Batch #5-10: Cream of Wheat redux

Style Honey Wheat
Ingredients View Here
Brewing Date: Sunday, May 23, 2010
Primary Fermentation: Sunday, May 23, 2010
Original Gravity: 1.046
Secondary Fermentation: n/a
Bottling Date: Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Final Gravity: 1.010
Release Date: Friday, July 2, 2010
Alcohol by volume: 5.2%
Brand: Master-Yeast Theatre
Release Name: Wheat Field of Dreams

Timed for release on the Independence Day weekend.  This batch answers specific requests for a repeat of the first batch of this year, which received resoundingly positive reviews.


23 May 2010 3:00 PM :: The brew cycle took about 2.5 hours. I again used wildflower honey for this batch, as I did with the previous batch. I also added one lb. of corn sugar to the brew to boost the alcohol content. I hope it works: the initial gravity indicates it has a good start.

The barrel is using wick cooling during the fermentation cycle.

29 May 2010 5:00 PM :: Hydrometer reading of 1.010.

01 Jun 2010 7:00 PM :: Hydrometer reading of 1.010 … Bottling time.  Produced 60 bottles: 54x 12 oz, 4x 12oz PET, and 2x 20oz.  8 bottles of this batch will become pepper beer, after 3 weeks in conditioning.

One thing I experimented with in this bottling session was a way to reduce the trum and hop sediment, which gets siphoned into the bottling bucket.  The tip at the bottom of the racking cane doesn’t do enough to keep it out adequately.

To catch the trum and hop sediment flowing through the siphon hose, I decided to use the nylon funnel and filter, normally used to strain the wort into the fermenting bucket after steeping.    It worked quite well: it trapped a lot of hop sediment coming through the hose.

After the bottling, there was virtually no sediment in the bottom of the bottling bucket, and the bottles had non-cloudy, clear liquid with no sediment at the bottom.  This is a very effective technique using existing equipment.

The only down side (if there is one): the funnel causes a bit of splashing in the bucket, until the level of fluid rises to a certain point.  Not sure if that negatively aerates the liquid, impacting the flavor.  I’ll find out soon enough.

30 Jun 2010: I decided to take eight bottles of this batch and make what’s described as Pepper Beer.  This is something I did not do in the previous batch.  At the three week point in conditioning, soak some sliced hot peppers in vodka for at least 6 hours.   Open the bottle, inject the soaked pepper, and recap the bottle.  Wait one more week for conditioning and you have pepper beer. I chose Jalapenos for the peppers.

02 Jul 2010: This was a well-received brew.  It was a little thinner than the first batch (due to adding the additional corn sugar), but the taste was smooth.  This batch became very good in the last week of conditioning.

06 Jul 2010: I tried one of the pepper beers made last week.  I chose to not share this with people, since it is so new and I was not sure exactly how strong this would be.

So, essentially, the beer tastes the same initially on the palate, but there is a initially a slight burning sensation from the pepper.  As the aftertaste kicks in, the pepper sensation gets quite strong.  Ironically, the spicy flavor and cold liquid don’t clash, but they don’t really compliment one another.

This is not something that I would drink on a regular basis and, knowing now how it tastes, I would have limited the number of bottles I made to about two, instead of eight.

Still, I would see a lot of benefit to this beer in some situations.  My dad and I used to go bass fishing in his boat on the lakes in Southern California, where it gets quite hot in the summer.  To keep cool, we would sometimes eat jalapenos from the jar to get the oil and sweat glands going to cool down.  Having a pepper beer in this scenario, instead of raw peppers, would work quite well.  So I can understand why peppered beer is popular in places like Arizona.  But in Florida, where the humidity is through the roof, I don’t need that.

I guess I am a somewhat of a beer purist.  When I drink beer, I am trying to calm down and unwind.  The pepper sensation really detracts from that.

August 1, 2010 :: I tried another pepper beer after it conditioned a few more weeks.  The flavor was definitely better than after the initial 1-week conditioning, and the head on the beer was quite smooth.  The flavors had melded, and the pepper bite was still there, but less dramatic.