Before we were a brewery, we were a homebrew supply store. That's how our president and founder Larry Bell got his (and our) start. It wasn't until two years after the Bell's General Store opened that we sold our first official beer as a brewery.
More than 30 years later, our homebrew roots still run deep. From our support of the American Homebrewers Association to our annual Bell's Homebrew Competition, we offer support and advice to home brewers every day.
So what better way to celebrate the coming annual release of Oberon than by offering some tips on how to make a clone brew of our American Wheat Ale?
Plus, for our fans who do not currently live in an area where we distribute just yet, this is a great way to celebrate the return of summer.
As we have advised countless homebrewers before, there are certain things about our recipes that we keep close to the vest, but if you are looking to brew a Oberon clone of your own, here is some advice.
- The malt bill is relatively straightforward: stick with 2-row base malt and a decent portion of wheat, something in the 40-50% range. Wheat can stick to a lauter, so use as much of that range as you can within the limitations of your lauter tun; adding rice hulls can help improve the flow.
- If you are going the malt extract route, there are manufacturers that offer various wheat/barley malt extract blends that will work just fine. A touch of caramel malt will be all the color you need usually. Aim for a target original gravity of around 1.056 and moderate fermentability. The ABV should be just below 6%.
- Oberon uses several hops, but the signature varietals are Hersbrucker and Saaz. Target roughly 30 IBUs. Don’t be lured into using coriander or orange peel: Oberon is made with just four ingredients (water, hops, yeast and malted barley/wheat).
- You can culture our house yeast out of one of our bottles if you're comfortable with that; it's certainly the preferred option for a solid flavor match. Otherwise, our General Store has found that most people looking to clone one of our recipes lean towards ale strains with a straightforward ester profile and good attenuation.
You can find supplies on our online store and if you get started soon, you should be able to brew a batch just in time to celebrate the return of summer with us.
Here's to the next batch!