So this was the first all grain recipe I made using my new boil kettle, mashing bag and homemade wort-chiller.  Initial thoughts were that it was tainted in some way, but after a few weeks in the bottle the consensus appears to be that this is actually quite good, but a little on the weak side at 4%.

I was having a bit of fun trying a few different wheat beers / hefeweizens from local shops and I am lucky to have a local pub that has Weinhenstephaner Hefeweizen on draft (The Steamhouse), when I decided that this would be a good style to try and brew a small batch of all grain to see if I could make a stab at All Grain Brew in a Bag.

I got myself some wheat and lager malt with a little Vienna malt to mix it up a little and played around with some beer recipe sites, programmes and books (more on these another day!) to get a 13 litre batch into the fermenter:

In hindsight: my hop addition was too low because my Hallertaur was only 2% not 4%, my strike water was off temperature compared to the temp of the grain, I mashed at too high a temperature and the water to grist ratio was less than would allow for the full boil volume. This meant I had to add 3 litres or so back to the pre boiled wort. My pH was probably wrong too. Other than that – it was perfect!?

The only true success is my homemade wort-chiller…

The chill factor!
The chill factor!

This was really simple to make: I had a length of small gauge copper piping from various central heating repairs left over and coiled it round a paint can leaving one short straight inlet to the top and a longer straight outlet from the bottom. The inlet is the cold water and the outlet is the “waste” hot water. A few jubilee clips pipes and a tap connector and hey presto!

It can cool 20 litres of hot wort to 24 degrees centigrade in about 20-30 minutes. There are refinements I could make such as turning the inlets over so that it can rest on the edge of the boiler, but as a quick 30 minute project it was really easy and cools small batches really well.

After fermenting probably too hot (White Labs WLP351) and bottling I expected this to be a really estery brew. Turns out not so much. I would describe it as peppery / spicy, but it does lack banana like notes. It was also quite thin until the carbonation level improved.

If you are interested in the recipe here it is:


BeerSmith 2 Recipe Printout – http://www.beersmith.com
Recipe: Whitless Wonder
Style: Weizen/Weissbier
TYPE: All Grain
Taste: (30.0)

Recipe Specifications
Boil Size: 18.64 l
Post Boil Volume: 16.64 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 13.00 l
Bottling Volume: 10.00 l
Estimated OG: 1.061 SG
Estimated Color: 6.3 EBC
Estimated IBU: 8.4 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 91.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 112.0 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Amt           Name                                                Type          #        %/IBU
1.25 kg       Lager Malt (3.9 EBC)                                Grain         1        45.5 %
1.25 kg       Wheat Malt, Ger (3.9 EBC)                           Grain         2        45.5 %
0.25 kg       Vienna Malt (6.9 EBC)                               Grain         3        9.1 %
15.00 g       Hallertauer Hersbrucker [4.00 %] – Boil 60 minutes  Hop           4        8.4 IBUs
0.25 tsp      Irish Moss (Boil 10.0 mins)                         Fining        5        –
1.0 pkg       Bavarian Weizen Yeast (White Labs #WLP351)          Yeast         6        –

Mash Schedule: BIAB, Medium Body
Total Grain Weight: 2.75 kg
Name                Description                   Step Temperature Step Time
Saccharification    Add 20.32 l of water at 69.0  66.7 C           75 min
Mash Out            Heat to 75.6 C over 7 min     75.6 C           10 min

Sparge: If steeping, remove grains, and prepare to boil wort

Created with BeerSmith 2 – http://www.beersmith.com


Definitely a style and recipe I will try again to improve upon.

Drain Disaster

Do commercial breweries suffer the problem of backfilling drains and floods?

We had a downpour last night and the cellar suffered from an overflowing drain and flooded the floor. I spent about an hour with my other half sluicing and mopping the floor with bleach and hot water to clean it up. We’ve not had a problem like that for about 5 years but for some reason the drain was blocked and backfilled into the cellar with water.

Thankfully it was nothing really nasty, but it was definitely drain water from the smell and not the kind of thing you want hanging around in your clothes washing / brewing area.

You can guess which of these two household  activities I was most concerned with as I rushed to check that my fermenting bin was unharmed… disregarding the expensive electrical household equipment that lay in the path of the flood.

As all of my kit and ingredients are in stacked plastic tubs and the fermenting bins and barrels / bottles are one a wooden shelving unit nothing was really touched by the drain water. Crisis averted!

The floor is concrete and we managed to get the dank smell out today by opening the cellar door to the outside and putting the tumble drier on to increase the temperature a bit.

Better keep an eye on this for the future! Only glad that the cellar is not properly tanked / decorated as this would have been a very expensive problem.