Baking with hefeweizen yeast

Wheat beers such as hefeweizen, weissbier and wit are all light beers made from a mix of malted barley and wheat. In southern Germany the typical hefeweizen is fermented with a non-flocculating yeast, and it is not filtered before bottling. This gives the beer a yeasty, bread like flavor accompanied by aromas reminiscent of banan, cloves (we’ve encountered that combo before), coriander and citrus. I’ve just begun to read up on brewing and my first batch of a partial mash hefeweizen is bubling along. As I pitched the liquid hefeweizen yeast into the wort I decided to keep a tiny amount for baking. If hefeweizen beer is reminiscent of bread, why not use the yeast for making bread? In particular I was curious whether some of the aroma top notes characterizing hefeweizen beer would stand out in bread made using the same yeast.

Hefeweizen is my favourite style of beer, and I've brewed with this specific White Labs yeast. Baking with it isn't something I'd ever considered but I'm sure the results would be amazing. Sounds wonderful!

Barons Lemon Myrtle Witbier

Picture of Barons wheat beer bottle

Pretty much every time I see a new wheat beer I haven't tried, I buy it and give it a go. Barons is a pretty new little brewery in Sydney but I've been very impressed with their pale ale and ESB, both of which are cropping up more and more around town, on tap in pubs like the Strawberry Hills.

This one, however, was absolutely disgusting. I love wheat beers. The twangier the flavour the better. This tasted like dishwater, when you've used one of those lemon scented dishwashing liquids. Vile.

The lemon myrtle gives a really nasty, artificial lemony flavour, while adding nothing. A squeeze of fresh lemon is a fairly common addition to wheat beers, and perfect to take the banana flavour out of those wheat beers that have been fermented at too high a temperature. The lemon myrtle is nothing like fresh lemon, or even the better lemon imitations. They call it cloudy too. It isn't.

A real opportunity missed. I suspect Barons is going for the export and tourist markets by incorporating bush foods into their beers, but they won't be getting many repeat sales with this one.

I think Australians are starting to learn about wheat beers with real flavour, as opposed to wheat lagers like Redback. They're perfect for the hot Australian Summer, with plenty of depth of flavour without being cloying, and they're hugely refreshing.

The best local one I've found has been Snowy Mountains Brewery's Charlotte's Hefeweizen which is pretty commonly available in the big liquor chains. Incidentally, this brewery is actually based in Crows Nest, Sydney: nowhere near the mountains, but with beer this good I wouldn't complain.

If only James Squire would bring back their spectacular Colonial Wheat!

Brewing again

Now that the weather has cooled down to reasonable levels, I put a brew on yesterday. Nothing spectacular, a Cooper's Mexican Cerveza kit with a kilo of Cooper's "Brew Enhancer 1". I'm planning to put chillis in some of the bottles when it's all done.

Soon enough I'll have complete temperature control with my beer box, but I'm still working on that.

The Beer Box

Last night I finished my woodworking course at Sydney Community College (old Leichardt High School). My project was to make a box that will keep my beer fermenter cool, as our house gets to very high temperatures on sunny days.

It's a big box on quite tall legs, which a sliding out removable front panel and lift-out top. The design allows me to bottle the beer without moving the fermenter, which keeps the yeast from getting in the bottle.

I'm planning to line the inside with expanding spray foam. Cooling will be provided by a Peltier effect thermo-electric cooler controlled by this kit. Since I'm already cooling, I figure I can experiment with proper lager fermenting temperatures over the winter too!

Photos shortly.

Homebrew shop in Newtown

I've just paid a visit to my homebrew shop in Newtown and I'm quite impressed. They're very nice guys and very knowledgable. Served me a lovely example of their brews too.

Just about to put a wheat beer on, using some Wyeast Belgian Wit yeast. I just hope the temperature inside our house is going to be okay for the beer.

I also bought one of those bottle trees, so I can drain bottles more efficiently. I fucking hate bottling, so I also took a look at their pretty keenly priced kegging kits. It's a big leap though, with quite a bit of expense between the keg, CO2 canister, connectors and spare fridge. Matt reckons he's gonna go to keg soon, so I'm keen to see how it goes.

Crown Seal Longnecks

Coopers have gone back to using crown seal caps for their longneck bottles. This is a real boon for homebrewers, who for some years haven't been able to buy anything but imported beer that can be refilled. For those of you from overseas, a longneck is a 750ml beer bottle over in these parts.

Cooper's Sparkling Ale

In other brewing news, I picked up my homebrew stuff at Big W today. It's amazing the difference between homebrew kit in Oz and the UK. A Coopers kit costs £9 in the UK. Here it costs $10. In an ordinary store, not a specialist homebrew shop. That's more than half the price. I'll start my first brew tomorrow.

Regrowth Blonde

Just brewed a quick-and-dirty beer for my birthday party keg. Cooper's Canadian Blonde kit, 350g wheat malt, 350g dark malt (what I had already opened in the fridge), 300g glucose, Brupaks Flavapak beer kit enhancer. Haven't used this last one before, it's basically three big teabags with hops and grains to give a little more to your kit.

Should be a nice, light and refreshing brew for a (hopefully) hot summer's day. I love having my birthday in the Northern Hemisphere and thus in mid-Summer. We're hoping to hire out a local bowling green and play lawn bowls in the afternoon, then retire to the flat for a party.

Cider and Dark Lager

Just bottled the cider I made on the cider making weekend last year. It's delicious, though perhaps a little too much tanin. I bottled 20 bottles straight, which will be flat scrumpy-style. The remaining 34 bottles got a little bit of sugar so they should end up fizzy. 7.8% alcohol.

Also bottled a dark lager I made from a Cooper's Old Dark Ale kit, 600g dark malt and 500g glucose. Should be around 4%. I steeped some Cascade hops with it, and that seems to have given it a lovely flowery hop aroma. Yum!

Next, I think, will be a simple mexican style lager. For half this batch I'm going to bottle with chillis and make Chill Beer. The other half will just be a pleasant light spring brew.

Nut brown ale

Just brewed up a Munton's Nut Brown Ale kit. Added 200g pale malt, 900g dark malt and boiled a handful of the cheap, crappy Fuggles hops for a while. Should be good.

Following a successful brew, I cracked open one of my Exceptionally Bitter beers. It's only been bottled 21 days and it needs some more time. Nice and crisp though, but hasn't really conditioned yet.

Another Belgian Wit

I brewed up another Belgian Wit kit on Monday night, this time a Brewferm Tarwebier. I didn't add any orange peel or coriander this time, just to see, and used only glucose. We'll see how it goes.

I tried to use the left over White Labs yeast I've had in the fridge for a few months. By the next morning it hadn't done much, so I rehydrated and bunged in the yeast from the kit. That seemed to get things going.

It's gonna be a bit of a weak beer. For starters, the kit only seems to be supposed to brew 15L when I'm doing 23L (with added sugar) and the gravity was kinda low. Still, as always I'm sure it'll be nice.

Have a bunch of stuff on the way from Hop and Grape to keep me going through the Winter. Forgot to buy some Campden tablets, so I might need to make a trip out to Spencers for that.

Currently drinking the delicious first attempt at a Belgian Wit. Waiting on the very bitter IPA and the Xmas keg beer. The cider is, of course, still bubbling away.

Meanwhile, trying to get some good beers down to keep us through the Winter. Space is going to become something of an issue.