I remember spending many of my late teenage years in Western Australian pubs sucking on an Australian wheat beer called Redback which is made by the Matilda Bay Brewing Co. It’s pretty different to German Weizen Lagers as it is quite sweet in flavour. Bartenders used to counteract the sweetness by stuffing a lemon wedge down the neck when they served it up – a practice I liked at the time, and something that used to be quite trendy, but it’s now considered pretty stupid, with Matilda Bay itself even mocking the practice.
For nostalgic reasons I thought I might do a Redback clone and so conjured up the following ‘kit and kilo’ recipe (going to the bottleshop (=liquor store) and buying a bottle would have been too easy!). I initially got some advice on a home brew forum and also went to Matilda Bay’s website to find out the general composition of the beer to use as a guide.
My goal was to make an Australian style wheat beer that wouldn’t be as sour tasting or have the characteristic banana and clove aroma of traditional German wheat beers. In my search for the flavour of my late teens, however, I ended up making a very German tasting and smelling pale wheat beer. It’s still a great beer, though… wedge of lemon anyone?
Here’s the recipe:
Firstly, I steeped 100g of cracked Crystal malt in 1.5 litres of 70C water for 30 mins. I then strained and sparged (=rinsed) this with 500ml of hot water and mixed in the brew kettle (=cooking pot) with a 1.1kg tin of Thomas Cooper’s liquid wheat malt (which is 50/50 barley and wheat malt) and boiled for 5 minutes. After taking it off the heat, I added 2 x 12g Saaz Hops teabags and left them to steep for a few minutes. I then added a 1.7kg tin of Cooper’s Canadian Blonde. After pouring it all into the fermenter (hops bags too) I topped it up with cold water to 23 litres. I then pitched a US-56 ale yeast at 25 C (Matilda Bay use an Ale yeast in Redback).
The brew spent 6 days in the fermenter. I bulk primed the beer with ¾ of a cup of dextrose boiled in ¾ cup of water and then I bottled it up. The first thing I noticed when I smelt this brew was that it had an intense banana-like aroma – no clove smell though. After a week and a half in the bottle, this is a highly carbonated and pale beer, with a slightly sour taste and subtle citrusy/floral flavours and aroma (courtesy of the Saaz hops teabags). Quite Germanic – which is something I didn’t really intend, but it’s nevertheless quite a good drop.