Brewed: Modern Times Hoppy Wheat

In early March, my wife coerced me into tackling the Whole30 Challenge with her. For the uninitiated, the Whole30 Challenge is basically a 30 day, ultra-strict paleo diet, so no beer, bread, grains of any kind, or dairy and enough vegetables to scare a small child into thinking all the candy in the world was gone.

I wanted to have something light and freshly hopped ready to drink for day 31, so I ordered up a pound of Citra and tweaked a recipe The Mad Fermentationist created for Modern Times.

Citra Hops

For whatever reason, my order took about 6 days compared to the usual 2 to make it from Northern Brewer in Minneapolis to my house, so this batch turned into a rare weeknight brewday in order to get it brewed, dry hopped, dry hopped again, and kegged before the end of my tenure as Vegetarian In Chief.

Brewing was pretty uneventful. I’ve been struggling with a few batches overattenuating on me, though I thought I’d nailed that down to a once-trusted thermometer now reading about 6°F low at mash temps, though this batch proved I’m not completely rid of that problem. I’ll probably break down and order a Thermapen to rid myself of any further doubt. With 45 seconds of low-flow oxygen and a healthy, 1L pitch of Wyeast 1056, this brew fermented down to 1.008 from 1.052, or about 84.62% apparent attenuation. The next batch I make I’ll be revisiting how long the wort spends below 170°F during sparging just to rule out anything odd. I typically try to heat the first runnings up to 170+ as quick as I can to denature the enzymes in lieu of doing a mash-out, but I’m down to thinking either I have a second bunk thermometer, or I need to start doing a mash-out step.

Hoppy Wheat Runoff

Despite sounding terribly thin, this beer tastes amazing just at just 18 days old, and just in time for our first day of spring temperatures. I double purged everything with C02 when racking and dry-hopping.It is lacking a little body, but I don’t perceive it to be as dry as the numbers suggest, and the citra/centennial hop combo lends some amount of stickiness to the mouthfeel.

It’s been really great reading updates on how Modern Times has gone from concept to reality, and I wish them the best of luck as they get closer to their first production batches. With recipes like this, they no doubt have a great future ahead of them.

Hoppy Wheat

Spring of Eternal Winter (Wheat)

Batch Size Boil Time IBU SRM Est. OG Est. FG ABV
6 gal 60 min 38.3 IBU 5.3 SRM 1.049 SG 1.012 SG 4.80 %


Name Amount
White Wheat Malt 5.5 lbs
Pale Malt (2 Row) US 4 lbs
Caravienne Malt 0.75 lbs


Name Amount Time Use Form Alpha %
HopShot 5 oz 60 min Boil Pellet 2.4
Citra 2 oz 5 days Dry Hop Pellet 12
Citra 2 oz 0 min Boil Pellet 12
Centennial 1 oz 0 min Boil Pellet 10
Citra 1 oz 7 days Dry Hop Pellet 12


Name Lab Attenuation Temperature
American Ale (1056) Wyeast Labs 75% 60°F - 72°F


  • 2013.04.08 : Made a 1.5L starter on the stir plate. 500mL will be pulled and crashed for the Iron Ranger brewday for the coming weekend.
  • 2013.04.09 : A rare weeknight brewday.
  • 2013.04.14 : Added 1oz Centennial and ¾oz citra for dry hopping round 1
  • 2013.04.21 : Kegged with 2oz citra hops

A Month of Failed Firsts

While I haven’t been brewing much lately, I can share a few short updates on what I’ve been up to. In the interest of poking fun at myself, I thought it’d be entertaining to share a few of my lastest failures.

Lager Mash From Hell

Back in August, I decided it was time to make an Octoberfest, realizing of course I was already several months late. I made a 1000mL starter about a week before brewday, I stepped it one more time to give me the needed cell count, and stashed it in the fridge to crash out once it’d fermented out. Brew day arrived, and I made a fatal mistake: I got cocky. Read more →

Strawberry Belgian Blonde Tasting

Strawberry Belgian Blonde

The first keg of 11 gallons of strawberry Belgian Blonde ale is drinking quite nicely after only a week in the keg. Since I cold-infused the fruit at 34 degrees, I went ahead and boost-carbed the batch. 30 hours at 30psi made for a quickly-drinkable beer, and it’s gained just a slight bit of dryness on the tonge as the carbonation has leveled off this week. The opaque haze isn’t surprising given the beer was fermented with Wyeast 3944 (Belgian Witbier), though I am surprised how little it’s cleared given how cold the beer was for over a week. Side effect of the fruit? This brewer can’t say. The beer picked up just the slightest hint of red from the strawberries, which left it a pleasant pale orange.

Appearance – Pours with a pearl-white, single finger head that recedes slowly to a white ring around the glass. Body is a thick haze of orange and gold.

Aroma – Light notes of strawberries backed with a touch of spice. Smells sweet initially, but leaves you with enough yeast notes to know it’s a belgian underneath.

Taste –  Strawberry flavor is present, but not overwhelming, and gives way to some of the belgian spice typically present with this yeast. The balance between the strawberry flavor and the underlying beer style is as nice as I could’ve hoped. At first sip, it seems on the sweet size, but the finish is dryer on the back of the tongue, and gives the beer a more balanced feel.

Mouthfeel – Really soft carbonation. I may just be a bit early in tapping this keg, but I think the added sweetness from the strawberries covers up what would have been a lighter body.

Overall Impression & Notes – I entered this in the Award of Brewing program (read about it here) at my club meeting Wednesday and received a 33. I was dinged for slightly low cabonation & haze (both expected), and it was suggested to use more fruit overall. I’d argue that would mess up the balance, but I’m not a BCJP judge either.

Personally, this is probably one of the better homebrews I’ve made to date, or certainly one of the more approachable. It’s a bit sweet to be an everyday drinker, but  very refreshing, and I was aiming for something tasty, but light as summer wanes. I may let the second keg warm to room temp for a week or two and see if the added sweetness from the strawberries ferments out, but leaves some strawberry aroma and flavor behind, but I’m very happy with this first keg.