003 Weiss President

There were several different directions I had considered for my next beer. On the one hand up until now I’ve only brewed fairly traditional recipes which are a great way to learn the basics and get comfortable with the process (something I certainly need more practice with). On the other hand, it’s tempting to start jumping into more complex recipes, a chili chocolate stout or a mango habenero IPA (yes, I want to make spicy beers). But after a few great weissbiers I’ve had recently and remembering all the great ones from our trip to Germany last summer, I’ve decided it’s the perfect beer for some summer drinking and another great traditional recipe that I can learn from. So here is my first shot at great German hefeweizen.


6 lbs German Pilsner
6 lbs German Wheat
WLP351 Bavarian Weizen Yeast
2 tsp Yeast Nutrient

1 oz Hallertau Hersbrucker (60 min)
1 oz Tettnang (15 min)
1 oz Tettnang (5 min)

Brew Day

I had planned to have a casual Saturday morning brew day and be done with this by lunch time to enjoy the rest of the weekend. Such is life, I was informed the day before that we would be out of town most of the morning and afternoon Saturday but I could be back by the late afternoon so I didn’t get started on this until 5:30PM and finished up at 10PM. I bought 8 gallons of distilled water to use this time because it makes measurement easy until I get etchings on my kettle and I’m still not 100% that the tap water we have is good enough and I was curious what it would be like with straight distilled. I brought 6 gallons to 165° and I normally do 5 so I felt 6 was pushing it. There was no overflow when I mashed in, however the temperature did not drop as much as I had hoped (I was shooting for 154° and it ended up at 158°) so I added some room temperature water to bring it down a bit and ended up overshooting at 148°. Not ideal but I put the lid on, wrapped the kettle in a blanket, and decided not to worry about it. Speaking of temperature I got a great deal on a Javelin Pro Duo and it has changed temperature readings for me. Practically instant accurate readings really do make a difference.

I did a very small batch sparge of about 1 gallon of water more to bring pre-boil volume to 7.5 gallons. My OG at this point was reading 0.41 but that will go up as the boil off happens. I used a hop spider for the first time today and I’m on the fence with it. It definitely holds back a lot of hop material, but even with just 3oz of pellets it was pretty full and I’m wondering if hop utilization will suffer as a result of the lack of activity I was seeing in it. I guess the proof will be in the beer. I was thinking it would be more useful for hoppy IPAs but frankly I don’t think this one would be big enough for the amount of hops that would go in one. I think I may revert back to just throwing everything right into the wort.

Chill down went fine. I bought 2 bags of ice this time and it still took quite awhile to come down to 80°. I decided to stop at 80, move to the fermenter, and move that down to the basement to cool a bit more since our kitchen by this point was fairly warm. As I sit here writing this 30 minutes later it’s still at 80° and I’m wondering if I just pitch the yeast or wait given that seems pretty high. The package says 68-78° so I’m pretty close. I’ll probably just pitch before going to bed here shortly. Otherwise fairly non-eventful brew day but every bit of 5 hours in the kitchen.

Fermentation and Bottling

OG reading ended up 1.047 which was a hair lower than I had wanted but still in the range. Despite the temperature never coming down below 79° I did end up pitching that night as it was getting late. By morning temperature had dropped down to 72° and after 24 hours was at 67° and I was getting both airlock activity and a dropping SG on the Tilt. I’ll be curious given I don’t have any temperature control how the esters play out here. My understanding is that you want a lower end (~60°) for more peppery/clove notes and a higher end (~80°) for more banana. I’m right around the middle and a healthy active fermentation isn’t necessarily raising the temperature much.

I ended up leaving this one for 3 weeks because life got in the way even though I had reached a FG of 1.007 in 13 days. Attenuation was really good and given the temperatures in my basement most of the fermenting was done at around 64° so curious to see how that plays out in terms of what esthers come through here. Bottling was uneventful other than that I’m trying the larger single carbonation tablets with this one mostly out of laziness and wanting to bottle this one straight from the fermenter. I got a great yield, 48 bottles, this time around. I also have decided leaving bottles to soak with PBW for a day while I go to work is the way to go, the labels slid right off and I ran them all through a sani cycle in the dishwasher and was ready to bottle it all up.


This beer pours with a strong white head that dissipates quickly. It has a straw colored haze that you would expect from a good hefeweizen. The aroma honestly leaves a lot to be desired, there’s a bit of funk there that made me think this wasn’t going to taste that great. I imagine controlling temperature to get more banana esters would help with that. Clove is definitely coming through but the aroma overpowers with, I don’t know, some kind of funk.

Despite the aroma, the taste of this beer is really great. Carbonation is high (with the drops I used you can’t really control the amount of carbonation and it was my first time using the larger single tablets so I’m glad to know they are on the higher level given it wouldn’t be great in a stout or porter). The funkiness of the aroma completely disappears when tasting and it’s a very clean clove-forward wheat beer. I think this makes for a great summer all-around beer and for my first hef it’s frankly not terrible. As always I’m interested to see what it does after another month or two in the bottle.

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