Who doesn’t like chocolate and banana? Well, I don’t like actual banana, but the flavouring is all good. Put the two together into liquid form and you have dunkelweizen. I had to give this one a go.
I’d also been reading a lot on mashing techniques, and while I was still using a coolbox mash tun, I wanted to try multi step mashes. I decided to give both infusion and decoction mashing a go, just to experiment a little.
Batch size: 18L
2kg Maris Otter
2kg Wheat Malt
150g Aromatic Malt
150g Chocolate Malt
100g Crystal 60L
12g Pilgrim 10.4%AA @ 60 mins
10g Pilgrim 10.4%AA @ 5 mins
Mash @ 44C for 20 mins
Mash @ 66C for 40 mins
Mashout @ 76C for 20 mins
Fermentis WB-06 dry yeast
The mash schedule was quite unique. I started with a rest at 44C to try and promote ferrulic acid, which is a precursor to 4-vinyl guaiacol, the compound that gives wheat beers its clove character. I made sure the mash was pretty thick, as the saccharification rest would be reached by adding boiling water. So I started with a thickness of 1.5L/kg followed by 6L of 100C water to reach the 66C temp at a final thickness of 2.8L/kg. Sadly I didn’t reach the temp with only 6 litres, so the mash ended up being really quite thin.
After 20 minutes of the 66C rest, I pulled about 1/3 of the mash out and put it into the kettle. Due to the higher than expected water:grain ratio, I ended up pulling out too much liquid and not enough grain. However, I went ahead and boiled the grain soup up separately while the rest of the mash continued the sacc rest.
After another 20 minutes, I tipped the boiling grains back into the mash tun with the hope I would hit mash out. Again it was off, reaching only 72C. I think this was partly due to not grabbing enough grain for the decoction, and the higher level of wort cooled quicker when added back.
Even though most of the brew day went wrong, it ended up being a really great beer. The yeast is powerful, hitting 1.008 really quickly. I also harvested twice as much as I would from an ale yeast. It did mean that the beer ended up a little thin, though, and about 1% ABV higher than I wanted. It was really chocolatey and the banana flavour was very high, but not sickly.
Quite a few people in the home brew club have asked for the recipe, as they wanted to try it out themselves. Would I make it again myself? Definitely. Would I follow the same mash schedule? No, not worth the effort. Having moved on from the cooler box, I can now do step mashes easily. Even so, the first rest didn’t really add what I expected to be a pronounced clove character once fermented, so I’d probably skip it completely. I’d also change out the hop to something with lower alphas. Maybe even something noble like Tettnang or Hallertau.