Tag Archives: nelson sauvin

Hoppy American Wheat

Drinking outside is always better.

I’ve been doing malt focused lagers and ales over the past few months. With Spring right around the corner I felt it was about time to get some hoppy beers on the brewing schedule. I had a leftover Brooklyn Homebrew Hefeweizen beer kit that I picked up a while back, so I decided to leave the grain bill pretty much the same, ferment with neutral ale strain at cooler temps, and dump a buttload of hops into it. It has received quite a reaction from tasters over the past month so I thought I’d post some tasting notes.

Appearance. Cloudy bright yellow with a dense rocky head that lasts forever from the use of 50% wheat malt. Wheat is a wonderful contribution to any beer in my opinion.

Smell. Bright citrus peel, grapefruit, tropical notes of mango and papaya and a background spicy note. Lemon meringue pie also comes to mind. Aroma is still jumping out of the glass after six weeks in the keg thanks to an unusually large dry hopping.

Taste and Mouthfeel. Bold bracing bitterness up front and not quite enough malt behind it to back it up. I added a small bit of melanoidin malt to replace my normal decoction mash schedule that I would do for a hefeweizen. Mouthfeel could be fuller to balance the hops, but I think next iteration I will opt for low crystal malts instead of the melanoidin malt like carapils of carahell, mostly because I keep those around for other beers. There is a minerally edge to the bitterness, probably due to the IPA-like dosing of gypsum in order to bring out the hop perception. There is a spiciness that I believe is coming from the dry hop NZ Rakau that seems a bit out of place to me.

Overall Impressions. This is a really great beer. Super refreshing, hoppy, and goes down easy for when Spring (finally) comes around. I think for my next iteration, I might reduce the bittering charge and lower the amount of gypsum and CaCl to try to eliminate the mineral/chalk taste on the tongue. I will also leave out the Rakau to possibly eliminate the spicy note (I believe I only used it because I had it set aside with the Nelson Sauvin for another beer) but other than those few things, this beer is going into the brewing schedule rotation.

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Wedding Favored.

Things have been pretty busy (or I’ve been generally blog lazy) around here.  This Spring/Summer seems to be the year of weddings.  Several of my friends are getting married, and I am too (!!!).  For my great friends, Justin and Nicole, who got married this past weekend, I brewed an American/Belgian style tripel I named  the “Tripel Entendre”, which they handed out as wedding favors.  It was a pretty simple blended grain bill of German and Belgian pilsner malt and a dose of table sugar.  I used Wyeast 3787 Trappist High Gravity mostly because of my love for Capt. Lawrence’s Xtra Gold which uses that yeast as well.  I was going to do a clone of that beer for these wedding favors, but where’s the fun in safety? Instead I hopped it with all Nelson Sauvin to give it a white wine type flavor, hoping that this beer will remind people of celebratory champagne.  The idea was to have guests age this beer for one year and consume it on Justin and Nicole’s first wedding anniversary.

The extra fun part was bottling all four cases of beer (this was a 10 gallon batch).  One carboy finished at 1.012 and the other finished at 1.010, so I blended them together for consistency.  The two different finishing gravities was the result of heating one carboy at a time with a fermwrap heater to try to finish fermentation.  I realized doing them separately would take too long for the impending wedding deadline, so I found a boiler room in the basement which was a nice even 75F and put them both in there.  Once they were done, I boiled my priming sugar in two separate pots and added them to two different kegs.  I then transferred half of each 6 gallon carboy into the kegs (blending them together) and bottled them into 12 oz. bottles using the Blichmann BeerGun.  I had some help from one of the groomsmen, Sam Mowe, so it wasn’t so bad bottling all 100 beers.  Justin and Nicole designed the labels, and I printed and attached them.

I brought home about twelve beers that were leftover, and I sent Justin and Nicole home with the other leftover case.  I popped one open two nights ago and the fruity white wine nose of the Nelson Sauvin mixed with the apricot and pear from the yeast strain was delicious.  The carbonation was a bit low which made the beer seem a bit sweet, but I think it will get to where it needs to be in a few weeks, definitely in time for the one year tasting.  Even the telltale alcohol warming you get from a high gravity Belgian was subtle.  I think it turned out great and seriously can’t wait to try these in one year to see how they do (and celebrate Nicole and Justin, obviously).

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