Skip to main content

German Style Weizenbock 1.0

Having just made a Hefeweizen last week, I decided to follow up with a Weizenbock this week.  The BCJP guidelines describe the style as strong, malty, and fruity... something akin to a marriage between the Hefeweizen and the Doppelbock styles.

I did some reading and finally decided to brew a batch based on an AHA recipe by fellow Ohioan Jim Rupert of Germantown.


4 pounds Dark Wheat malt
1 pound plus 11 ounces of Weyermann Pilsner malt
12 ounces Avangard Munich malt
6 ounces of Rice Hulls
3 ounces British Medium Crystal malt (65-75L)
3 ounces Dingeman's Special B malt
3 ounces Pale Chocolate malt
3.50 gallons of mash water, reverse osmosis
1.15 gallons of sparge wate, reverse osmosis
Water treated with 2.3g Gypsum, 2.7g Calcium Chloride, 2.3g Epsom Salt
0.9 ounces Hallertau Mittelfruh hops (60 min.)
1/2 package Wyeast 3068 Hefeweizen yeast
1/2 tsp. Irish Moss
1/8 tsp. Brewtan B in the mash
1/4 tsp. Brewtan B in the boil
1/2 tsp. Yeast Nutrient

According to Brewfather, the beer is expected to have the following characteristics:
  • BJCP Style: 10C Weizenbock
  • Batch Size:  2.5 gallons
  • Boil time: 90 minutes
  • ABV: 8.9% expected, 6.1% actual
  • Original Gravity: 1.082 estimated, 1.061 actual
  • Pre-boil Gravity: 1.061 estimated, 1.044 actual
  • Final Gravity: 1.019 estimated, 1.016 actual
  • SRM: 19
  • IBUs: 27
  • BU/GU: 0.32
  • Fermenter: Spock
  • Bottling Wand:  Stainless
  • Carbonation Method:  4 Brewer's Best Conditioning Tablets
The mash schedule for this batch will be:
  • Mash in and Acid Rest at 95F for 10 minutes, adding salts and Brewtan
  • Ferulic Acid Rest at 113F for 10 minutes
  • Mash at 135F for 15 minutes
  • Mash at 145F for 20 minutes
  • Mash at 154F for 25 minutes
  • Mash out and sparge at 168F
Boil schedule:
  • 90 minutes:  No additions
  • 60 minutes:  Hallertau Mittelfruh
  • 15 minutes:  Brewtan B and Yeast Nutrient
  • 0 minutes:  Chill to 62F and pitch yeast
Fermentation plan:
  • Days 1-7 (until FG is reached):  72F
  • Days 7+:  Ambient 65F
Post-Brew Notes and Observations

05/22/2020:  I began collecting reverse osmosis water in the morning, before we left to complete two errands. I got two gallons during that initial collection.  When we got back, I turned the water flow back on and allowed the RO system to begin filling a 3.5 gallon fermenter while I rested a bit.  I knew I'd need around 4.6 gallons to brew the batch.

With the water collected, I measured out the salts and added those to the water while heating it to 95F and recirculating it using the pump, to ensure that the minerals were well dissolved in the water.  I also worked to measure and crush the grain (along with the other ingredients). I ended up crushing the grain twice, before folding in the 6 ounces of rice hulls for better flow through the grain bed.

As I stirred the grain into the mash water, I realized that I had mis-measured the Pale Chocolate Malt. The recipe originally called for 1.5 ounces, but I'd added 3 ounces by mistake.  It was too late to correct this, so I decided to go with it.

The mash process went as expected, though the pre-boil gravity was considerably lower than I anticipated. I don't know if this was because the mash pH tended toward 4.8-4.9 or what.  I stirred the grain a couple of times during the mash and added calcium carbonate a little at a time until I got the pH to 5.1.  I'd added quite a bit by that point so I decided not to push it and try to go for pH 5.2.

The pre-boil volume was about 4 gallons, which seemed high even for a 90-minute boil.  In fact, that turned out to be the case, as the post-boil volume registered about 2.9 gallons. I fished out the hop strainers and extended the boil by about 30-40 minutes to get the volume down to 2.5 gallons before chilling the wort.  Even with the extended boil, the original gravity did not measure more than 1.061 SG.  That is considerably lower than I intended, which was disappointing.  I don't know if this is was caused by an innate inefficiency in The Grainfather when brewing 2.5 gallon batches, a grain crush problem, a need to mash for longer, the low mash pH, or something else entirely.  Regardless, it's frustrating.

I chilled the wort to 69F and pitched in half the yeast from the packet used for the Hefeweizen from last weekend.  I placed the fermenter in my temperature control rig and set it to ferment at 68F.  The original recipe didn't contain fermentation temperature notes, so I decided to go with something in the middle of the range and see how it went.

I did learn something tonight.  I recently saw a YouTube video where a Grainfather user recommended placing the domed lid used for distilling over the kettle during the boil.  His argument was that this was similar to what pro brewers do in their larger boil kettles, and that it would result in a more vigorous boil from The Grainfather - while still allowing steam, DMS, and other compounds to escape normally.  After placing the lid on my Grainfather and leaving it for a few minutes, I picked it up with a pair of tongs.  I've NEVER seen a boil like that going on inside my Grainfather.  It was a full rolling boil like I've seen on propane-powered kettles, with late-boil foam reaching maybe two-thirds of the way up the sides of the kettle.  It was impressive. If it really does allow the same level of boil-off as an open kettle, this may be a revolution in future Grainfather use for me.

05/24/2020:  The yeast is clearly happy in its new home.  Gravity has already dropped to 1.058 SG while the temperature is holding at 66F thanks to the temperature control system. I'm going to leave it on the low side until the yeast has done at least 50-65% of the fermentation before increasing it.

05/25/2020:  Gravity is down to 1.031 SG today.  I bumped the temperature up to 67F last night, and expect to bump it to 68F today.  

05/26/2020:  Gravity is down to 1.017 SG today.  I raised the temperature gradually yesterday to 70F overnight, which is where it's holding now. That's slightly lower than my estimated final gravity of 1.019 but not enough to concern me.

Gravity and Temperature Graph

05/28/2020:  Gravity is 1.014 today, after having held at 1.015 for about 16 hours.

05/31/2020:  Gravity has been holding 


Popular posts from this blog

Grainfather Specifications for BeerSmith, Beer Tools Pro, and Other Software

Recently, I've been trying to "dial in" settings in BeerSmith and Beer Tools Pro so that I can do a better job getting my actual brewing results to match up to the figures in the software. Below are some of the figures I've worked out with my US Grainfather. Given manufacturing variances and possible measuring errors on my part, these might not match exactly to yours, but hopefully they're close enough that it will help you. BeerSmith Equipment Profile: Brewhouse Efficiency: 83% (based on my experience, yours may vary) Mash Tun Volume: 8 gallons Mash Tun Weight: 8.82 pounds Mash Tun Specific Heat: 0.12 Cal/gram-deg C Mash Tun Addition: 0 gallons Lauter Tun Losses: 0 gallons Top Up Water for Kettle: 0 gallons Boil Volume: 6.25 gallons Boil Time: 60 minutes Boil Off: 0.40 gallons per hour Cooling Shrinkage: 6% Loss to Trub and Chiller: 0.53 gallons Batch Volume: 5 gallons Fermenter Loss: 0.40 gallons (yours may vary) Whirlpool time: 0 minutes B

Yellow Label Angel Yeast vs. Typical Brewing Yeast

I currently have my second batch of rice wine fermenting with the "magical" yellow-label Angel Yeast from China, and wanted to share some of the more unusual aspects of using it.  If you've never seen or used this yeast, I suspect you're not alone.  It ships in a 500 gram package that looks like this: What makes it "yellow label" is that yellow box you see in the upper left corner of the package.  This implies that it's yeast for distilling (though you do not need to have a still or distill the output to use it).  As I understand it, inside the package is a mix of yeast and other materials which will convert starch into sugar and directly ferment it, without the need for a traditional mash step.  This can radically shorten your brewing time.  For my most-recent batch of rice wine, I heated 3 gallons of water to 155F, poured it over 13+ pounds of uncooked rice straight out of the bag, let that soak for an hour, rehydrated some of this yeast in warm water,

Things I've Learned Brewing with The Grainfather, Part 2

In the last post, I shared an overview of The Grainfather, recommended equipment to use with it, and an overview of the brewing process.  In this installment, I'm going to talk specifically about mashing and sparging. Having brewed over a dozen batches with it, I'm finally becoming very comfortable with the device, the mash process, and how to get what I want out of it. I don't consider myself a "master" of it yet, though. For those who have never done all-grain brewing, I want to provide a quick overview of the mash process itself. Mashing - With or Without The Grainfather The goal of mashing is to turn the starches in the grain into sugars. More specifically, you want to turn the starches into a mix of fermentable and unfermentable sugars that provide the flavor profile associated with the beer you are brewing. A sweeter beer might warrant more unfermentable sugars. A more dry beer will demand few unfermentable sugars. To a great extent, controlling the