Malted Barley Appreciation Society Newsletter

Vol. 4 No. 2 February 1997

The January Meeting

by Lucy Wechsler

Shame on most of you! The first cold night and everyone decides to stay home. Oh well, the few of us who did manage to make it to the January meeting had a really good time! We opened with the swearing in of George De Piro as our new President. We searched for a Bible to make the ceremony official, but, finding only a Mug's dinner menu, George swore to abide by the menu and then told us about the evening's specials. He highly recommended the burger. George's first official act was to announce that all student judges had passed their finals and are now headed for the fame and glory once reserved only for John Naegele. George also announced the Monster Barleywine tasting on January 31, at the Brooklyn Brewery. Although you may have missed that even, the Brewery plans to have a happy hour each Friday from 6-9 p.m. Stay tuned for more details.

In light of no formal agenda, we popped open some homebrews and had a rousing discussion of beer styles and brewing techniques.

Terry Kolb, our local cabinet maker, started off with a Scotch ale. Comments ranged from under-pitched to nice and malty. All agreed that it was a bit too sweet and too fruity for style, perhaps caused by fermenting in a spot that was just a little too warm. But still, a fine way to warm-up the pallet! Terry also brought an Imperial Stout that had quite a resemblance to sherry with a nice coffee flavor. Starting at 10.70 and ending at 10.20, it was little light for the style, but nonetheless a very enjoyable brew. When we compared this one year old brew to another Imperial that Terry had only bottled a month ago, we could already identify an improvement. While the second beer was young, it had a great nutty taste. With only one year of homebrewing experience, Terry has produced some highly flavorful and very good beers!

Among the other homebrew highlight were:

1) Jim's IPA's, Chocolate Porter, English Olde Style and 140 Schilling Scotch Ale. One of the IPA'S was made with Cascade and Saaz hops and British draft yeast. The second was hopped with Tettnanger and E. Kent Goldings and was fermented with Scotch Ale yeast. The Chocolate Porter was overly dry, but the strong English Olde Style helped us get over it. This brew was somewhere between an IPA and a Barleywine, with lots of brown sugar flavor and a hint of molasses. Mmm good! The 2 yr. Scotch ale was nicely smoky and high in alcohol (1.103 - 1.020). George declared it to be one of the best beers Jim has ever made!

2) Bill's Belgian Pale Ale. Described as sweet, bitter and severely dry. The flavor of this tasty, high alcohol ale was heightened with a hint of orange peel and coriander.

3) George's Wheat Bock. This was dark, malty and served from an antique Hoffman's soda bottle George found walking around in some forest! George used the Westephaner yeast strain to brew this interesting concoction, but alas, if you weren't at the meeting, you'll never get to try it -- it's all gone.

Well, that just goes to show you how much fund a few people with a truckload of homebrew can have! So get off that couch and come to the our February meeting! See you there...

We are proud to have as our guest, once again, Garrett Oliver of The Brooklyn Brewery, who will regale us with the secrets of brewing the awe-inspiring Monster Barleywine (12.5% a/v!). As usual, we will meet at Mug's Ale House, 125 Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn, on Wednesday, February 12, 7:30 PM. Hopefully, there will still be some of the Monster on draft! See you there!

The Malted Barley Appreciation Society has joined the World Wide Web. Check out our page, courtesy of the New York Beer Guide, at: We also have a new home page, under construction, by your editor, at: maltind.html


Taking the Mystery out of Recipe Formulation, Part One

by Jim Simpson

I guess all of us started homebrewing using malt extract kits that were either straight out of the can or someone else's recipe already measured for us. It made decent beer (most of the time) but it laced something. Our personal stamp was missing. As we got more brewing experience we tweaked the kit by adding some hops, malts or maybe some honey. Sometimes it worked sometimes it was not what we expected.

Hopefully this article will shed some insight for some beginners who want to formulate their own recipes.

I'll assume you're using malt extract (if you using all-grain hopefully you don't need any help). Try using the light or extra light liquid or dry extract. These are made using pale malt only so you should have little variations between manufacturers. If you want to make dark beers you can control which grains will contribute color. To determine how much extract is needed you can use this rule. One pound of liquid malt extract in one gallon of water will yield a specific gravity of 1.033. For dry malt it would equal 1.042. These are approximations and will vary between manufacturers. This is where good note taking is very useful. Therefore if you want to make a pale ale using dry malt extract and get a starting gravity of 1.055 you will need 1.3 pounds per gallon (6.5 lbs. for 5 gal.).

The color of your beer is determined by many factors. Boiling time, how much wort is boiled, how much malt is added and the biggest factor specialty grains will all play a role in determining color. Specialty grains come in different variations. Crystal or caramel malts all add sweetness and body. Some like Cara-Pils adds little color while others can darken beer greatly. Roasted malts such as chocolate, black patent and roasted barley not only add color but each makes a different flavor contribution. Too much black patent malt and your beer will take on an ash-like taste while adding roasted barley will give your beer a nice coffee note.

Other malts such as Munich, Vienna, Mild ale and brown malts have to be mashed to release their flavors. Performing a partial mash with these grains will give you more control and flexibility in your finished product. Partial mashing is easy and explained in The New Complete Joy of Homebrewing by Charlie Papazian, or you can ask me at the next meeting.

Hopping and Yeast are the last factors that will be addressed next month. Pale Ale

Gravity Points:

4 lbs. Alexanders Liquid Pale Malt (34 x 4) / 5 = 27.7

3 lbs. Munton and Fison Dry Malt (40 x 3) / 5 = 24.0

.5 lb. Crystal Malt 60d Loviblond (20 x .5) / 5 = 2.0

Total: 53.2

Expected starting gravity: 1.053

1.5 oz Northern Brewer @8.8% 60 mins = 8.8 x 1.5 = 13.2 AAU

2 oz Fuggles @ 4.5 AA 30 mins = (4.5 X 2) / 2 = 4.5 AAU

1 oz Cascade @ 5.5 AA 2 mins = 0.0 AAU

Total: 17.7 AAU

American Ale Yeast: 1.056 73-7% apparent attenuation.

Expected final gravity: 1.014 to 1.018

Bavarian Wheat Beers

by George De Piro

In its many different forms wheat beer is fast becoming one of the country's most popular brews. Traditional HefeWeizen, American wheat, and the myriad fruit beers served at America's brewpubs are just a small sampling of the different incarnations of wheat beer.

Knowing the tremendous popularity that wheat beers now enjoy, it is hard to imagine that they were almost extincted just 140 years ago. After centuries of immense popularity, traditional wheat beer was being drowned out by the improved Munich brown beers during the first half of the 1800's. As if that wasn't enough, the flood of lagers that engulfed the world in the middle of the last century made things financially difficult for any brewery trying to sell ale.

Through the deluge one man had the vision to preserve this unique and wonderful beer. Georg Schneider started his wheat beer brewery in 1855, and in 1872 managed to have the rights to brew wheat beer made public (before then, wheat beer brewing in Bavaria was the right of the Duke). Although sales were slow at first, wheat beer regained some of its popularity. Today, it is one of the trendiest beers in Germany and America. Lift your glass in thanks to Georg the next time you drink one!

Brewing wheat beer presents special problems to the brewer. Wheat has a large amount of high molecular weight proteins. This makes it the ideal grain for baking, because the dough it yields is elastic and can rise well. This same property makes it difficult to brew with, though. The large proteins tend to gum up lauter tuns. The fact that wheat has no husk material to act as a filter bed makes lautering even more difficult (you can't mash 100% wheat malt unless you add husks, like rice hulls). It is not at all difficult to learn about stuck mashes when making wheat beer!

Brewers can overcome these problems by using a protein rest, and decoction mashing to degrade and remove proteins from the wort. Professional Weizen breweries often have a mash tun with a system of rakes that can cut the mash during lautering to keep the wort flowing. At home I find it best to utilize a protein rest, decoction mash, and lauter VERY slowly to avoid compacting the grains too much.

The traditional Bavarian wheat beer, known as "Weizen," "Weiss," or even "Weisse," is typically deep gold to ruddy orange in color, highly carbonated, and rich with the aroma of fruit and clove. Some, such as the famed Schneider Weisse, have vanilla notes. Weizens are available in unfiltered form ("Hefe-Weizen") or filtered ("Kristall Weizen"). All are made from at least 50% wheat malt.

There are also dark Bavarian wheat beers, called Dunkel Weizen. These are similar in aroma to their pale sibling, but have a pronounced maltiness and toastiness in both nose and palate. They are rich enough to provide warmth on the coldest winter nights.

Weizenbier is also made to bock and doppelbock strength. Usually dark in color, Weizenbocks are often quite similar to DunkelWeizen, except for their added strength. Schneider's Aventinus is a great commercial example, although it doesn't really fit AHA guidelines (the fault is with the guidelines, not the beer!).

Contrary to what some believe, the ingredient most responsible for the intense character of Bavarian wheat beers is NOT wheat; it is the yeast! The yeast strains used for traditional Bavarian Weizens are excellent producers of esters, which give the beer its fruity nose. These yeasts also produce a phenolic chemical called 4-vinyl guaiacol, which smells like cloves. Malted wheat does not really add flavor to beer; in fact, it is used as sort of an "honorable" flavor lightening adjunct. This is the reason most American wheat beers are so light tasting. They use neutral ale yeasts rather than traditional strains, along with wheat malt to produce a very bland product.

Brewing a traditional Bavarian Weizen at home is fun and challenging. In some ways it is easier to make than some other styles because the esters and phenols considered flaws in most other beers are desirable here! Brewers who mash, however, will find that lautering the huskless wheat malt can be quite trying.

Most Bavarian Weizens are decoction mashed. Aside from helping to degrade proteins, it helps to give the beer a malty backbone. Good Weizen can be made by infusion mashing, although a 30 minute protein rest at 122F is essential.

Extract brewers need only buy malt extract that is made from at least 50% wheat and brew as usual. It's the yeast that will really make the difference in this beer. I would recommend extracts of German origin, though.

Wyeasts #3068 (the Weihenstephen strain) gives classic Bavarian results, although the banana can be a bit overwhelming. This can be controlled, to a degree, by pitching a lot of yeast and fermenting in the low 60's. The clove character is quite pronounced with this yeast.

As those of you who've been to the meetings know, I've been making a lot of Dunkel Weizens lately, and the following recipe yields a very nice beer:

There is no clever name for this Dunkel- Weizen

OG: 1.057

FG: 1.016

Recipe makes 15.0 gallons

Malt bill (all Weyermann Malz):

Dark Wheat malt: 10 lb.

Wheat Malt: 5 lb.

Dark Munich Malt: 6 lb.

Pils malt: 5 lb.

Cara-wheat malt: 2 lb.

Roast Wheat malt: 3 ounces


6.0 alpha acid units of noble German hop pellets, 60 minutes

4.8 alpha acid units of noble German hop pellets, 20 minutes


Wyeast 3068

Mash-in at 122 F, rest for 30 minutes. Pull 1/3 of the thickest part of the mash and raise temp to 154 F. Rest 30 minutes, then bring the decoction mash to a boil and boil for 30 minutes. Add it back to the main mash, bringing the temperature to ~153 F. Rest until saccharification is complete.

Boil the wort at least 90 minutes, longer is better (the product will have less protein and be more stable).

Ferment in the low 60's. This beer is quite good after 3 weeks in the bottle

Return to Malted Barley Home Page.

Any comments should be sent to Our E-Mail Address.