I am looking at making a clone of Blue Moon; a variation of a style called Belgian Wit.
Here’s the recipe and where I got it:
6.6 lbs light wheat extract (syrup)
1 lb Belgian candy sugar
1 lb two row brewers malt
1 lb white wheat malt
.75 lb flaked oats
1 oz Hallertauer leaf hops
3 oz dried sweet orange peel (last 10 minutes of boil) too much?
1.5 tsp fresh ground coriander
Wyeast 3942 yeast…a Belgian Wheat style yeast or Wyeast 3944, a Belgian Wit style yeast or White Labs WLP400 or Wyeast 1056 American Ale which is what I chose for this batch.
Here where I live, the room where I ferment my beers peaks at about 85 degrees during the day. It may get down to very high seventies at night, but I am concerned that I will end up with phenolic flavors if the temp is too high.
I am considering using a wheat lager yeast; Wyeast Bohemian Lager 2124. With that, I could just pop the fermenter in the garage fridge, and I wouldn’t even have to use my external temp controller. That fridge is a side-by-side, and wouldn’t affect the freezer at all.
I am still pondering, or just take my chances and go with American Ale yeast.
Still, even the ale yeasts I looked at recommend a max temp of 65 degrees. I could put it in a room closer to the a/c return, but it still won’t get below 75.
I have posed a question on the above link to the recipe source to see if a lager yeast would work. I will await what he suggests.
Ed Kraus, the gentleman that handles the Q & A on this site said that lager yeast would be OK but the beer would not be as fruity. Good to know.
I went with the Wyeast 1056. It was very fresh, and made a strong starter. The OG was 1.058.
I used 2 oz of the sweet orange peel, and 1/4 oz of the bitter orange peel. I read that stuff is pretty potent, and didn’t want orange beer.
It’s been a while since I used extract syrup, so I still used a blowoff tube on the primary ferment…just in case.
I put the fermenting beer into our spare room which stays cooler; around 75° as it is closest to the a/c return.
The yeast smack pack
Sterilizing the Erlenmeyer flask
Liquid wheat malt extract…7 lbs..looks like honey
A couple pics of stages in the yeast starter progress
This pic taken this morning about 21 hours after setting beer in this room. Notice the krausen: only about 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick. Remember past batches? It filled the entire cavity and blew out the top.
The temp is 77°, according to the thermometer. It is still cooler in this room than the kitchen and dining by at least 5°. The slightly cooler temp will make a difference in flavors that develop in the beer while fermenting.
I have considered just bottling when the target gravity is reached, instead of racking off and waiting another week to clear, but decided what’s my hurry? nuttin’.
Racking day…check out the racking operation
Going into a 5 gallon carboy from the 6 1/2
Can you see the marking on the hydrometer?
You can see the 1.000 mark. The specific gravity is at 1.013 +- which is 1/4 of our OG…which is our target.
When racking is completed, I moved the carboy back to the spare room which has been staying at around 75°.
I put a t-shirt on the jug to keep out the sunlight. The window has curtains and foil on the glass, but a small precaution could keep our beer from getting skunky. The oils in the hops can react badly to direct sunlight.
On a side note: one can reuse the yeast on another batch, I have done it. Timing was critical but I racked on batch off the yeast, and had a separately brewed batch ready to add to the yeast. The big brewers do that doncha know to save bucks. You don’t think they buy fresh yeast for each batch, do ya?
The dregs, also known as trub, have viable yeast in it. There are ways to “scrub” the yeast as well.
The beer has cleared but also has begun fermenting again. I noticed bubble around the top of the beer yesterday. Not ready to bottle yet.
I bottled today to 2 C water and 3/4 C corn sugar. I used 6 1 liter bottles, and am shipping three to my cousin. North Texan if you want in on this, this is the time.
I decided to try a sample tonight. It’s been just over two weeks since the beer was chilled. I have one clear Corona bottle that I use to see what’s happening to the beer when it’s been in the fridge. Most of the time, when it clears, it’s very close to being ready. It had a decent head and was carbonated nicely.
It tasted tart, and not too much orange. I did not put a slice in it as I fully expected it to be orangey…not. Will continuing to age improve the flavor? I don’t know. It is drinkable now, and it’s not bad at all.
I’ve had the beer now for a couple nights in a row. A quarter wedge squeezed into the frozen mug adds a little orange twang as the beer does not have much orange flavor. It has carbonated nicely and has nice head.
The only way I can get discernible orange flavor is to squeeze orange wedges into the brew. I would add more sweet orange peel earlier in the boil next time. Say 4 ounces at 40 minutes giving a twenty minute time for the orange to meld into the beer.