Monday, July 7, 2014

Axis Of Evil, German Weizen & Tasting Session

Before I jump into this post, I wanted to clear up a couple things.  This beer was created for my wife and yes, its named "Axis of Evil" because I love her and she loves (tolerates) my hobby far more than most.  The name is a joke on how awesome she is when it comes to my hobby, plus it being a German Weizen helps a lot.  So, I don't want anyone to get the wrong idea concerning the history of the name. 

My wife has a taste for Hefe-weizen's.  The problem is I don't.  So when creating a recipe I had to make her convey what she wanted in the beer without me really understanding the style, flavor profile or understanding what she really wanted.  It started off as creating a recipe for a Orange/Lemon American style Hefeweizen.  I did a double decoction trying to get this right.  I thought the end result was spot on to the style I understood she wanted.  Come to find out she wanted a German take on the style.  The recipe was scrapped and I started over again.  (after 2 attempts BTW)

Switching to White Labs WLP300 was key.  I started using the WLP320 and hated it. Way to many esters for what we were looking for.  I also started this recipe looking for an American profile, which slowly changed over to a newer German feel.  WLP300's key a low fermentation temperature, under 65. (My target for this beer is 63.)  When starting low, you get a better balanced ripe banana to clove profile.  When starting above 67 I started to get a bigger green, unripe banana to harsh clove phenols created by the yeast.  I find this (What I call green banana) harsh and a red flag concerning a bad fermentation.  Now the harsher clove doesn't bother me as much, but it seems they are created together so you might as well stay low on the fermentation temps.

For the hops I knew I wanted to use hallertauer, mostly because I had a large amount sealed in the freezer.  Pairing this with a German Pils and 52% of various types of Wheat Malt.  The Melanoidien Malt was slid in to mimic a traditional double decoction mash.   Which for this recipe I didn't want to continue doing.  I can tell its lost some complexity, but not at the expense of the recipe.  I've found this beer a challenge overall, having brewed this 6 times, 4 on this final recipe I am happy to say this is right where my wife wants it to be.

Aroma: Hints of bubble gum paired with a background of clove.  I get a rounded malt sweetness that is almost "fluffy".

Appearance:  A solid white head that commands attention sitting on top of a ripe banana yellow hazy liquid.  This beer is solidly hazy. Which is needed for the style.  The lacing on this beer can not be forgotten, rings remembering each sip remain on the glass. 

Flavor:  I really attempted and succeeded having a balanced ripe banana flavor profile.  Letting the beer bring out the clove and sweet bubblegum notes.  I didn't get this next flavor until I read the BJCP guidelines but vanilla really is the flavor I was trying to pinpoint when writing this review.  Overripe sweet banana is what I started to with, but it's more than that.  It's a bubblegum & vanilla flavor, very light but present.  Low to no hop flavors.  I also get some very light lemon, but this might be related to the carbonation profile.  No diacetyl or DMS. 

Mouthfeel:  Soft and rounded.  I want to say puffy marshmellow for some reason.  Highly carbonated to style.  No off flavors, cleanly fermented.

Overall Impression:  For not liking the style, this was hard to write. But I'm finding myself pouring this beer more and more as I start to appreciate its characters.  As for judging this beer, there is not complain about it.  Plus it keeps my wife happy, however I lost 1 tap out of 4 to this beer.  (As she expects it on draft all the time).

Brewing Timeline/Notes: This beer was brewed on May 18, 2014 (the recipe below states June 22, it will be the 4th rebrew of this recipe) Everything went fine on brewday.

Axis of Evil #2
Type: All Grain Date: 22 Jun 2014
Batch Size (fermenter): 6.00 gal Brewer: Chris Lewis
Boil Size: 6.76 gal Asst Brewer:
Boil Time: 60 min Equipment: My Equipment
End of Boil Volume 6.24 gal Brewhouse Efficiency: 75.00 %
Final Bottling Volume: 6.00 gal Est Mash Efficiency 75.0 %
Fermentation: Ale, Single Stage Taste Rating(out of 50): 38.0

Amt Name Type # %/IBU
6 lbs Pilsner (2 Row) Ger (2.0 SRM) Grain 1 44.8 %
6 lbs White Wheat Malt (2.4 SRM) Grain 2 44.8 %
1 lbs Wheat, Flaked (1.6 SRM) Grain 3 7.5 %
6.4 oz Melanoiden Malt (20.0 SRM) Grain 4 3.0 %
0.70 oz Hallertauer [4.80 %] - Boil 60.0 min Hop 5 10.0 IBUs
0.75 oz Hallertauer [4.80 %] - Boil 15.0 min Hop 6 5.3 IBUs
1.0 pkg Hefeweizen Ale (White Labs #WLP300) [35.49 ml] Yeast 7 -
Beer Profile
Est Original Gravity: 1.064 SG Measured Original Gravity: 1.064 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.017 SG Measured Final Gravity: 1.014 SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 6.2 % Actual Alcohol by Vol: 6.6 %
Bitterness: 15.3 IBUs Calories: 215.6 kcal/12oz
Est Color: 5.1 SRM
Mash Profile
Mash Name: Temperature Mash, 1 Step, Full Body Total Grain Weight: 13 lbs 6.4 oz
Sparge Water: 4.18 gal Grain Temperature: 72.0 F
Sparge Temperature: 168.0 F Tun Temperature: 72.0 F
Adjust Temp for Equipment: FALSE Mash PH: 5.20
Mash Steps
Name Description Step Temperature Step Time
Saccharification Add 16.75 qt of water at 165.9 F 154.0 F 60 min
Mash Out Heat to 168.0 F over 10 min 168.0 F 10 min
Sparge Step: Fly sparge with 4.18 gal water at 168.0 F

Carbonation and Storage
Carbonation Type: Bottle Volumes of CO2: 2.4
Pressure/Weight: 4.53 oz Carbonation Used: Bottle with 4.53 oz Corn Sugar
Keg/Bottling Temperature: 60.0 F Age for: 30.00 days
Fermentation: Ale, Single Stage Storage Temperature: 65.0 F
Fermentation Notes
Primary Fermentation: Started at 63 for 5 days, then slowly started to rise to 75 degrees.
Created with BeerSmith


  1. This is a great post and your journey is full of great information! May i ask what pitching rate you targeted? I've used wlp300 a few times now and was considering changing, but this gives me new inspiration. Your primary temp of 63 is well below what Stan Hieronymous' book, Brewing with Wheat, has led me to believe is a suitable temperature for 300.

    1. Duncan, I used Mr Malty's yeast calculator shooting for 202 Billion on a stir plate with 1.1 liters of wort for 20 hours. As for the pitching temp, I am a habitual lower than recommended fermentation guy. Not that Stan's recommendations are incorrect, I just really like taking it low and slow.

      Most people when talking about yeast, say 66-68, they really mean is, "I have no idea what it fermented at." Its like saying I had 2-4 beers last night. It means I had 4, maybe more. So if their fermentation was 68, its really 70 or so. They are just afraid to say it for fear of being ridiculed. Most yeast producers authors voice on the high temp side. This allows the hobby to be more acceptable to the masses.

      For example WLP001 states 68 - 73 degrees. When was the last time you had a solid beer fermented with WLP001 fermented that high? It would be a whole different flavor profile. Phenols would dominate the beer which isn't to style. I ferment WLP001 at 63, 64 max at the start of fermentation, I want my Pale Ale or IPA to taste like beer, not yeast.

      Now back to the WLP300, I originally pitch with no starter at garage temp. It was all green banana and massive amounts of harsh clove esters. (now I personally hate these flavors) So I lowered it and did a starter. 67 degrees on a internal temp probe. That beer was better, so I lowered it again. This time at 65 degrees, same internal temp probe. That beer is in the picture above. The Tasting Session is on the last beer fermented at 63 with the same internal probe. The beer became much flavor driven. Pairing with the yeast profile vs competing with it. Now everyone has an opinion, and they should be taken into account when creating a recipe but you must not forget that you are the one drinking the final product.

      Thanks for reading


  2. I'd have to say my weizen turn out more witbier like, probably due to fermenting it at 20c using quite a large starter. My pitching rate was also significantly higher, something that i worked out was due to my bad maths.

    This the the great thing about the collaborative nature of online blogs like yours. While i understand if i brewed your exact recipe i'd most likely get a slightly different beer, your comments are really helpful and thanks for taking the time to type them!

    1. Duncan,

      The thing about homebrewing is learning your system and understanding your process(s) and how it reflects your individual results. Luckily I understand my system and process so when brewing like beers, they always end with the same result.

      Homebrewing by nature is a solid collection of hobbyists for the most part. I love reading peoples results and how small changes dramatically effect the end result. Good luck with your recipe. Also if you like what you have now, refine it slowly until the recipe creates itself for you.

  3. I currently have a hefeweizen fermenting with yeast I cultured from a couple bottles of Sierra Nevadas Kellerweis. Also for the wife, but also because kellerweis is one of the few wheat beers I really love. I'm fermenting at 63, as my last hefeweizen was fermented a bit warmer (68 really) and it wasn't to my liking. I'm quickly learning that most of my beers come out a lot cleaner, fermented low. I'm even going to start out my next batch with saison yeast around 64, and ramp up from there.

    1. Jerad,

      I think your on to something. ;)

  4. Hey Lewy, I Figured I'd dig up this old post as I'm thinking of brewing something similar in the next couple weeks. The one I did last year with the SN kellerweis yeast came out really good, it just leaned more towards the clove/citrus than banana. I think I'll try it with wlp300 this time. Question is, I saw on a picture you posted recently where you had a roughly 5% abv version of this on tap. Did you prefer one over the other? Also, did you bump of the percentages on any of the specialty malt or raise the mash temp at all when you did the lower abv version? I'm looking forward to having something like this on tap this summer for a couple friends and family that enjoy this style (I may even sneak a couple for myself ;)

    1. Nevermind, that was a wit. So 6.7% Hefe huh? That ought to get them nice and drunk...

    2. Jerad,

      Yea, this was made for my wife and suited for her tastes. I've been slowly lowering the ABV down on the last couple batches. Personally I've done this recipe at 5.3% and it was nice, same percentages lower ABV. Let me know what you end up doing.

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  6. That's a unique name of beer. Wants to know how to make that one! rent a dumpster near me


Thanks for Commenting, Prost!