This post was originally going to be titled Batch 124 – Dunkelweizen (All-Grain): Step Two in the 2015 Weizen Experiment, but as I will explain, something went a bit wrong.
Similar to the Hefeweizen I made about a month earlier, the Dunkelweizen was converted from my old extract and grain recipe based on a clone recipe for Hacker-Pschorr Weisse Dark on page 152 of Beer Captured. The converted recipe consists of:
- 5.0 pounds of Pilsner Malt
- 5.0 pounds Wheat Malt
- 1.0 pound Rice Hulls
- 0.5 pounds Munich (10°)
- 0.5 pounds CaraMunich (45°)
- 1.5 ounces Chocolate Malt (350°)
- 1.5 ounces Hallertau Hops (3.8%)
- White Labs 351 (Bavarian Weizen Yeast) reused from Batch 122
My targets, based on Brew Pal, are:
- Original Gravity: 1060
- Final Gravity: 1015
- ABV: 5.8%
- 18 IBU
- 10° Lovibond
I was a little concerned after mashing and filling the brewpot. The runnings looked just too dark for a Dunkelweizen – and a heck of a lot darker than 10°!!
The real shock came when I took the gravity reading before finishing cooling the wort prior to pitching the yeast.
A full 12 points above at 81° the target. If I hit the final gravity target of 1.015, then the ABV would tip in at 7.5%
After as short stay in the chest freezer to cool the wort to yeast pitching temperature (on the hefeweizen yeast), the bucket went into the keg fridge overnight at 66°. The next morning, I had a bit of a surprise.
The initial fermentation was very active. Overnight, the airlock filled with foam and ended up spraying wort all over the inside of the kegerator.
After about three weeks, I put the bucket into the chest freezer for three more weeks before kegging and carbonating the beer. The final gravity was 1.012, putting the beer right around 8.0 percent ABV.
The taste? Well, it tasted nothing like a Dunkelweizen. It was more like a porter, with a roasty, chocolatey and a little smokey flavor, but with a silkiness that I presume came from fermenting it with the hefeweizen yeast. The carbonation was awesome, with the kind of roiling of bubbles within the glass that I usually associate with nitrogen-gassed beers.
Everyone who has tried it absolutely loves it. But I have a problem: I don’t think I can ever make it again.
After giving some thought to how my recipe went so wrong, I concluded I have two options. The first is that I will have to make it again with the same grain bill to see if the problem lies with my recipe. The second, which seems more likely to me, is that the homebrew store owner messed up my grain bill in some way I will never be able to figure out, and thus will never be able to replicate.
My habit when purchasing grains from my local homebrew store is to hand the owner a list of just the grains I need so he has something to refer to as he weighs out the grain. It seems more likely to me that he used more grain than I called for and/or used grains other than what I had on the list.
I will never know.
In the meantime, every time I pour one of these beers, while I thoroughly enjoy it, I’m sad that it may be a once in a lifetime batch that I will never have again.