A few years back I got to try GumballHead from Three Floyds via beer trade. Back then (and even now) American Wheat is not beer style beer you find a lot of in Southern California.
I got hooked with that style and brewed multiple variations just trying to get that perfect beer. The low ABV, crisp, hop forward and extremely easy drinking. I brewed a few different recipes and was never really satisfied with the final results.
In 2012 I found myself trying to figure out what to brew for the Iron Brewer competition. In that competition, you are required to use a 3 ingredients that were specified by the organizer, In my case it was White Wheat, Crystal 120 and Falconer's Flight hops.
Here is my original recipe for White Falcon. This beer won the round and I finally felt that I made a beer that met my expectations.
Fast forward and I again found myself brewing for a competition that had it's own brewing challenges. Phantom Ales, a local homebrew store and nano brewery put on a Hop Wars brewing competition.
The competition consisted of the following guidelines:
- Brew a 12-gallon batch on their Sabco system.
- No fermentation temperature control (they try to keep the building about 68 degrees).
- The beer must be ready to serve in 4-weeks.
- The winning beer is based on sales, customer score cards and a judging panel.
My plan of attack
- Brew a beer with a low enough ABV that a customer could have a few pints.
- Brew a beer that was dry and easy drinking
- Brew a beer with enough hops to appease the hopheads and not too much to drive a way the malty crowd.
My Answer….Return of the White Falcon
- 12-Gallon Batch
- OG 1.053
- FG 1.010
- ABV 5.69%
- IBU 34
- SRM 4.5
- Based on a 85% efficiency
- 10 lbs (50.5%) White Wheat
- 9 lbs (45.5%) 2-Row
- .80 lb (4%) CaraVienne
- .25 lb Rice Hulls were added to prevent a stuck sparge
- 1 oz Falconer's Flight 11.4 AA @ 60 minutes
- 1 oz Falconer's Flight 11.4 AA @ 30 minutes
- 1 oz Falconer's Flight 11.4 AA @ flame out
- 3 oz Falconer's Flight 11.4 AA @ dry hop day 14
50/50 blend of Safale-05 & White Labs WLP300 Hefeweizen. I used 2 packs of the Safale-05 and 2 vials of White Labs. Both were very fresh. No starter.
- Mashed in @ 153 degrees and maintained temperature with direct heat.
- Recirculated mash for 60-minutes
- Raised mash to 168 degrees
- Sparged for 60 minutes with 168 degree water
- 60 minute boil
- Pitched yeast into 68 degree wort
I was able to win this round of the Hop Wars and it's now time to start thinking about the next round.
Less can be more and simple can still result in a winning beer.