Somnambulist wheat

Several years ago I was experimenting with infused liquors.  I made a lavender-vanilla vodka of some infamy.  It was a potent, but pleasant, perfume, and somewhere between two calming flavors and the heavy volume with which it was consumed, several people, including myself, had a blackout-drunk night which began with this booze.

While planning beers, I thought perhaps I could get just the slightest reminiscence of this project into a wheat beer.  Since wheat beers always go good with orange and I figured the other flavors would too, we’ll throw that in there as well.

  • 12oz belgian pils
  • 1lb flaked wheat
  • 3oz flaked oat
  • 3oz rice hull
  • 1/3oz Hallertauer
  • 1/3pkt WB-06
  • 1/2tsp lavender
  • peel of one orange
  • vanilla bean

I decided to keep the grain bill simple, added some oats for body, and a handful of ricehulls to help the sparge.  Used flaked wheat instead of malted for lightness and body. Used some classic wheat beer noble hops, and WB-06 wheat yeast.  Mashed at 152, lauter/sparge, Haller at 60, 10.  Pitched at 70, ferm closet at 74 (no evap-cool).  After two weeks, racked onto the peel of an orange and a vanilla bean.  A similar recipe suggested two orange peels for one gallon, but that seemed like a lot.  After a week, added two tablespoons of lavender buds for four days, bottled.  Made a label.

Zero head retention.

So, two orange peels seemed like a lot.  One orange peel was still a lot. This could have benefitted from being on the peels for like two days instead of 7, or from having like two single pieces (not a full orange worth) of peel.  I used the freshest, best orange I could find, and perhaps the original recipe was using crappy oranges.  The peel imparted so much orange oil into it that you couldn’t taste the other flavors. Also, the orange oil made the beer incapable of holding a head.

This beer is absurdly orange, but I can taste that there is good beer underneath, so I want to do it again with like 1/10th as much orange peel.


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