Improvisational Wheat


This turned out to be probably the best beer I’ve ever made. I made an 11 gallon batch so I could add raspberries to half of it for a raspberry wheat and have the other half as an American wheat. I was amazed at how well both came out and plan to do another batch when it cools off a little outside.

To make a raspberry wheat from half the batch, I added 5 lbs of raspberries (purchased frozen, thawed to room temperature and mashed with a potato masher) to a large fermenter and racked half of the batch into it after the secondary fermentation was complete. This fermented another two weeks before bottling with 3/4 cup of corn sugar. FG after raspberry fermentation was 1.001 (!)

The American Wheat half of the batch has a nice citrusy flavor and is quite cloudy (which I wanted). The raspberry half is a deep red color, and has a magnificent raspberry aroma and pronounced raspberry flavor. It had a real alcohol bite for several weeks after bottling (due to the SG drop from 1.049 to 1.001) but has mellowed quite nicely in the last month or so – it still packs quite a kick though!

  • 3.0# Unmalted Wheat
  • 3.5# Wheat Malt
  • 8.0# Klages Malt
  • 1.0# Carapils (Dextrine) Malt
  • 1.5# Vienna Malt
  • 2.5 oz. Tettnanger (whole) 4.3% boil 45 minutes
  • 1.0 oz. E. Kent Golding (pellets) 4.5% boil 45 minutes
  • BrewTek “American White Ale” CL-980; 1 gal starter built up from slant

I get about 88% conversion efficiency from my system so you may need to adjust the grain bill to reach the same OG. About 23 IBU total for hops.

Crush unmalted wheat separately from other grains. Add water to cover and boil 30 minutes, adding more water as necessary (the grains soak up a lot!). Stir often and watch for scorching.

While wheat is cooking, mash-in remaining grains using abou 1.33 qt water per lb of grain at room temperature. Raise to 104F and hold 30 minutes.

Add cooked wheat and raise temperature to 140F. Hold 45 minutes. Raise to 155F and hold 90 minutes or until conversion is complete. Mash-out at 168F for 10 minutes.

Sparge at 168F pH 5.7 to collect 13 gallons for boiling.

Boil 90 minutes, adding hops during last 45 minutes and 1 tbsp Irish Moss during last 15 minutes. Cool, aerate thoroughly and pitch yeast starter.

Ferment 1 week at 68F, rack to secondary and ferment another 2 weeks at 68.

Bottle with 3/4 cup of corn sugar per 5 gallons or keg and force carbonate to 2.5 atmospheres.

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