Tag Archives: Wheat

Summer Ale – Review

Summer has hit us. But after the last week in Melbourne you could be excused for thinking otherwise. Enough about the crazy weather, it’s time to review the Summer Ale.

Wow. That didn’t turn out like I thought. Even after trying the sample from bottling I wasn’t expecting this. The Summer Ale is not what I was aiming for. Wanted light, refreshing and something that could be enjoyed cold. This beer doesn’t do any of those very well. That said, this isn’t a bad beer. It’s simply a (very) different beer.

To start with there was probably too much malt. The colour is much darker than planned for, like an amber ale. The flavour reflects this as well. The wheat isn’t a strong as I thought. Not sure if that’s because there’s a really low percentage of wheat in the liquid extract I used, or the hops took over.

Summer Ale 1

Summer Ale 1 ready for drinking

The aroma is of strong stewed fruit and grapes. Yep, grapes and it comes from the Nelson Sauvin hops. Strange aroma this one the more you smell the beer the more complex it becomes. Some spice and earthy aroma comes out later, from the Belgian Saaz (aka Motueka) hops.

Fist taste is a mixture of a few things. Plenty of stewed fruit and tropical flavour. Some of the spice and grape of the aroma comes out, but not much. The spice builds a little, but the big fruit flavours drive this. The wheat base is there the whole way along and holds out quite well to the very long finish. It’s quite enjoyable.

Food matching? No idea. Something not too strong in flavour. Lightly fried meat like chicken or other bird would match this. Fish would work if not too powerful, maybe even pork. The beer has a fair bit of flavour, but could be overwhelmed by anything to spicy.

Is this beer a proper Summer Ale? No. Is this beer good? Yes. Not sure what style it is, maybe a pale ale or even an amber ale. But the fruit flavours throw it out a bit. There’s not much I can really compare this with.

This was the first time I used these two hops. Might have been better to try on a more familiar and simpler malt base to taste the flavour profile. I had issues trying to work out what was giving some of the flavours. The stewed fruit probably coming from the hops rather than the wheat/malt base. Fermentation wasn’t temperature controlled, ranging from just under 20°C to mid 20’s. With that range using US-05 yeast there shouldn’t be much flavours from yeast. The beer is a tasty one, and I’ll enjoy drinking this one. Now I need to make a proper summer ale.

-Mikey

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Not a not, it’s nearly Summer

After a bit of a busy October I knew it was time to get back to brewing. And on Sunday last week that’s exactly what happened.

Chas came around to lend a much needed hand. Was good to be brewing again, even if it was ‘just’ an extract only brew. I was going to have another shot at doing the not-beers. I’ve been thinking about a couple options to get a better outcome than last time. But that’s for another day.

I got a request that to make a summer ale. We’re in November and summer is nearly upon us. If some of the 30° C days recently are an indication you could say summer is already here. Anyway, with the heat on it’s way, and me still not sorting out the shed for fermentation fridge, it was now or never.

I spent about a week here and there looking up info on Summer Ales. Quickly realised it’s not a style of it’s own. Sure there’s the English Summer Ale as a type, but was I was looking for war more of a feeling. Light, easy drinking, not too much alcohol, something that can be enjoyed cold… basically a drink to have on a hot day.

Summer Ale fermenting away

Summer Ale all wrapped up and fermenting away

I landed with a cross between an American Blonde Ale and English Summer Ale, with more wheat. I’m not a fan of most wheat beers, so this is a bit of a jump of faith for me. Lots of looking up recipes for all grains, partial and all extract beers. I’m pretty happy with what I chose to go with.

  • 1.5 kg of Liquid Malt Extract – Briess Bavarian Wheat, for 35 mins
  • 400 g of Dry Malt Extract – Briess Pilsen Light, for 5 mins
  • 5 g Warrior hops, for 33 mins
  • 3 g Nelson Sauvin + 3 g Belgian Saaz hops, for 13 mins
  • 3 g Nelson Sauvin + 3 g Belgian Saaz hops, at flame out
  • A bit over half a pack of dry US-05 yeast

Original gravity came in at 1.028 which was a lot lower than calculated (1.044). Maybe the calculations were based on something wrong, or maybe the measurements were out. Not sure.

Ended up with 14 litres rather than the 13 planned. So, the 15 litre fermentation vessel was very full. That wasn’t a problem at the start, after a couple days the fermentation was quite slow. But some time in the following few days (I rarely check until bottling) there was a blow out. Airlock changed and now bubbling away again. I hope there wasn’t an infection. Normally the fermentor is out of the way enough to keep it safe. Will wait and see.

Bottling next week. Should have a good idea how it turns out. Hope it ends up a bit dry otherwise going to be less than 3% alcohol. And that might make it a little too light on body.

Oh, and we finally got around to doing a review of the Pale Trial Ein beers. Expect that up within the week.

-Mikey

 

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Honey Bomb Wheat – Review

Honey Bomb Wheat #1

Honey Bomb Wheat #1 ready for tasting

On Sunday we did a brew at Chas’s place. It was fun and you can read all about it. As well as having another attempt at The Friedlieb Coffee Porter we also got to taste the Honey Bomb Wheat that we bottled a couple weeks ago.

When we brewed this about a month ago we were surprised that there wasn’t any speciality grain. Normally the BrewSmith kits include some. But it doesn’t seam to have been an issue here.

After pouring the first thing you notice is a sweet light aroma. Hints of apricot and peach smells coming out. Overall it is soft.

First taste, sweet up front and light. A bit of citrus is there. Then the sweetness, which is clearly from the honey, builds. This is slightly creamy, maybe due to the honey used. Around mid way the apricot flavour comes in. This works pretty well with the honey sweetness. At the end there it’s a dryness that creeps in. It is strange as the sweetness doesn’t drop away. Overall it leaves an odd dry sweet finish.

Food matching, maybe some fruit or cheese. Great for a beer at a picnic or to kick off a party where there’s sweet snacks.

I was never going to make this kit, as I’m not a fan of wheat beers. But I’m glad Chas decided to do this. While there is no clear wheat beer flavours in this, and it being a nice light beer, I’m not likely to want to get one of these kits myself. Tasty beer.

-Mikey

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