Thursday, June 26, 2008

German hefeweizen

I've brewed a lot of beer and by 'a lot' I mean enough to have broken the '200 gallons per household per year' law 5 years in a row. It might come as some surprise that after over 1600 gallons brewed I never brewed a German "hefe". After my friend Jerry made a trip to Germany last year, we have been working brewing some German styles. This is not a hard beer to brew. You only need two grains for your mash, a good German 2-row Pilsner malt and some malted wheat. American versions often go heavier on the Pilz malt but in Germany it's all about the wheat. The first batch we brewed we chose to go 50/50 on the grains and for the second batch we used 70% wheat. Hopping is light, between 3 and 3.5 AAUs per 5 gallons with no finishing hops.

I'm not going to describe the whole brewing process. There are many books and web pages that can do a better job than I at teaching you how to brew. Go to to find a homebrewing club near you. If you like beer you should definitely learn how to brew.

For 5 gallons:
5 lbs. Durst pilsner malt
5 lbs. Rahr red wheat malt

Mash in at 50 degrees Celsius with 2 1/2 gallons water for 30 min.
Raise mash to 65 degrees with 1 1/4 gallons of boiling water for 60 min.

Sparge to collect 6 gallons

Boil for 90 minutes adding:
3.3 AAUs (one ounce) Hersbrucker pellet hops for 75 min.
Enough water to leave 5.5 gallons after boil.

Cool and rack off of sediment to your sanitized fermenter.

Pitch with a good German hefewiezen yeast and oxygenate well.

If your yeast culture is strong you should see activity in less than 12 hours. If your yeast is really strong this will happen.

This beer was done fermenting in about six days. We racked half of it to a keg after 8 days and the other half was racked to a secondary fermenter for 4 days of cold conditioning before bottling it. (We brewed 10 gallons). What a perfect summer beer and the clove and banana notes from the 'hefe' yeast (redundant, I know) go great with the fun stuff I'm making with my recent batch of curry paste.

It's not really your beer if you didn't brew it yourself.


pchak said...

Gorgeous glass o' brew!

OhioMom said...

WOW! You never fail to impress me.

On a hot day I could sit in your shady yard and share a brew or two :)

Jerry Mann said...

Kevin is not only the Spicehound, but the Bierjagdhund!

Note to viewers: Brewpot Boilover and Beer Glass shots are ©2008 Jerry Mann. Permission granted for personal use only! : ] Enjoy!


Oh great, he's gettin' all businessy and shit on me. The pictures where you showed me how to take them are much better than the ones I take on my own. I wish I had gotten a better shot of the pesto dish. It doesn't look anywhere near as good as it tasted. I thought I took the beer glass pic.

guv said...

yo spicehound!

great food blog - love the ideas, the recipes, and the enthusiasm. it's been a while since i've been out to Coit Rd. but i'm running out of smoked black sea salt, so a trip is in order soon...

anyway, i've been brewing beer with kits for about 6 months now and would like to gradually remove myself from the kit nipple in order to better understand the processess and create some better brew experiments. I read on the food forum that someone has offered to have their hop vine harvested. i wasn't able to sign on to reply - but please count me among the interested!
can you let me know the when/where?

Also, for access to more local food, that you don't even need to grow or pay for (aside from sweat equity), check out




Hey, Gov
If your interested in learning more about brewing:

On Saturday Aug. 9th I will be doing a homebrewing demo covering extract and all-grain brewing including the fabrication of mash-tuns and other brewing equiptment. Mash-in will be at 11am and the demo will start after the market closes at 1pm. The demo is free and all who attend will be invited back to taste the results.

So now you've got another excuse to stop at the Coit Rd. Farmers Market