Thursday, 28 August 2014

Tasting : Hidden Duck Hefe 2.0 (Hefeweizen)

As summer comes to an end, it's time for me to finally post the tasting notes to one of the finest summer beer styles out there: Hefeweizen. This was my third attempt at the style, and my first in several years. Basically a rebrew of my last recipe (same grist, same yeast), I brewed this beer in late June, bottled it in mid-July, and it's been tasting pretty great since. I bottled this beer instead of kegging it mainly because it's such a great style to have on hand for travelling purposes, what with going to a couple of family vacation spots back and forth all summer.

I'm no expert on Hefeweizen, but I really do enjoy a well-crafted one. I can't claim to have the most discerning palate, or nose for that matter, but I consider a good Hefeweizen to be well-balanced between clove and banana (if you get a bit of bubblegum or vanilla in there as well, that works) in both the flavor and aroma, with a little wheat character backing it all up. The color should be quite light, the body cloudy from rousing the yeast, and the beer should have a large, white, creamy head that has really good retention. Finish that off with a creamy (but not heavy) mouthfeel, and, importantly, high carbonation. You want this style to be refreshing.

So, I think in the end this came out really well. I believe I hit on all the important points I mentioned above (not really getting any vanilla or bubblegum in there, but that's ok). As I mentioned in the original post, this style of beer really shows how important process is, at least as much as recipe. Use a good yeast, make a starter, aerate the wort appropriately, and keep tight control on your fermentation temperatures, if you can.

I've got a few of these left (I've given quite a few away)... I'll definitely be drinking them as the warm weather unfortunately starts to fade!

Appearance: Poured with a very large, white, creamy thick head that shows fantastic retention. Body is golden-coloured, and cloudy. Effervescent.

Aroma: Nice balance of bananas and clove; I’d say the banana is a bit more prevalent than clove, but not by a lot. No real bubble gum aroma. Very slight background of wheat.

Taste: Again, comes across nicely balanced, with a bit of supporting wheat character. Very easy-drinking, low bitterness in the finish. No hop flavor.

Mouthfeel: High carbonation, medium-bodied and creamy.

Overall: Came out great, pretty much exactly what I was going for. Fantastic summer beer.

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