Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy … we had “fun” during the brewing of our wheat beer </sarcasm>
Seriously though, we screwed the pooch with a slight modification to our standard brewing practice. I’d like to give you fair warning that I’ll be dropping some terms on you that you might not be familiar with. If I don’t adequately explain it in the post, I urge you to post any questions in the comments section below.
We were really excited to try out a new technique to keep our mashing temperature steady (mashing is the process where you steep the grains, similar to brewing tea). The new technique was inspired by a system developed by Blichmann Engineering that makes brewing easy (rightly called BrewEasy). What we liked about that system’s setup was the fact that you could circulate the mash liquid into the boil kettle to heat it up and put it back in the mash, effectively keeping the temperature in the mash right where we wanted it.
This might not have been such a horrible idea, except that we put all the water into this circulation path (mash > boil > mash > boil …), and that had an unforeseen consequence. We were equilibrating the sugar concentration in our wort (the sugar water created during the mash), thus diluting the concentration that would ultimately be collected in the boil kettle. Normally we would put steep the grains in the minimum water required, pull off the highest concentration of sugars, and then rinse multiple times with fresh water to extract all the sugars we could from the mash. The new method left nearly 40% of the sugars behind, which would normally have been disastrous. However, we were prepared for not hitting our target gravity (how we measure how much sugar got into the wort) by having wheat dry malt extract (also called DME) to supplement our missing sugars.
Long story short, we made the beer we wanted, just not the way we intended. Lastly, we pitched three different yeasts into the three different kegs we have the wheat fermenting inside. Be on the look out for the German Wheat (clean, banana, and clove), Weihenstephan Weizen (cloudy, banana, and clove), Belgian Wheat (apple, bubblegum, and plum-like aromas) variants of this beer.