Weissbier aka “The Fritz”

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This beer started a while back when I had some of Urban Chestnut’s Schnickelfritz, which is a tasty example of a Bavarian Weissbier.  I liked it so much I cultured the yeast from it and set about to make my own.  Weissbier is a refreshing, pale, concoction consisting of mainly barley and wheat malt.  It’s one of those beers that gets its character from the yeast and this yeast (which is a proprietary strain according to the folks at Urban Chestnut, who were kind enough to reply to my inquiries) is supposed to impart some clove/banana/vanilla/bubble gum flavors and aromas.  I’m excited to see what I end up with!

I started with a simple recipe:

Simplicity often makes the best beer in my experience.  The brew day went smoothly despite my concern over a stuck sparge due to the high percentage of wheat in the grist.  Collected 2.75 gallons of very pale, tasty looking wort.  Cranked the heat and boiled for an hour, adding hops at the indicated times.

I hit my predicted OG on the dot and pitched a 400 mL starter of cultured yeast that I grew up from an agar slant.  Of course you don’t have to go through the trouble of culturing a yeast strain from a commercial example if you don’t want to, there are several strains available today from Wyeast (3068 is a popular one) or White Labs (WLP300 is supposed to be the same as the Wyeast Strain).

Fermentation was pretty vigorous after 24 hours.  I had some concerns about what I was going to do if the krausen decided to reach the lid of the Mr. Beer LBK, but it didn’t quite get that far.  Fermentation hovered around 68 degrees F and took about 3 weeks before the krausen finally fell.  I took a sample and it read at 1.009 SG with the hydrometer, not too shabby.  The beer had a slight banana aroma, but not much clove or spice.  It tasted a little tart, but balanced.

Bottled 2 gallons with 51.19 grams of table sugar (aiming for 2.7 volumes CO2.  It’s currently bottle conditioning so we’ll see in another week how it turns out.  Prost!

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