American Wheat Ale 2009 – Fritz the Cat – “GB”
This is another one of my quick emails to friends letting them know about my latest homebrewed beer and what to expect. I scored an actual Gumballhead from a friend (Thanks, Matt) so, despite the humbling pain of the side by side comparision I expect to lose, I will have a compare-and-contrast blog post to come in the next few days.
This one is an American Wheat Ale. I normally do some sort of wheat beer in the summer, but I’m a bit burnt out of the Bavarian-style hefeweizen, etc. (Although I do love the style, I wasn’t in the mood for 5 gallons of a wheat ale with hints of banana and clove.)
I few years ago I tried a beer by Three Floyds called Gumballhead which was a hoppy, American wheat beer. It was refreshing, full of hops and very different from any other beer I had had from that style group. I decided to make my own version of that beer.
That sounds good until you realize that I had that beer only once years ago. So this is kinda like drawing a picture of that girl from the one night stand from that mythical trip to Niagara Falls in high school. I’m pretty sure Gumballhead is driven by the use of Amarillo hops, which is considered a “supercharged cascade hop”. It is an American hop with a good bit of citrus character, but leaning more towards the orange than the grapefruit side for me. It can be a bit floral, too.
So I whipped up this batch of wheat ale and the grain bill was 50% wheat, 40% Golden Promise pale malt and 10% Caravienne malt (a caramel malt which should give you a slight toasted flavor in small quantities). Despite the fact that wheat beers can thicken up and harden like paper mache, the mash and sparge went perfectly. I also used all amarillo hops in this, although I’m not a huge fan of using amarillo as a bittering hop. It is not the best hop for the job, and it is cheaper to go with another variety that is higher in alpha acids. But I decided to make this an “Amarillo Wheat”, whatever that means, and so I stuck with one horse through this.
So far, so good. It is had been refreshing and aromatic. But I’ll let you make up your own mind and you tell me what you smell and taste. (Feedback is good).