Friday, September 26, 2008

Homebrewed Apricot Wheat Ale - First Taste

Well, as with all my homebrews, I couldn't wait to give this one a taste test. I put one in the fridge this afternoon so it would be ready for dinner. It's been carbonating for just shy of 2 weeks, and if the gunshot sound of the bottle opening was any indication, it's well carbonated! I think I better get the rest of them in the fridge before I have any bottle bombs.

This recipe was modified from a recipe in Sam Calagione's Extreme Brewing book. He called his beer Kiwit, since it was a Belgian style Wit beer with Kiwi fruit added. I substituted fresh frozen apricots for the Kiwi, to get a little bit different beer. My version is a little too dark to be a Witbier, but anyone who homebrews knows that it's difficult to brew a truly light-colored beer from extracts. After the afore-mentioned "gunshot" opening of the bottle, the beer poured a medium amber with a big fluffy white head. I'm proud of that head - I have had so many commercial beers that have no head, that it frustrates me.

The flavor of the beer was VERY tart - almost a lambic style. It had the typical flavor of the Belgian Witbier yeast, but I think there might have been some other wild yeasts adding their own personal influence. It also tasted like it could be aged a while longer, but that's normal for my homebrews. I enjoyed it a lot, the tartness made it quite refreshing.

Here's the recipe for a 2.2 gallon batch:

3.3lbs Briess Bavarian Wheat LME
4 Oz 2-Row Malt
4 Oz Wheat Malt
2.5 lbs Fresh Apricots - frozen, then thawed
1/4 Oz Crushed Corriander Seed
1/2 Oz Tettnang Hops
1/4 Oz Willamette Hops
Wyeast 3944 Belgian Wit Yeast

I used my standard procedure of crushing the grains and letting them heat up to 170 degrees in a gallon of water, and then pulling them out. I brought it to a boil and added the Tettnang Hops. After 45 minutes, I added the malt extract and corriander. At 55 minutes, I added the Willamette hops. At the hour mark, I put the pot in an ice-bath and when it cooled to 80 degrees I added the wort to my Mr Beer fermenter, which already contained a gallon of cold water, and the apricots in a nylon bag. I then topped it off to the 8.5 liter mark and added the yeast. It sat in the fermenter for nearly a month because I got sidetracked by other tasks. I bottled it and primed it with corn sugar, and it sat for 2 weeks, until today. I consider this recipe a success.

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