Ales, Brew Day

A Houston Favorite: Saint Arnold Weedwacker Clone

St. Arnold Weedwacker is one of my girlfriend Liz’s favorite beers, so I decided to brew up a three gallon batch that we can enjoy together. The St. Arnold Brewery is Houston’s oldest craft brewery and its Weedwacker is their only unfiltered year-round beer. The story is the brewers were cooking up a batch of their original Hefeweizen, the Fancy Lawnmower and decided to ferment a portion with Bavarian yeast instead of Kolsch yeast. While the grain and hop bills are exactly the same as the Lawnmower, the Weedwacker contains banana and clove esthers produced by the Bavarian yeast.

A frosty glass of Weedwacker

St. Arnold provides the grain and hop types, but isn’t specific on the actual percentages. So this batch will be the beginning of an experiment to make the perfect Weedwacker clone.

“Just pale malted barley and dash of malted wheat…”

That’s all the info on the grain that is provided. They’re a little less elusive in the hop department:

“We use a single hop variety in this beer: Hallertauer Hersbrucker. Four separate additions to the brew kettle create the delicate flavor and aroma of this classic hop.”

Armed with this info, let’s get started.

St. Arnold Weedwacker Clone

A frosty glass of Saint Arnold Weedwacker

Numbers
————
Batch Size: 3 gal
Estimated OG: 1.052
Estimated FG: 1.013
Boil Time: 60 minutes

Equipment
————
5 gallon igloo cooler mash tun
9 gallon Bayou Classic pot
Electric stovetop

Grain
————
(75%) 6 lb 1.7 oz German Pale 2 Row
(25%) 2 lb 4.6 oz German White Wheat Malt

Hops
————
0.7 oz Hallertauer Hersbrucker (2.0 Alpha) – 60 minutes
0.7 oz Hallertauer Hersbrucker (2.0 Alpha) – 30 minutes
0.3 oz Hallertauer Hersbrucker (2.0 Alpha) – 10 minutes
0.3 oz Hallertauer Hersbrucker (2.0 Alpha) – 5 minutes

Yeast
————
Wyeast 3638 Bavarian wheat from a starter that I made from a previous Bavarian wheat recipe. Half-liter starter started on 1/7/17

Water
————
City of Houston tap water

Mash Schedule
————
148 F for 60 minutes
Batch sparged in two steps to collect 3.8 gallons of 1.047 wort into the kettle

Brew Journal
————

1/12/17 – Brew day started around 12:15 PM after a trip to my local home brew shop. If you’re in the Houston area you should swing by Farmboy Brew Shop. Pre boil gravity came in at 1.047, but I forgot to take an OG reading. Oops. 3.5 gallons went into the fermenter and I pitched the starter at 76 F

1/13/17 – Fermentation going strong. Swirling creatures everywhere!

1/20/17 – Gravity reading 1.011 which is a few points below estimated. Racked to secondary PET carboy. I’m about to go out of town for work for a month so I didn’t want this sitting on the cake in the primary for that long.

2/8/17 – Bottled and spilled a few in the process. No off flavors in the sample. I could actually just drink it flat. 3.5 volumes CO2.

2/17/17 – First tasting. Hefe haze. Banana and clove aroma. Some banana in the flavor. I want more banana! Golden straw color and light to medium body and mouth feel. I think maybe the hops are getting in the way of the banana character. Next time I’ll try the under-pitching trick with the yeast. Dry with good head retention and champagne-like bubbled that lasted all the way to an empty glass. I believe I carbonated this at about 3.5 volumes.

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