Brewed: Dec 29, 2016 OG: 1.029 FG: 1.007 ABV: 2.9% IBU: 25
Bottled: Jan 21, 2017
I wouldn’t say the Polish are known for their alcoholic beverages, but I’m a sucker for an unusual beer style. I found out I could get a 10 lb bag of Weyermann’s oak smoked wheat and so I did. Six pounds of this bag is making this beer, a traditional Polish wheat beer of low alcohol and high carbonation. Typical examples would be in the 3 – 3.5% ABV range. I feel that the American tendency to up the ABV on classic beers would do a disservice to this beer due to the potentially overly-powerful character of the oak fire-dried malt. This is evident by the malt’s aroma, as it has a very savoury and unique smoke character. The remainder of the bag is being saved for a wheat wine.
The recipe is simple:
100% Oak-smoked wheat malt (Weyermann) 6.0 lbs
1.5 oz Tettnang @ 90 mins (21 AAU)
0.5 oz Tettnang @ 15 mins (4 AAU)
1 tsp CaCl
1 tsp CaCO3
1.5 tsp Gypsum
The mash was longer than usual due to longer acid and protein rests: 20 minutes at 100F, 35 minutes at 125F, then 45 minutes at 158F and a 168F mash-out. I should note I added 8oz of rice hulls which turned out to be more than enough–sparge went quickly. The boil was 120 minutes as recommended by literature I’ve read and the wort was chilled to a cool 62F and innoculated with WYeast’s Scottish ale strain (1728) for its neutral flavour and high flocculation. Fermentation took place in the wine fridge set to 58F ambient. Activity started around the 18h mark.
Jan 11, 2017 – Gravity sample at 2wks. 1.010 now, putting it at a measly 2.5% ABV and only 65% attenuation, which is surprising. I’ll give it another week but perhaps I’m just looking at a low attenuation with the all-wheat grist, which frankly would be great for a beer this small. I took a taste sample at around 1 week and it was honestly quite terrible. But now that I’ve given things a little more time, I am starting to see that it will round out into something better. It definitely has a smoked ham character that is not what I’d consider classically enjoyable. But it’s got interesting smoke complexity and it’s not overbearing thanks to the low gravity.
Jan 18, 2017 – Down to 1.007, and cleared up nicely. Still tastes like ham, though the beer is very light thanks to the low gravity. I think with some carbonation this’ll be something I can drink, but I still doubt I’d ever want to use oak smoked wheat again. I still have 4 lbs I intended to brew a savoury wheatwine with, but have shelved that idea.