(Blood) Orange Hefeweizen

The Story

OrangesFor Christmas, AJ’s cousin bought him the book Extreme Brewing, by Sam Calagione, the owner of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery. It provided interesting information about using spices, fruit, and other unconventional ingredients in beer, but most of the book is targeted towards to extract brewers, so we didn’t pay much attention to the recipes. However, when summer rolled around, two recipes stuck out to us that we simply had to brew: Blood Orange Hefeweizen and Kiwit.

Our recipes are not carbon copies of what is in the book. We needed to changed the recipe to account for our all-grain brewing. Also, we did not have hop varieties required by the recipe, so we used varieties we had in our freezer. Finally, we increased the amount of fruit and lowered the alcohol level to allow fruit flavours to come through more. Our local organic grocery did not have blood oranges, so we used naval oranges. (Though AJ did cut himself grating the peel of the naval oranges).


The Tasting

Orange HefeweizenAppearance: Cloudy and light, as a hefeweizen should be.
Aroma: A noticeable citrusy smell. Plus a little bit of spicy aroma from the Saaz hops, but very minor.
Taste: A slight orange taste, that is tart and refreshing. There is no real aftertaste, adding to its refreshing quality. There is only a slight hop bitterness. The body is rich and sticky, similar to most other wheat beers.
Overall: This beer turned out very well. The orange comes through quite nicely, but doesn’t dominate the beer. It is light and refreshing, and perfect for summer. If we remade the beer, we would not change anything. It is most certainly the best hefeweizen we’ve ever made. In fact, it’s one of the best beers we’ve made. Perhaps this beer will be made again over the summer, because it is bound to run out fast.

The Process

Specifics: 23 litre batch, 71% extraction efficiency, ABV 4.7%, O.G. 1.048, IBU 14, single infusion mash: 90 minutes at 69 Celsius.

Grain Bill

Original Grain Bill

Our Grain Bill

Light liquid wheat extract (55% wheat malt and 45% barley malt): 6.6 lb
Gambrinus Wheat Malt: 6 lb
Gambrinus Pale Malt: 5 lb

Our grain bill is 54.5% wheat malt, and 45.5% barley malt. Very similar to the contents of the extract in the original recipe.

Hop and Fruit Schedule

Original Boil Schedule

Our Boil Schedule

60 minutes: 0.5 oz Hallertau hop pellets
20 minutes: 0.5 oz Saaz hop pellets
10 minutes: 0.5 oz Hallertau hop pellets
60 minutes: 0.25 oz Ultra whole leaf
20 minutes: 0.5 oz Saaz whole leaf
10 minutes: 0.5 oz Ultra whole leaf

Fairly similar, aside from using Ultra instead of Hallertau (we also used less because our Ultra is 9% while Tettnanger is normally around 4%).

We used 6 navel oranges (the recipe called for 4 blood oranges) in the beer. All the oranges were peeled and cut in chunks, then added to a pot. Then the peels from half the oranges were grated/zested and added to the pot as well. We then added 2 litres of water and heated it up 72 Celsius and then turned off the heat and let it cool down. Once it was cool, we added contents of the pot (orange flesh, orange peel and the orangey water) directly to the primary fermenter.

Steeping Oranges

(The oranges and orange peels in the pot)

The recipe offers 4 suggestions for yeast: WL300, WL380, Wyeast 3068, or Wyeast 3638. We used WL380 because we already had it in the brewery.

For length of fermentation, the recipe says about 10 days in the primary fermenter then bottle it. As any good homebrewers, we were busy and got sidetracked, and forgot to bottle it at 10 days.

Primary Fermentation: 20 days at 18 Celsius


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