Dunkelweizen Brew Day Recap

It was a Sunday brew day at my house this weekend. The dunkelweizen recipe that I had threatened to brew since last 2012 was finally put into action yesterday afternoon.

This brew day was also the inaugural run of the grain mill I bought, but silly me forgot to take a gravity reading at the end of the boil to calculate my brewhouse efficiency. Although it was nice to get the process down of crushing the grain during the time I was heating my water to mash temperature, it would have been nice to collect that piece of data to see if the mill needed any adjustment.

Oh well, we figure that one out later. Outside of that moment of forgetfulness from me, I brewed fairly well.

The base of this recipe called for 6 pounds of malted wheat and 3 pounds of munich malt. With all of that wheat, there is always a fear that a stuck sparge may happen. To protect myself, I added some rice hulls to the mash and I didn’t have any problems collecting wort at all.

Dunkelweizen Wort Collection

The first wort collection was a deep amber color. The second collection, following the batch sparging method, the wort was running fairly clear and blond-ish by the end.

Because I had just over an ounce of homegrown Magnum left over from the harvest hanging out in my freezer, they were given a home in the Dunkelweizen boil.

Dunkelweizen Boil

Even though I have written this before, whole hops swimming in your wort may be one of the prettiest sights on a brew day. They do lose their green color after the hour in the boil but the first several minutes after you add them are pretty special – much better than the scum you get after adding pellets.

Since the fermentation temperature is crucial to this recipe and style (I need to keep it to 62°F), it was important for me to chill the wort well. When I checked it, it was at 56°F after a half hour chill period. The cold weather is good for some things.

I bought two packets of Wyeast 3068 Weihenstephan Wheat that I smacked and they swelled up nicely. Their manufacture date was less than a month ago which may be some of the freshest yeast I have ever used. I poured them right into the fermentor and because I have had problems with messy fermentations, I bought a little insurance.

Fermcap-S

This stuff called Fermcap-S is supposed to keep the krausen from getting out of hand. I followed the instructions on the bottle and add 10 drops of Fermcap to the top of the wort. They were simple instructions but unfortunately the stuff has the consistency of Elmer’s glue and was tough to collect in the dropper and add to the wort.

Fermcap Drops

Pretty stuff, eh? Twenty four hours later, the krausen is beginning to form and the temperture is sitting at 61°F. If the cold weather in our area continues, I might as well use it to make great beer.

Comments

  1. Roger Fornelius says:

    I love Fermcap-S. I brew one gallon batches, and found that it makes a much more manageable krausen & blowoff. When you are stuck with a primary fermentation jug the same size as the final product, any assistance is very welcome.

  2. What were your results with the Fermcap? I have heard it works really well for making a yeast starter in an Erlenmeyer flask, but I have not tried it yet. I also had a batch recently that essentially exploded out of the air lock, so maybe I should try the Fermcap for that too…

  3. Hey Roger Fornelius and Rhen,

    I could see how it would be a real help for one gallon batches. So far Rhen, the results have met my expectations. There has been no issues with yeast blowing out of the carboy. This beer may not be the best test for this product since I am fermenting at a low temperature for ales (62 degrees F) but there hasn’t been a mess.

  4. Awesome, good to know. Thanks for the update!

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