Weissbier is a wheat beer of the Bavarian Royal Household, which became available to the general public only in 1872. It is a white ale of golden shade that has ABV of 4-6% and characteristic hints of cloves and bananas, which can be attributed to Munich brewer’s yeast. This recipe goes over the full technology and classic recipe for unfiltered wheat beer, which is best suited for making beer at home.
Among the required beer making equipment you’ll need a 30-35 liter cooking vessel, digital thermometer for precise temperature control, fermentation vessel along with an airlock, 3 jars (two 3-liter and one half-liter) with metallic caps, and last but not least—beer bottles.
Make sure to keep your hands absolutely clean for the whole duration of cooking the mash, otherwise, you risk infecting it and spoiling the whole batch. Steam sterilization and iodine disinfection are optional but highly recommended.
Ingredients for 25 liters of wheat beer
- Pilsen malt – 3 kilos
- Wheat malt – 2 kilos
- Munich malt – 0.7 kilos
- Danstar Munich yeast – 11 grams
- Hallertau Blanc hops – 14 grams for bitterness
- Saphir hops – 14-20 grams for fragrance
- Water – 32 liters
Wheat Beer Recipe
Mix and grind the malt. Heat 22 liters of water to 52 °C, add the malt and stir till homogenous. Heat the mash to 65 °C. Maintain the temperature in the range of 64-66 °C for 40 minutes, mixing intermittently to prevent the malt from burning.
Heat the mash to 72 °C, maintain the temperature for 25 minutes. After this, raise the temperature to 78 °C and cook for 15 minutes. Heat 10 liters of water to 78 °C in a separate vessel. This water will be used for cleaning purposes.
Take the mash off the stove. Filter it using any filtration system to separate the remaining particles of the malt from the liquid part.
Place the vessel containing the malt above the cooking pot containing the filtered mash. Wash the malt evenly across the surface with the pre-heated water. The hot water helps washing out useful beer ferments out of the malt.
Put the filtered liquid mash (you no longer need the malt) on the stove once again and bring it to a boil. During the heating process remove the foam and different suspensions from the surface as the mash should be clear when adding the hops.
Cook the soon to be wheat beer for 10 minutes. Add the Hallertau Blanc hops. After 65 minutes, add the Saphir hops. Cook for another 5 minutes. The whole cooking process lasts for 80 minutes. Concurrently with the cooking process sterilize the 3-liter and half-liter jars as well as their caps by steaming them for 10 minutes. Right after steaming the jars cover them with the sterilized caps. Pour 150 ml of boiling hot water in the half-liter jar.
Collect primer into the 3-liter jar—2.5 liters of boiling mash (10% of the total amount) to carbonize the beer. Cover the jar and place it upside down. Once it cools down to room temperature turn it over and keep in a fridge or cellar. Take the mash cooking pot off the stove and immediately cool it down to 25 °C. The less time it takes you to cool it down, the lower the risk of the mash getting infected and turning sour.
Open the sterilized half-liter jar and add yeast (the water should be no hotter than 20 °C). Afterwards, cover the jar and shake it 3 times each 5 minutes. Decant the mash into the fermentation container (preferably straining it through a disinfected sieve).
Strained wheat mash prior to the addition of yeast
Add activated beer yeast (from the jar). Stir and install the airlock. Move the mash to a dark place with a temperature of 17-21 °C for 12-16 days. Once fermentation stops pour the primer in the mash by thin jets. Now install the airlock and leave for 30 minutes. This time is enough for the second fermentation, which will enrich the beer with carbon dioxide.
Sterilize the wheat beer bottles by first preparing iodine solution—add 2 ml of iodine to 5 liters of water. Soak the caps in the solution and fill the bottles with it. Turn over the disinfected bottles to drain the remaining solution. Do this for every bottle.
Bottle the beer and leave at least 3-5 cm of empty space. If you’re using plastic bottles, gently squeeze them to remove excess air and then seal them with the caps. Leave the young wheat beer in a dark place at 18-20 °C for 4 days.
Move the bottles to a fridge or cellar and leave for 4-6 days of aging.
Homemade wheat beer has shelf-life of up to 4 months and tastes better in the first 1-2 months. It has ABV of 4-5%.