Hefeweizen with Blood Oranges and Open Fermentation

Full disclosure, I have never brewed a hefeweizen. I just don’t find the style that interesting, but that’s not to say that the style can’t be interesting. This style was chosen due to me asking my YouTube audience what I should brew next, and someone commented that I should brew a fruit or citrus hefeweizen. It was the first comment I saw, and so it shall be done!

Back in the ye-ol-days (around 1400) wheat beers were only consumed by nobility. Around 1500 though, a brewery was opened by Duke Hans VI von Degenberg in the town of Schwarzach, near what is now the German-Czech border. In 1516, largely due to shortages of wheat, a law was put into place called the Reinheitsgebot, that limited brewers to just barley, water, and hops.

Though slowly over time some other breweries were allowed to brew beer, but By the end of the 18th century, weissbier had begun to fall out of favor, and was still limited. Profits dropped, and By 1812, only two weissbier breweries remained! But in 1855, some bro named Georg Schneider bought a wheat beer brewery said “No, this can’t be, this needs to be everywhere!” and fought for the beer to be brewed on a larger scale and served to the lower class. He succeeded in 1872, and from there the wheat beer production expanded.

Georg’s beer still didn’t do that great, especially since lagers where the dominant drink, especially by the 1800s. Wheat beer still suffered in popularity until past 1960 when it became popular either due to good advertising, or just realizing the style can be refreshing.

In an attempt to make this as refreshing as possible, I plan on fermenting half of it in an open container. Why you ask? I have heard that open fermentation can create more esters. In Jeff Alworth’s book “The Beer Bible“, he mentions that studies have shown that 50 percent more esters are produced in open fermentation. This was further explored in such classic Brewing TV episodes such as this one.

Sadly, I don’t have any proper container that would work for this. Ideally on a homebrew scale, a bucket would be perfect, but I plan on using only a gallon to attempt the open fermentation, a bucket wouldn’t work. The solution? A one gallon plastic water jug with the top cut off. This is a flimsy oxygen loving container which I have little hope of actually working that well. To keep it from getting oxidized I plan on transferring it to a proper glass one gallon jug as fermentation is slowing or RIGHT as it’s done.

I will be fermenting another one gallon of this in a proper one gallon sealed jug to compare. I will bottle a few bottles from that, and add blood oranges to what’s left in the sealed jug. This will be three different beers from the same batch—one open fermented, one closed, and one closed with blood oranges.

The recipe for this hefeweizen is a straight forward. I kept the specs on it very standard except changed the hops to Rakau from the standard German hops because it’s what I had on hand. The characteristics of Rakau is fruit and fig characteristics with fresh orchard fruits, specifically apricot. Seems like it will fit well with the fruit added.

Brew day:

Recipe:

Batch Size: 2 Gallons (split)
OG: 1.051
SRM: 3.5
Est ABV: 5%-ish
IBU: 13
Boil Time: 60 Min

Grain profile:
(50%) – 2-Row
(50%) – German Wheat

Mash:
60 Min @ 150F

Hops:

Boil:
.10 oz (12.8 IBUs) Rakau (10.7% AA) @ 60 min
.20 oz (0 IBUs) Rakau (3.7% AA) @ 0 min

Yeast:
WLP380 Hefeweizen IV

Here’s what went down:

Brewed 7/7/18

Put half of it into a 1 gallon water jug with the top cut off.

7/12/18: Fermentation seems to be about done, so I transferred the open fermentation one to a growler and filled it to near the top. I saw after that I should have raised the yeast on it and let it ferment a little more because yeast in open fermentation tend to quit sometimes being exposed to air.

7/20/18: Bottled two beers from the closed fermentation one. Heated .6 lbs of blood oranges on low in a pan for 10 minutes, cooled, then put into the closed fermentation one.

7/28/18: Bottled what was left of the blood orange one.

8/6/18 Tasted all three—the closed, the open, and the blood orange one:

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