondering how long did you leave it in primary and for any advice? thanks.

        • Chris Colby says:

          I usually let primary fermentation go for 7 to 10 days. I waited until evidence of fermentation stopped, then waited 3 or 4 days before moving the beer out of the fermenter (whether to secondary or directly to bottles).

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