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Wanted: Wheat Help

My dad loves blackberry American wheat beers but does not like bitterness. I have been making him one that is 6 pounds 2-row to 5 pounds white wheat and doing a single hop addition at 60 of something I have on hand in the 5% alpha range then adding the flavor extract.

I had to dump the latest batch because it tasted like blueberry water. I hit 72% efficiency and 75% attenuation on the yeast.

I hate wheat beers and fruit wheat beers even more so I don’t care to play around with them, I just make the batches and give to my pops.

Is there a different wheat to use? I see red wheat at the store. I need to find a way to get some flavor into this thing. Any ideas why there is no malt or wheat flavor?

How many IBUs are you bittering to?

I find that 20 - 25 IBUs is a good range for fruit beers. Adding some crystal malt to the grain bill will also help to sweeten the final product, reducing the perceived bitterness and accentuating the fruit. I also like to add some citrus hops for flavoring to accentuate the fruit. I also prefer fruit puree over extracts as it provides a fuller flavor. Below is the last raspberry wheat I brewed. It is currently in the keg and is tasting great, and I dont really care for fruit beers. I will say the chicks love it.

Raspberry Wheat:
6.0 Gallons
OG - 1.058
FG - 1.013
ABV - 6.1%
IBUs - 22
Chloride/Sulfate Ratio - 1:1
Brew Haus Eff - 85%
Boil - 70 Minutes

Grain Bill:
5.00 Lbs. Weyermann Pale Wheat
4.25 Lbs. Rahr 2-Row
0.50 Lbs. Gambrinus Honey Malt
0.25 Lbs. Briess Caramel 60L

Hop Schedule:
0.50 oz. Amarillo - FWH
0.25 oz. Magnum - 60 Minutes
0.50 oz. Amarillo - 10 Minutes

Yeast: Safale US-05 @ 62°F

Mash: 155°F

Post Fermentation:
3 Lbs. Raspberry Puree

First off, something is not right here if you’re using 11 lbs of grain in a 5 gallon batch and the beer tastes like blueberry water. No way. You would have to tell us what you were doing with the crush, the mash, the boil, the fermentation, etc. Let’s go like this… someone says to me, “please make me a blackberry wheat beer”. Here is what I would do. First, make a grain bill of about 50% domestic pale malt and 50% wheat (white wheat, red wheat, it’s all the same, generally). Make one hop addition at 60 minutes (which you did) and make it around 4.5% to 5% of a clean American ale hop like Mt. Hood, Liberty, Crystal, Vanguard, etc. Also, I would keep the beer around 5% so I’m guessing 4.5 lbs of pale malt, 4.5 lbs of wheat or maybe 5 lbs of each, whatever. Make sure that the beer ferments low (like 60-65°) with an American ale yeast like 1056 or WLP001. Next, I have to be honest with you… I started brewing in 1999 and one reason was because I wanted to make various fruit-infused beers. Raspberry, Strawberry, Blackberry, Blueberry, you name it. You know what? Making beer with real fruit or puree (where natural sugars are present) is tough. My approach is to use gourmet fruit extracts that you find on the web, not at your LHBS. These things are meant for cooking and are all-natural, sugar-free and taste and smell great. Add about an ounce to secondary and see how it is. If it’s too little, add more. I just made a Raspberry Ale last weekend with pale malt, wheat, vienna, special b and some crystal malt. 1 hop addition of Liberty and also Saphir to about 5 AAUs for 60 mins. I used the special b and crystal to give it a red color (to simulate the raspberry) and when it goes to a keg, I will drop one ounce of McCormick Natural raspberry extract to the keg. This stuff smells and tastes fresh and delicious and nothing like the cough-syrupy stuff from the LHBS. Good luck on the next batch.

Same crush I always use, I don’t have the gap measured but its enough to hull and break the kernel into about 6 pieces on a single pass. I run it through twice. Batch sparged 154 degree strike for 1h and then a 176 degree for 10 mins. Overshot target SG by 0.006. Full rolling boil for 60 mins with the 1oz addition of mt hood. Gravity feed through plate chiller to temp, pitch 2L starter of a washed WLP007 culture. Ferment between 68-74 degrees 2 weeks primary, cold crash, 2 weeks secondary, FG 1.008 and stable, cold crash, rack to keg, add flavoring, force carb and bottle.

Not sure where I could have gone wrong.

I have to say, wheat doesn’t actually add much flavor of any sort to a beer. Or perhaps more accurately, the flavor is more suble than with barley malts. I spent a lot of time perfecting my raspberry wheat beer (my wife’s favorite), and I ended up constructing the grain bill such that there is very little flavor before the fruit is added. That was intentional, as it allowed the fruit to be front and center and not have to compete with other flavors. And Ken is right, using real fruit is challenging. My recipe:

4 lbs wheat malt
3.5 lbs pils malt
1/2 lb munich malt (just enough for a very suble background malty note)

1 oz Williamette 60 min
1 oz Williamette 20 min (gives a hint of earthyness)

US-05

Mash at 152, ferment 60-63F until reach final gravity, then add 4 lbs previously frozen, crushed raspberries. Leave it on the berries for a month to ensure that any bugs that might have come in with the fruit have a chance to consume everything they can prior to kegging or bottling.

Comes out nice, dry, and very refreshing with a strong upfront raspberry flavor.

SkypeRachet: You’re right… nothing in your description sounds off and I just can’t see how 11 lbs of grain in a five-gallon batch can taste like fruity water once the extract is added. Just doesn’t make sense.

Not to hijack the thread but,

RebuiltCellars: How high do you mash? Is there an issue when the natural sugars from the berries are introduced? Is there a long secondary fermentation that kicks up a small kraeusen? In the past, that situation has dried out the beer terribly so that it tastes like a wine cooler or something. I wonder if mashing higher (155, 156…) would help with that dryness. Until then, I’m sticking with natural gourmet flavorings instead.

Ken, raspberries contain 9-10% sugar, so 4 lbs provides about 6 oz sugar. And yes, that does induce a secondary fermentation that consumes all the sugar, and the beer turns out dry as a result. I mash moderately low (152) because I think the beer works better dry. I tried adding 1/2 lb of CaraHell a couple years ago because so many posters here advocated some sweetness in the final beer, and I didn’t like it as much. But that is probably just a personal preference.

Hurrah. I showed him where to by Abita Purple Haze and he really likes it, now he wants Irish Red instead! Much prefer making something that I like and already make well!

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