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I'm not an expert brewer, but I've made 5-6 batches over the past 18 months. Process-wise, I feel like I know what I'm doing, but I am still learning different styles of beer.

For summer, I decided to make a wheat beer. The recipe was:

  • 1700g of LME (Blackrock's Whispering Wheat)
  • 900g DME (came with the kit, not sure exactly of the nature)
  • Fermentis US-05
  • 6g bittering hops
  • 12g aroma hops
  • OG 1.045 FG 1.012 (the recipe suggested 1.044 and 1.011)

.. and the recipe said that the kit made 19L.

I have 2 10L carboys, so I split the wort into 2 ~9.5L chunks.

Today, I bottled the first carboy (I am waiting on a few more bottles to do the second batch).

When I measured FG, I was happy to be matching the recipe almost exactly. However, when I drank the beer, I found it very watery. Another (amateur) homebrewer tasted it and confirmed. The flavor was as expected for a summery wheat -- but it lacked that... body? ... that I would expect from a wheat.

Is this a SBRHAHB situation? Will the carbonation and refrigeration bring it into line? Or am I just going to have a VERY easy to drink watery wheat?

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2 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

By watery, I assume you mean the body is lacking. You can typically tell how much body you're going to have by the final gravity reading. You're on the lower end of 1.012, which means it's ~12 gravity points above what plain water would be, so technically it isn't a whole lot but it is definitely noticeable (and frankly, about standard for a wheat beer). Carbonation will help add mouthfeel to the beer, but it will only take you so far. If you want to increase the body of the beer, you'll need to add more unfermentable sugars (next time obviously) to get the gravity higher. During your next brew, check the FG of the recipe and see where it lands. Based off what your current wheat beer will taste like after carbonation, take down some notes on the mouthfeel and body. You can use those notes as a comparison against future recipes' FG to tell if it is going to be more or less than your current beer.

It's also worth noting, your recipe is a standard wheat beer, which is typically light in body.

John Palmer has a good writeup on this: http://www.howtobrew.com/section4/chapter20-1.html

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Thanks! By watery, yes -- lacking in body. When you explain it in terms of FG, though -- I suppose it makes sense -- it's not too far off from water :). I'll see how this one turns out in a few weeks, take notes, and plan accordingly next time. Thanks! –  makdad May 22 '13 at 0:15
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It sounds like it will be watery, though carbonation will add some mouthfeel so it depends on what you mean by watery. Usually, prior to carbonation, the beer will taste sweeter and a bit thicker.

This might be a bit much, but there's a lot of good information here and on the first two links from this page: http://www.bjcp.org/course/Class3Lesson1BodyandMouthfeel.php

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