By Greg Carlson
“About the Beer” is a blog series about the vision and design behind our beers, and the techniques we used to bring them to life.
Look, we HAD to brew a wheat beer.
People love them. I love them. They’re great. Had to do it. That’s actually why we’ve actually done two so far (pour one out for The Bees). But we picked the classic German hefeweizen as our go-to wheat beer because they’re a downright fascinating style. They’re traditionally wildly complicated to brew, but also one of the most accessible styles out there, easily enjoyed by newer craft beer drinkers and consummate beer geeks alike.
Also, they’re really good.
When we envisioned Edelstein, our hefeweizen, we mostly aimed for the classic Bavarian profile: Lots of clove and banana in the aroma. Lovely fluffy body. Nice crisp finish. Healthy yet unintimidating haze.
Here’s how we did it:
The grain bill is almost a 50/50 split between German pilsner malt and malted wheat, as is tradition. This gives the beer its signature body, light bready flavor, and haze. We also added a good chunk of melanoidin malt, which gives the beer a tad more of a richer malt flavor. Traditionally, this would be achieved using a decoction mash, but because I am a Weak Modern American Brewer, I lack the equipment necessary to perform this step (for now). Examples of this method can be found performed by the Actual Professionals at breweries such as Notch and Jack's Abby.
One more quick note on the grist - it’s 100% locally sourced! The pilsner and melanoidin malts are actually imported from Germany, but via Stone Path Malt in Wareham, and the wheat is the legendary Warthog Wheat from Valley Malt out in Hadley. You’ll find this to be the case in many of our beers - not just because supporting other local businesses is supremely important to us, but because they legitimately offer some of the best grain we’ve ever worked with. I could be brewing in Antarctica and I’d still be ordering from these folks. Put it on a boat and get it down here.
Hefeweizens are typically lightly hopped with German noble hops. But to put our unique spin on it, we gave Edelstein a late dose of Opal, Perle, and Saphir hops - three modern German hops that impart a delicious herbal, floral, and citrus flavor to the beer. These hops are also where Edelstein - German for “gemstone” - gets its name. Edelstein isn’t particularly hop-forward (not trying to get too weird over here), but the hops complement the classic hefeweizen flavors really well.
Finally, the guest of honor: the yeast. We wanted our hefe to have that signature clove and banana aroma, so we used an appropriate hefeweizen yeast. A pseudo-open fermentation and a slight free rise in temp were employed to help bring out more of That Good Stuff.
Want a beer with a lot of flavor and complexity? Hefeweizen. Want something crushable? Hefeweizen. Edelstein is a beer for all people, and you better come drink it because we might drink it all ourselves. Prost!