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American Wheat

Hello Everyone,

I’m looking at brewing my first AG wheat beer this weekend, NB’s American Wheat kit (4 lbs. White Wheat & 4 lbs 2-row Pale, hopped with some Willamette and Cascade - I went with Wyeast 1010 for yeast). As this is my first time brewing this style, I have a few general questions:

  1. Would this be considered a soft water beer?
  2. Would this beer benefit from a 90 minute boil?
  3. Is it true that wheat beers are better consumed earlier than later?
  4. Since wheat beers are cloudy by nature, would I want to skip any sort of gel solutions or cold crashing?
  5. I think I’ve read that some people have seen noticeable drops in efficiency with wheat beers, is this so and are there any workarounds?
  6. Any other words of wisdom?

Thanks in advance for your comments!

[quote=“Dan S”]Hello Everyone,

I’m looking at brewing my first AG wheat beer this weekend, NB’s American Wheat kit (4 lbs. White Wheat & 4 lbs 2-row Pale, hopped with some Willamette and Cascade - I went with Wyeast 1010 for yeast). As this is my first time brewing this style, I have a few general questions:

  1. Would this be considered a soft water beer?

I don’t know, wouldn’t worry about water chemistry on 1st AG

  1. Would this beer benefit from a 90 minute boil?

No, only to reduce volume.

  1. Is it true that wheat beers are better consumed earlier than later?

Yes.

  1. Since wheat beers are cloudy by nature, would I want to skip any sort of gel solutions or cold crashing?

2 weeks in the fermenter, then bottle. I’ve read that some have put 1Tbls of flour in the boil to create a permanent haze. Have not tried it myself. Will in a month or so.

  1. I think I’ve read that some people have seen noticeable drops in efficiency with wheat beers, is this so and are there any workarounds?

Have some DME on hand to add at the end of the boil. It is your 1st AG. You need 3-5 brews to find out how YOUR system works. Then you can add or subtract 2Row to make efficiency changes.

  1. Any other words of wisdom?

It’s not as difficult as you think. Have fun! 50/50 wheat beers should not cause stuck mashes. No rice hull needed.

Thanks in advance for your comments![/quote]

Thanks, Nighthawk – I’ve not heard of putting flour in the boil, but it sounds like that would definitely do the trick to create haze. I should clarify that this will be my first wheat beer since going AG back in November (I think this will be my 10th AG batch, so there’s still a fairly steep learning curve!). Thanks again for your advice.

  1. Would this be considered a soft water beer? Doesn’t matter too much although you want more chloride than sulfate. Boulevard wheat is brewed with fairly hard water.

  2. Would this beer benefit from a 90 minute boil? No need for more than 60min, as there is no pils malt. White wheat and 2-row are kilned enough to remove some DMS precursors.

  3. Is it true that wheat beers are better consumed earlier than later? Yes.

  4. Since wheat beers are cloudy by nature, would I want to skip any sort of gel solutions or cold crashing? Yes.

  5. I think I’ve read that some people have seen noticeable drops in efficiency with wheat beers, is this so and are there any workarounds? On average I tend to get a little less extract from wheat malt but it depends on the malt. If you’re going from a recipe it should work out.

  6. Any other words of wisdom? Try a wheat beer yeast next time. WB06 dry yeast gives a nice bit of spice.

Generally speaking, is the use of Whirlfloc/Irish Moss/etc. unnecessary (or maybe even harmful?) in wheat beers?

Ya there’s really no reason to use any clarifying agents assuming you like your wheat beers to be cloudy.

For some reason whet beers often turn out to be the clearest beers I make.

Also I’d consider cutting back on the hops for NB’s kit. I like an American wheat at 15IBU and no flavor/aroma additions.

[quote=“tom sawyer”]
Also I’d consider cutting back on the hops for NB’s kit. I like an American wheat at 15IBU and no flavor/aroma additions.[/quote]
Funny you should mention this – I don’t typically alter recipes I’ve never made, but after plugging this recipe into Beersmith, I decided to dial the IBUs down to 20 from 28.

I do enjoy the kits that NB puts out but sometimes wonder: Is it just me, or do others find that many of their kits are rather aggressively hopped?

Based on the fact that most kits are sent out with 1oz packets of hops, they will either be under or overly hopped.

You will often over hop with NB kits if you do not use a scale to measure the hops. They often call for less than they send. I have a zipy in the fridge with about 5 partial bags of hops due to this. Later this year I plan to do a Hop Monster to clear it all out. But yes you are correct the NB kits do very frequently come with more hops than you will be needing so technically the kits are overhopped.

Barry

[quote=“tom sawyer”]For some reason whet beers often turn out to be the clearest beers I make.
[/quote]

I was rereading the recent wheat book “Wit and wisdom of brewing with wheat” (I may be wrong about the title), but the author said your beer will stay cloudier at 15-20% wheat than it will at 50%.

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